Social Media ROI and Strategy Alignment

I’m not sure that there are many answers — at least for our line of business — but these posts got me thinking about the value of some Enterprise 2.0 initiatives we’ll be kicking off shortly.¬†

Fluent Simplicity lays out the basic value/return problems here.¬† Social media initiatives often happen because everyone is doing them, and focusing on fads and fashion doesn’t make for long-term thinking¬†(see my take on Tom Davenport’s pessimistic take on Web 2.0 here).¬† However, Enterprise 2.0 can’t be treated the same way.¬† Firms are reluctant to go “all-in” on social media because…

[f]or most organizations, this activity is not tied to strategic goals and is not adequately measured in a meaningful way. 

Frogloop has a ROI calculator (here) that got me thinking about how to build the business case for my initiatives.¬† I’m not sure how well I’ve thought through the¬†intangible benefits (e.g., retention), which probably will have the biggest strategic impact.¬†¬†I’ve been focused on the productivity¬†and publicity gains only, which were simple.¬† A little more Excel modeling may be in order!

Hat tip: Mary Adams at IC Knowledge Center

Giving up on Web 2.0 as penance?

Tom Davenport‘s latest post (here) on Harvard Business Online¬†channels the tone of today’s¬†conventional wisdom.¬† Many commentators on the Panic of 2008 — including Davenport — are invoking the Great Depression and its harsh lessons.¬† I guess¬†hairshirts and flagellant confraternities¬†will be coming back next.

While I love¬†mortification of the flesh¬†as much as¬†anyone, I think Davenport’s seriously off-track here.¬†¬†He’s gone gloom-and-doom just as social media is doing some heavy lifting.¬†¬†An example of Enterprise 2.0 traction, you say?¬† OK, what does it say¬†when a guy like Michael Krigsman — who is on the IT Project Failures beat,¬†for goodness sake¬†— praises Enterprise 2.0 efforts from SAP (here) and Oracle (here)?

I hate to bad-rap a fellow Babsonian, but maybe Tom needs to get out of Starbucks more…

What is the deal w/ Technorati?

Does anyone have any idea what’s up w/ Technorati?¬† It seems like they’ve had recurring index, link, and authority update issues since the beginning of the year.¬† I’d like to rely on them — I see backlinks and other comments there I can’t see other places.

Also, I’m surprised Michael Krigsman hasn’t posted on them again.¬† I’m starting to wonder if they really did get to the bottom of what ailed them six months ago (Michael’s “kudos” post here).

Enterprise SW value, complexity, and R&D

Dennis Howlett’s extended response (here) to Vinnie Mirchandani’s post demanding more simplicity — or begging Steve Jobs to find it — in enterprise apps (here).¬† Dennis effectively boils down Vinnie’s argument to this:

Why is it that despite all the interest in SaaS and Enterprise 2.0 that the industry offers so very little apparent bang per buck for business as a whole?

Way too much to comment on comprehensively, but here are three:

  1. Behind the simplicity of iTunes lies the complexity of SAP ERP.¬†¬† Every time you hit iTunes, you’re hitting SAP ERP.¬† Tell me again that the iTunes/iPhone model would work without ERP and that Apple’s not getting value out of¬†its investment.¬†
  2. Enterprise software is modeling a business in real-time — a non-trivial, complex¬†task that evolves in time.¬† Per Dennis’s comment about the process approach, once you try to take enterprise SW beyond implementing functions you’ve gotten into the business process management business¬†whether you like it or not.
  3. Brian Sommer‘s comment is spot on: modern portfolio management is just getting introduced to the SW business.¬† Perhaps it should be a bit more ruthless.¬† Vampire/zombie projects, rampant cross-subsidization, and derivative products litter the R&D landscape in both commercial and in-house software development.¬†
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