Glenn Engstrand

The Three P’s of Enterprise Collaboration

You’ve heard of the 4 P’s of Marketing (product, price, promotion, placement). Here are the 3 P’s of Enterprise Collaboration. If you are considering introducing social media to your company, then make sure that you cover your bases with each of these P’s before deploying in order to avoid abandonment.

Purpose: people are purpose driven. Without a clearly articulated reason why they should participate, they won’t come back no matter how easy or intuitive it is to use. Make sure that your solution delivers, in as simple and concrete terms as possible, the value proposition with every touch point.

People: the whole point to social media is to leverage people’s needs to be social so what good is it when there isn’t a safe climate of mutual respect in the community? Don’t release without a healthy community management component in place. A good community manager exerts a subtle guiding hand to keeping the discussion aligned with the purpose without being perceived as too authoritarian or draconian.

Product: workflow, touch points, and Information Architecture all need to coalesce into a synergistic whole that supports both people and purpose. Don’t risk including features that are not strategically aligned with the purpose as it dilutes the identity of the community.

Purpose, people, and product are intertwined which is why it is smarter to deploy with a limited and focused vertical integration of horizontal collaboration components,  framework, and platform that specifically targets the market segment being served.

2 comments for “The Three P’s of Enterprise Collaboration

  1. April 8, 2010 at 7:15 am

    A very helpful set of distinctions here, Glenn, pointing towards specific areas for assessment and design. When you wrote “You can pretty much recognize any Ning site you run across because they all have the same Information Architecture” – I wondered whether that might be a good thing. If a new visitor sees a Ning based site and “recognizes” the IA as familiar, does that reduce some “new site learning load” (eg: figure it out time) that otherwise might be required?

  2. April 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Great question, Ron. As you have correctly observed, the upside to a common IA is a lower learning curve for those who are already members of other Ning networks. The downside is a lack of purpose in the community. For example, when the place where people discuss is called “forum,” then that opens the door for any kind of discussion including spamming, gossip, requests for Google Wave invites, and discussion over last night’s sports game. Any discussion is OK in a forum.

    When I visit a discussion forum, it is for a specific purpose. If the signal to noise ratio is too low, if I don’t see a lot of relevant posts, then I won’t return.

    A more relevant IA for BoS than simply “forum” might be legal, sales, and service and support. Each of those areas would contain discussion pertinent to solving problems with contracts, the sales cycle, and customer service. If someone posts about Tiger Woods in the sales area, then it is really clear that there has been a violation of the agreement and the poster won’t feel too betrayed when the post gets deleted by the moderator.

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