Ok, I have done it. I read „From crowd to community“ from Sogeti.
Even though Sogeti uses Connections, they don’t mention it once (neither Facebook BTW). That’s understandable, since the book is about the method of how social software works. In the end, I think this first book is helpful. I helps us to understand, how communities work and what we have to tell customers, what they can expect from using social software … and the traps.
Social software isn’t for everybody. If the boss is a control freak, he/she is not going to survive this. To be effective as an innovation tool, you have to let users do more or less what they want with it. Too many rules and censorship will kill it before it even takes of.
Most likely, the business value will not come over night. It might take easily two years until a momentum is established to change the way people collaborate. That is a long time. To long for many I-am-only-interested-in-share-holder-value types of managers.
Actually the Connections entitlement that comes with Notes – Profiles and Files (?) – could be just the thing for starting, wouldn’t it be so difficult to install and administer.
Another trap is content. You need content from the start, but telling the boss he should have a blog now and should not be afraid of critique, probably isn’t easy.
Immediate value can come from wiki’s, but that’s obvious … as long as there is content from the start.
Is it something for small companies? Depends, could be, Sogeti means rather not. I am not convinced that they are right. Files, wiki’s, sharing, bookmarking could will help in any size of company, but profiles? When you know each other pretty well? The activity stream could help a lot.
If you could yous it externally, for example with customers, it could help more, but there the price of connections is prohibitive.
Social software for enterprise is here to stay. It is cool. It works. It helps. It can help to improve business but it is not an easy way to get there.
If you are into social software, read this book and then repeat after me: „A social software project is not an IT project„.
IT is the smallest part and should absolutely not have the lead. Marketing, RD, PR, HR, C-Level or what ever, but not IT.