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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

SAP's rapid growth in the social software market has allowed us to work closely with our customers to learn, get feedback, and co-innovate. During this process, we have developed a design methodology to maximize user adoption and business value. In this four-part blog series, I will share our lessons learned about how to hardwire success into your SAP Jam deployment.

The first step in designing or re-launching your enterprise social network is to understand where you are and where you want to go. The following table is a simple maturity model that I use to help customers understand where they are on the social spectrum and where they may consider going next.

An Enterprise Social Networking Maturity Model

Most organizations will see initial activity from “Pioneers” or early adopters. These are technology savvy employees that latch onto the tool and use it for a particular task or project. This might be an innovator in IT that leverages SAP Jam for a software implementation or an extroverted engineer that enjoys posting videos about their latest discoveries. This is an excellent start because it can generate buzz inside the company but often this will lead to isolated, islands of activities. If you are using a “build it and they will come” rollout model, you are likely to max out at this level of adoption.

Our experience shows that moving to a socially “Strategic” organization requires management engagement. There must be a top down articulation of how employees should use social collaboration tools and how that usage directly benefits the company and the users. The addition of more formal groups and a realization that social can enable employee success will drive more uniform adoption throughout the company. For example, a company with high revenue growth targets must rapidly hire employees in a scalable way. An SAP Jam onboarding group will ensure that new employees are connected, trained and adding value as quickly as possible.

SAP Jam Group for Social Onboarding

The combination of “bottoms up” user innovation with “tops down” social group design will accelerate user adoption and engagement. The “tipping point” occurs when social becomes part of the organization’s culture and working fabric. Managers and employees leverage social in their everyday projects, communications and meetings. Employee recognition and company values are highlighted, reinforced and visible in social engagement and activities. Employees realize that not only does social collaboration help them do their job better but they recognize that it is critical for them to be effective, visible and successful in the company.

Another dimension to validate how ingrained social activity is within the organization is to look at the type of activity that is occurring. Most projects begin with a lot of groups being created and populated with content. In the second stage of development, these groups become sticky. There are a large number of users going to the groups to view and download content on a recurring and frequent basis. Finally, full engagement takes hold. Users begin to comment, debate and offer their own content to the communities.

This simple model gives a quick understanding of the maturity and depth of your organization’s adoption of social technology, and helps identify the next step of your social journey. Please share your thoughts and experiences. Where in the maturity model is your company and why? What are you doing to drive your organization to the next level? Has social become part of your corporate culture?

In Part 2, I will discuss the social network design elements that must be considered and defined before you roll out SAP Jam.

Follow SAP Social Software on Twitter: @SAPSocial