Chapter 21

Ten Obstacles to Social Collaboration Success

I like telling social collaboration success stories, and I tell a lot of them, partly because it’s easier to get people to talk about their successes than their failures. The success stories really are out there, but the failures are, too. Fortunately, social collaboration failures don’t tend to be big, embarrassing, expensive doom-the-company–style failures. Still, a social collaboration system that doesn’t accomplish anything is a waste of time.

Some of the material that follows is adapted from a column I wrote for Information Week’s social business section. I’ve also benefitted from reading (and in some cases, editing) the columns on this topic by Dion Hinchcliffe, executive vice president of strategy at Dachis Group and co-author of Social Business by Design. The obstacles arise “not because social intranets aren’t useful, but coordinating (and sometimes fighting) the IT department, corporate communications, HR, and often competing vendor camps inside the company means that many firms aren’t as far along as they should be,” he says.

The notion of an Enterprise 2.0 revolution in business around social software goes back to at least 2006 and Andrew McAfee’s definition of how Web 2.0 technologies would change business. I admit I tend to take the truth of this as self-evident. Here are ten reasons why it ain’t necessarily so.

Overcoming a Commanding-and-Controlling Culture

Who says every organization wants to be transparent ...

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