Creating an enterprise community strategy

(JeffKRoss) #1

Our team recently was given official responsibility for owning and creating an enterprise community strategy. I’m currently exploring various resources and taking notes to try to gather some helpful thoughts before drafting such a strategy for leadership. I’d like to know if others here have developed such enterprise-wide, big-picture strategies for how communities are used in the enterprise to accomplish business objectives.

Some background: We’re a Fortune 100 company with a highly successful internal community for employees, but only a couple years into standing up external communities for customers and partners. So we have a few random communities that have sprung up for specific needs, but no overall plan to date for how it all fits together, what the long-term picture looks like for internal & external communities, and what internal processes or guidelines would guide the way forward.

Has anyone here already plowed this path of organizing a multi-community, internal/external community strategy for a large enterprise, and would you be able/willing to share your insights or artifacts with me?


(Peter Staal) #2

@JeffKRoss I have done some work on it. I don’t actually have a complete strategy for you, because this is the intellectual property of the company I worked for at the time. A big one for me was identifying the departments that are vital to have on board for a social platform:

  • Communication: Use case - Internal campaigning, using the social platform as one of the available internal communication tools, monitoring employee sentiments for reputation and crisis management, recruiting brand ambassadors.
  • HR: Use case - online learning, certification/badges, new employee on boarding
  • IT: Use Case: online support desks, communicating technical failures, monitoring satisfaction
  • Knowledge management: Use case: using CoPs to develop knowledge that is key to the business strategy

You need to make it part of your strategy to get these departments to develop their own business cases for the platform based on the above mentioned use cases (You need not one but several business cases to make sure adoption is stimulated top-down).

Apart from that you need a strategy to make sure adoption is also handled bottom-up. This is a strategy in which you function as THE ambassador alongside a core group of co-ambassadors. Together you function as a team of community managers: giving presentations, creating training (material) soliciting use cases, promoting the platform, writing governance documentation for smaller business units.

To create use cases and governance you for smaller business units, you need to talk to individuals:

  • How do they currently meet? Is there a business case for online meetings?
  • How do they communicate as a team? Is there a business case for sub communities consisting of teams?
  • How do they organise company events? Is there a business case for a community of circumstance?
  • How do they manage projects? Is there a business case for a community of circumstance?
  • How do they document and organise files? Is there a business case for document sharing plus social features?

My strategy was based on these two paths for adoption: top-down (via large business units/departments) and bottom-up via smaller business units (individuals, occasional collectives of people: small teams and project groups).

(JeffKRoss) #3

Many thanks, Peter, for your thoughtful response. I can see where your planned approach would work well in gaining buy-in from internal areas for using an enterprise social network. We’re actually in really good shape with our internal community and its usage. My current task is more in the area of crafting a strategy for why and how external communities will be created for our customers (B2B & B2C) and how such efforts all fit together from an overall business model perspective in accomplishing business objectives. It’s a nice challenge for me since I’ve spent so many years focused on just one community, but now have to see a much bigger picture and make it all fit.

Thanks for sharing! I wish I had done more of what you mentioned when we were standing up our internal community years ago.

(Peter Staal) #4

My apologies. I should’ve read your post better. Curious to learn (as you are) about the overall strategy. There probably are not a lot of people who have already done such a thing.

(JFleetDattoCM) #5

Resurrecting this #whatsdeadmayneverdie !

@JeffKRoss I am curious what you came up with?

(JeffKRoss) #6

We ended up with a decent beginning for a strategy deck late last year to present to leaders about where we were then with communities and what a cohesive plan going forward would look like in terms of needs met and integration of community capabilities across systems and audiences. We got buy-in from senior leaders and are on a more positive path now with no more random comunities springing up like they did in the early years. We still have a way to go to implement, but it feels good to have others echoing the vision in their discussions about where we’re headed. It isn’t just my vision any more. I’m updating the related documents a couple times a year and reporting progress regularly. We happen to have a big meeting on the subject again tomorrow thinking forward to what will happen in 2017.

Thanks for asking!

(Sarah Hawk) #7

That’s massive. Congratulations!

Good to hear from you Jeff, it’s been a while.