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Top 10 Success Factors in Social and Collaborative Investments

by Tom Austin  |  December 3, 2010  |  Comments Off on Top 10 Success Factors in Social and Collaborative Investments

I’ve been on the road more than home for the last quarter, hitting the US West Coast, Florida, London, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. The venue changes but the story and the opportunities remain. In almost every location, I’ve been talking to clients about the 10 top success factors (or 10 top failure modes — take your pick) in the new world of work, collaboration, social process support, and so on.

In summary form, here are 10 rules to attend to:

1. If you haven’t defined what constitutes success (and what constitutes failure), how do you know how you’re doing? Stop using vacuous terms like “collaboration” (which means everything to everyone and nothing specific), instead substitute behaviorally-related objectives (project completion rates, time to decision, community vitality). A majority of IT organizations fail on this criteria.

2. Get prior agreement with the business on success/failure criteria. A majority of IT organizations fail to do this.

3. The future is here now — potentiate it. Study existing work patterns and add value selectively. Make the best cases more successful. The worst cases will follow on later.

4. Ignore siren call of infrastructure merchants. Broadscale rollout establishes the wrong pattern and wrong expectations. See rule 3.

5. Culture: Evaluate the culture(s) in your organization and work within your cultural constraints.

6. Volitional: All of these approaches  are “volitional”. Andy Grove was right when he said the new has to be 10X better to displace the old.

7. Not everyone is an expert! Target based on key skill profiles. Maybe you should target task workers or junior practitioners and not build for experts.

8. Interenterprise is a key part of critical ad-hoc projects where collaboration and social are key. Users will go outside if you make it difficult.

9. Less is more. Minimalism is to be revered.

10.   Be organizationally inclusive at start (legal, ops, security, etc)

My peers continue to argue with me as to the order in which these points should be presented. I say they’re all important.

What rule would you strike from this list? Add to it?

Category: collaboration  social  

Tom Austin
VP & Gartner Fellow
20 years at Gartner
41 years IT industry

Tom Austin, VP, has been a Gartner Fellow since 1997. He drives Gartner's research content incubator (the Maverick Program) and is leading a new research community creating research on the emerging era of smart machines. Read Full Bio




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