Presenting Social Network Roadmap at SocialDevCampChicago

The Social Network Roadmap enables established organizations to onboard Web 2.0 and social networks more quickly because it is a measured adoption approach that mitigates risk. As I learned while helping to build out PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting’s e-business transformation roadmap during Web 1.0, enterprise executives appreciate roadmaps because they outline the adoption process, explain risks and help to align people around the change effort.

Given this, my hypothesis is that the Social Network Roadmap will be of interest to providers of social software and services because they can use some of its concepts to make the case for their services.  I will present this at SocialDevCamp tomorrow, and I’m very interested in the reaction I’ll get.  Here I’ll share a couple of additional thoughts.

How the Roadmap Drives Adoption of Social Software and Services

The Roadmap’s three phases are Feasibility, Strategy and Implementation, and any of them can be useful, depending on the type of business development approach a company uses. For a more complete treatment, see the SNR Expanded Overview. Here are the CliffsNotes.

Feasibility

Feasibility’s main deliverable is a business case for Web 2.0 involvement as a function of the activity trends of a company’s stakeholders.  

CSRA takes the view that, in 2008, Web 2.0 is as inevitable as Web 1.0 was in 1996.  But that doesn’t mean that a company has to jump in this year, or even next (not every company had a great business case for building a website in 1996, either).  However, the company will eventually adopt, and Feasibility will provide a robust understanding of Web 2.0’s impact and timing, largely by studying stakeholder trends.  

To the extent that a Web 2.0 provider is defining and driving stakeholder demand, it can be useful for to create case studies or even referenceable short stories about pioneer customers (the more enterprise the better).  This can contribute to the business case. CSRA adds value because we don’t assume that the client has to do Web 2.0, but they do have to understand how it’s affecting their business, and timing. It is changing relationships among all kinds of people. Also see Web 2.0 Means Marketing 2.0 or Market Advisory on Consumer Empowerment.

Strategy

Here the main deliverable is the adoption plan for social networks and Web 2.0.  This details key intentions around pilots and the process to scale them up when targets are met. Therefore, even though your company undoubtedly already conducts pilots, it can be helpful to understand your value proposition within a larger context, especially during the early market. Executives do not yet understand the Web 2.0 value proposition, so showing how you relate to the whole can be very compelling.  The Roadmap addresses the whole.

Two-three years from now, there will be dozens of highly visible, quantitative case studies of most categories of Web 2.0 “solutions,” but in 2008-2010 we will be largely in education mode.

Implementation

This is the longest phase, and it never really ends. It begins with pilots and progresses to scaling and integration.  Most executives in mature organizations think in terms of processes and best practices, so here it can be very effective to vet Web 2.0 with pilots, iterating the Web 2.0 solution as well as its appropriateness for the business context. This will lead to a mature “solution” that can be scaled up.  Your company may well not be involved with integration, but that subphase calls for reengineering existing practices.  

For example, let’s say that the Web 2.0 solution is using LinkedIn to recruit certain types of employees.

The Roadmap would call for using LinkedIn for some pilots, scaling the activity and finally changing the company’s recruitment process.  Think of Web 1.0: at first, “the Web” was practiced separately, but once companies began to understand, they scaled their Web activity and eventually replaced certain aspects of their legacy processes. Similarly, Web 2.0 will drive to new syntheses and innovation in all areas of business process. That’s what I mean when I say that CSRA helps companies to use Web 2.0 and social networks for process innovation.

Parting Shots

During the early market, clients have an immense thirst to understand the disruptive concepts that form the context around emerging offerings. They need to learn what they don’t know, especially out-of-left-field things that disruptions bring. Don’t assume client decision makers will understand some of the key assumptions and concepts underlying your offer.  Tying your offer to the client’s overall adoption of Web 2.0 can prove breakthrough.  You can also partner with a strategy firm like CSRA to do the strategy heavy lifting.

What do you think?  What business development trends are you seeing?

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