How to Implement an Internal Social Network
You’re about to travel the road from conception to implementation of your internal social network. They didn’t teach you how to do this in school. Perhaps someone has done this before and you can learn from their experience.
Fortunately, KPMG has shared their story. This project is really very much a work in progress. Their deployment of an internal social network was in early 2013. The project began in 2011. The scent is fresh; you should follow it.
The KPMG Hub
KPMG has 155,000 employees who work in over 150 countries. Most of their consultants are on site working directly with their clients. They don't have a chance to chat with each other over lunch. So they had to find a way to connect people so that they might share ideas, expertise and opportunities. This is what we often call, probably from something out of the Mad Man era, “conversations over the water cooler.” And they intended to make these conversations an easy, worthwhile and EXPECTED part of doing business everyday. Hence the birth of the KPMG Hub internal social intranet. Quite a mandate. How are they doing? And what can we learn?
You Can Do It
OK. We understand that your organization does not have 155,000 employees. But if we stay top level, there are some key takeaways that your organization can certainly use. Learn from the big guys. And if you want to do a deep dive into this subject, the slide presentation can be
found on slideshare (oops, currently inaccessible). And the full 1 hours webinar I attended can be viewed here.
Here's our takeaway from the webinar they provided.
- Take an agile approach – Don’t bite off more than you can chew. And you won’t get everything right the first time anyway. So plan both a development and implementation campaign, not a “release”. Don’t be dead in the water.
- Have full mobile access – We’d say “duh”. But this may not be so evident to everyone. If your team is in the field with mobile devices without convenient and regular desktop access, meet them there. If not, punt. It may not be your priority - or it may be. But do not ignore this critical factor. Consider mobile from day one.
- Develop a clear statement of business benefits. If you can’t connect this internal social intranet shiny-new-object with specific business benefits you are a) an idiot and b) a failure - or you soon will be. There are plenty of resources to help you get here. And this should be your motivation in the first place. But don’t lose sight of why you are inviting this pain or there will be no gain.
- Cultivate your supporters This is all about your office politics and change management. Tech takes a back seat on your journey to success. Do this:
- Identify your stakeholders.
- Have an engaged & VOCAL leadership
- Find the advocates & ignore the naysayers – go where the energy is
- Present options to your decision makers – don’t make this all or nothing
- Paint the picture of success – describe the outcome
- Seek out early adopters – your champions are critical
- Plan for Governance. Right from the beginning.
- Data privacy associated particulary with user profiles
- What is the data retention and preservation policy
- Discussion subjects & communities – who can participate
- Metrics & reporting – keep the stakeholders engaged with both metrics and reporting of cases and opportunities captured
- Love your service provider – how is that going?
Business Implementation Issues
I’ll close with some of the most important factors KPMG identified that will insure the success of your internal social intranet implementation, or, for that matter, almost any new process you implement. This includes:
- Business alignment – Both obvious and so often overlooked, be absolutely clear about the alignment of your internal social intranet with your business objectives. KPMG decided it was essential to connect people to share ideas, expertise and opportunities. And the existing tools, think email, were not sufficient.
- Adopt change management strategies including building awareness, suitable training and a system of both rewards and recognition. Gamification is good. Embrace it.
- In the end there is a technology integration. Users have to be provisioned, authenticated and, when required, removed from the system. Think it through.
Are you deploying an internal social network? How do your needs and challenges align with KPMG’s experiences? Share. We’re all in this together.