Archive for the ‘IT Transformation’ Category

Want a Successful IT Transformation Project? Try tweeting, texting and blogging…

March 10, 2011

In the not so distant past, IT Transformation efforts utilized email and communication managers to communicate updates to the employees of an organization. This was only as effective as the communications manager and leadership team ability to keep the mechanism moving. This method of communicating primarily only allowed for one way communication – normally taking the shape of progress reports, status reports or issue reports.

The introduction of Facebook has changed the way we communicate electronically from a one-way to two-way communication to the masses. The ability to get real-time feedback from a small group or from millions of people on a comment, idea, or thought has transformed the way we as a people tend to communicate. Twitter has pushed this concept even further, people now have the ability to “follow” specific people or discussions. Now when one person states their opinion, status or issue, it is heard by hundreds, thousands or even millions of people.

With the advent of social networking, an ordinary person has the ability to reach large numbers of people with minimal effort and resources. And the people you reach have an opportunity to talk back and share their opinions. The power to sway mass opinion is now available to everyone. Companies have recognized this phenomenon and have tapped into this network. At first, most companies viewed this as just another form of feedback or input on their performance. But remember, true social networking is a “two-way” communication. Smart companies have recognized this and are using social media outlets to talk directly with their end consumers, with minimal efforts and cost.

The question has always been asked as to why IT Transformation projects fail and the most common answer after all of the dust has settled is that they fail due to a lack of communication. The second reason they fail is due to a lack of communication and the third reason they fail is a due to a lack of communication. I know it’s redundant, but there is no other reason! Today’s generation are more likely to communicate via Twitter, Facebook and texting than they are by email. Companies undergoing an IT Transformation need to take a page from this generation’s playbook and establish a two-way dialog during their IT Transformation initiatives.

So the question is “How?” Most companies do not want their internal transformation initiatives on Facebook or Twitter.  A good solution is the use of Microsoft SharePoint–a platform that allows companies can create a discussion dialog that allows people to communicate with the Transformation Team and with each other. Not the same as Facebook, but users can “write on a SharePoint wall.” You can also use internal Web Pages that support Blogs or Forums that provide similar functionality.

Almost every company uses some form of internal / external Instant Messenger (IM). Although this is not the same a Twitter, you can simulate some of Twitter’s functionality. As long as your IM software will deliver messages to offline people when they log in, it will function like a “tweet.” In addition, most IM software will allow you to create “chat rooms” that will allow people to communicate with each other on-line and with your Transformation Team.

Now once the tools are in place the Transformation team MUST ALSO use them. The worst thing that can happen is that when people send questions to the team and those questions go unanswered which can also allow rumors to spread across the organization without being addressed. Remember, smart companies are already using social networking tools to reach their end consumer. And really smart companies are turning Social Networking into a mechanism to reduce risk on their mission critical IT Transformation projects.