Samuel Driessen tweeted this quote during Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Frankfurt in late October 2010 :
"We still have no understanding of viral behaviour in organizations" - Lee Bryant
It had me wondering about what went viral in my organization and what didn't.
Was it like Travel Guides like Lonely Planet & the rest of the pack ? They enabled DIY travelling planning went viral over the 1990's even before the Internet. And yet haven't really gone fully viral in their EReader & IPAD 21st Century incarnations.
Back to my own organization : obviously Microsoft Office applications : Word, Excel & Powerpoint. A few of us also use other products like Frontpage, Visio, Project & Publisher. And our IT folks seem to be big users of Communicator. Many create Access databases but most of us consume rather than build.
Email ? a no-brainer ! We love our Email as our IT folks try to manage the associated exploding storage.
However, although the RSS feeds in Outlook 2007 are being discovered & shared by our Library Knowledge Management Services team - they're way off going viral. Adoption is more snail speed. And my fav Googlereader RSS feeds were definitely not. Seem to confuse too many & demand too much work to yield value. Although I'd be lost without them myself. But then I need immediate access to a far more diverse range of info than many in my org.
Smartphones are popping up in some applications around the place. Mostly Blackberries, but a few folks have Iphones - not too many IPADS sighted in our organization. Although my buddy who runs a nearby aged care facility swears by IPAD's as a communication enabling tool for early stage Dementia patients to prolong their quality of life.
We're more conservative, and so our unsexy EMC Documentum has its fans. Like when I found 100's of unauthorised bootleg copies of standard procedures possetted away by my engineering buddies to make sure they had their own special copy. A bit of work went in there to educate them on why they need to use the official version online from our intranet. However it certainly showed me that people did value something as dry as an SOP. The right content that needed definitely has value even if the repository is not sleek.
Next we met Sharepoint, and it definitely has its enthusiasts - some wanting to up-stakes & migrate their content out of Documentum and into Sharepoint overnight almost. Even if Sharepoint is not really a document content solution in a records management paradigm.
Confluence's Wiki is mostly liked by its users in our org over other wiki's - although some others like Twiki - and some of us are happy enough with the Sharepoint 2007 Wiki but looking forward to migrating to 2010.
Internal blogs could best be described as barely emergent at this stage.
Adobe Acrobat Writer is handy but most folks consume the content rather create so have no need for it.
SAP had its detractors - widely used but its takeup doesn't have that viral flavour about it. Nevetheless I like the way I can drill down to chase unusual costs. Likewise our OHS Management System. Both helpful but not driving passionate viral behaviour.
We're learning to love Cognos - but mostly as long as someone else gets the reports & sends them to us.
And yet hard copies, paper records, still remain for some applications in our organization. Surprising ?
Perhaps it's a bit like travel guide books vs IPAD's etc as in "Death of a Guidebook" AYH's Backpacker Essentials November 2010 edition (p33-34). Lots of benefits with IPAD's, Ereaders, Notebooks & Smartphones ... . and other gizmo's. So much lighter to carry. So much more info available. A whole library like this one in Lucca maybe ?
But sometimes the pro's aren't enough to outweigh the con's - such as lack of access to free WIFI, battery life etc. Paper still rules like on the Venice Vaporetto below ?
We were carrying our trusty Lonely Planet, Frommer & DK Croatian/Italian Guidebooks - but the smartphone certainly helped when we had an abrupt change of travel plans from Venice to Koper, Slovenia. Due to a glitch between a website & email back in Australia, the details were garbled and so we'd missed the bus and had to make it to a boat in Koper that day.
Fancy tools like this Venice Vaporetto Ticket machine one, are great (especially during long queues or after hours when the human ticket sellers are long gone). But sometimes a less sophisticated approach is simplest - like this sign at the Venice Bus Station.
Overcoming the WIFI & battery life issues, then weighing up the weight vs few Travel Guide books and the pain differential for IPADS's & smartphones probably starts disappearing. I know I'm over guidebooks that way a brick each - so am planning to download files onto my smartphone ahead of our next trip.
Maybe that's the secret of technology going viral in organizations?
It's simply the pain factor that's the key perhaps ?
Where software eases more pain than it creates. When a task is cut from days and hours to minutes. When the energy to maintain the system doesn't leave you mind-numbed. When the application is intuitive with no jumping all over the screen and from screen to screen. Not too many shortcut keys to know.
So ease my pain & frustration, but don't try to solve it by creating even more....
And lastly an IT organization that balances governance with access to KM E2.0 tools thus enabling collaboration to drive innovation ?
Too much to wish for ?