The State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration report – from the Chess Media Group – presents evidence and fact-based experiences provided by 234 enterprise collaboration practitioners who took part in a survey in Spring 2011.

The analysis from their responses seeks to provide organisations with insights that will support their collaboration projects. Specifically, the report focuses on the current state of Enterprise 2.0: business drivers of collaboration; sources of sponsorship; deployment and implementation; employee adoption; practical applications of emergent collaboration tools; and financial and non-financial performance.

With web 2.0 technologies – such as social networking tools – being used extensively in many people’s personal lives, there is now increasing use of similar tools within many leading organisations.

Using these technologies within an organisation can help to enable and streamline business processes and is rapidly growing in importance to help employees, customers and suppliers connect, collaborate, share, and organise information.

The majority of the respondents surveyed were from the United States and Canada (53%) and Europe (34%). Organisations both large and small participated in the survey: the largest portion of survey respondents comprised organisations with an employee population of fewer than 1,000 people (49%), with the second largest grouping being organisations with between 1,000 and 9,999 employees (22%). The main roles of the respondents were Operations/IT (23%), Sales/Business Development (18%) and Marketing (14%).

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The report identified a number of factors that can act as barriers to the adoption of a collaboration project. These included: poor communication, lack of training, limited time available for users to learn a new technology platform, absence of alignment on value, or a culture that is transitioning from closed to open.

30% of respondents said there was no resistance to the implementation of Enterprise 2.0 technologies within their organisations. For those that did see resistance, it was primarily from business managers (21%), regular users (20%) and IT managers (17%).

Interestingly, the research found that 46% of implementations were driven by both IT and the Business, but 28% were driven by the business unit alone, clearly indicating that many of the Enterprise 2.0 tools available today do not require IT involvement.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Business managers and IT managers are beginning to work more closely together to co-own and co-sponsor emergent collaboration initiatives. But despite this trend, business units independently own and sponsor emergent collaboration projects twice as frequently as IT departments. With the low barrier to entry of emergent collaboration solutions, business unit managers are now more inclined to deploy their own solutions without the approval or cooperation of IT.
  • There is not a strong enough focus on developing an enterprise strategy before deploying a technology platform: while a growing number of organisations are thinking about their emergent collaboration strategies, a large proportion of companies are either implementing a tool first or are engaging in a “test it and see what happens” approach.
  • Organisations are stuck in the “value paradox”. The problem is that managers within companies are challenged with seeing the ROI of Enterprise 2.0, but they are uncertain of the business value of emergent strategies and tools. Added to that, most companies are not predefining performance indicators to measure any type of success or progress – and those that are defining them do not have a systematic tracking or measurement system in place. Without having a process with which to evaluate results, it is impossible to see any type of tangible or intangible value or business benefit.
  • Solving a business problem or achieving an objective is just as good as being able to show a financial ROI. Financial drivers are not the primary justification for an emergent collaboration initiative. Business value to the organisation has many facets: the ability to discover people, expertise and relevant information quickly and easily; improved and increased communication and collaboration across the organisation; innovation and creativity to achieve performance excellence; and broken-down silos across business units to tap collective intelligence and solve business problems or achieve common objectives.
  • A combination of both a structured and unstructured approach is the most successful and commonly used approach by organisations. Those that practice a mix of a structured and unstructured approach see a higher level of engaged employees and a greater likelihood that usage will continue to increase over time.  Whereas organisations that focus purely on a structured approach see the poorest performance in terms of usage and engaged employees.

The following graph shows the main business drivers for Enterprise 2.0 adoption within organisations:

EC BusinessDrivers

Survey participants were asked to identify technologies that are used within their organization. Company blogs, full-featured collaboration platforms, and microblogs were the three tools most identified at 70%, 60% and 58%, respectively. Mashups and ideation/innovation platforms both tied for second to lowest, while prediction markets rated the lowest. The authors of the report concluded that this was probably due to a general lack of awareness of these specific technologies and their more specialised uses.

EC PopularTools

The report also looks at the enterprise structure of all survey respondents; the maturity of enterprise collaboration; 0rganisation sponsorship, business drivers and ownership; and financial performance and satisfaction. The following statement from the report’s introduction sums up one of the main challenges for businesses trying to implement an effective Enterprise 2.0 strategy:

Emergent collaboration is increasingly becoming a business imperative for staying competitive in a global economy. How people work within distributed teams and how these teams work towards a common goal and at the same time, be part of a community and have a voice in the community will drive the long-term growth and success of the organisation.

The report can be downloaded from the Chess Media website at the link below (requires registration).

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