Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
At the very moment of considering whether or not to evolve our current IT platform to a 2.0 variant, we must be clear about certain aspects related to its implementation. As always, we will have to analyse our environment very well, measure our level of resistance to change and make clear and solid decisions ensuring the necessary level of support from management. In any case, real risks are mixed in with the mythicized perspectives that many people have about social networks (not always objective) and their lucrative Internet usage.
1. Security, Privacy?: Are probably the most popular risks (though pretentious or unrealistic) for these types of solutions. If the implementation is carried out in the correct manner and the staff understand the working philosophy, nothing needs to change as regards being careful about sensitive information getting outside or to sharing important data inappropriately in undesirable forums within the organization.
- This is the most common case suffered by many executives’ lack of “collaboration 2.0” culture (they see everything as being like Facebook) and they forget that their personnel remains the same and that everybody has a profile in this type of platform therefore all of our contributions (“good or bad”) remain properly registered (as opposed to the Internet where our profiles do not necessarily have to be so “real”).
- Obviously there are software solutions (online and with coherent approaches to working) to control these possible information leaks via the organisation’s different channels and digital platforms.
- In the same way, it is usually thought that this type of environment, as with the symmetrical Internet is more exposed to spyware, viruses and the classic security problems. Clearly the fear is unfounded given that it is an internal platform where the level of control and surveillance is very high in most cases.
2. Loss of control over content: This could be one of the main advantages of this type of environment (the auto structuring of information within the collaborative community) it could turn out to be a nightmare if things are not done correctly or the evolution is simply not planned.
- The current information creators and the basic flow of information should remain intact on the whole, though adapted to the new strategy. Various other people within the organisation will now be able to create, comment upon the work of others, label and share in other spaces within the infrastructure.
- In the launch phase of the solution, the current main content creators should be considered and an effort me made for some of them to act as “believers” or as “champions” (the same as in other project management techniques). It is vital that these people understand that the new solution is not only a risk but that it will also provide advantages in terms of enriching content (file sharing, labelling, recommendations, etc.)
3. Inappropriate usage (productivity decrease): Is an unrealistic problem that arises from the employees being apparently “entertained” (as when on the Internet) instead of working. This is a myth on most cases and with all change comes a learning curve as to how to use the related platform. If our new environment is very attractive and offers many communication possibilities, everybody will want to experiment during the first few weeks of use and test it to the maximum as what happens for example, in instant messaging environments.
- Everything will go well if we guide our users and they quickly understand good practice. The onscreen mix of generation X and Y will have a great influence. Lead by example (starting with the CEO) is a good strategy to eradicate this problem and end the myth.
4. Complexity and redundancy in systems map: If we have made bad decisions and/or have had a bad implementation, certain operations will not be natural. They will be complex and overlap with others that have not been updated in parallel. As a consequence we will not have this impact foreseen and problems will arise on their own.
- It is a common case that the proper use of collaborative 2.0 platforms clearly reduce the tendency to use internal mails and in other cases it changes the focus of storing content (previously on servers but now in the cloud).
- In both cases we should foresee that in order to act consequently regarding our IT (less storage and better communication for example).
5. Training and unnecessary evangelization: As with all change process there is a need for management: a training plan, champions and control in the different stages. If the user does not understand the environment and is not trained properly, they will never use it in the intended way and the entire collaboration philosophy will begin to fail.
- The percentage of generation Y in your ranks will be a a factor of influence but all of these activities will always be necessary.
6. It is not necessary to motivate the employee to accept change: If we make an important change and implement the environment without ensuring that all employees feels that it is a “win-win”situation (all: the company and the workers) it will be difficult for it to be successful. The benefits to all should be considered.
7. Excessively changing technologies / loss of IT control: Your company’s IT department could be resistant to this type of infrastructure due to the supposed “loss of control” over the environment (it is assumed it is a democratic system and on the whole auto-regulated) as well as being too subject to change with regards to the associated technologies. This last component is inherent to the entire IT platform and will be more closely linked to the unknown as to 2.0 technologies and the Internet.
- The key IT people should be a part of the team that promotes the system but always in line with the agreed strategy.
- They should understand that the system has many advantages and should provide support whenever necessary, evolving the current and implementing the new whilst controlling the level of use in the first stages and providing support to the future evolution.