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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable handbook for anyone planning, deploying or using social and collaborative tools, June 22, 2012
This review is from: The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving Your Internal Business Challenges Using Emerging Social and Collaborative Tools (Hardcover)
I read an advance copy of Jacob Morgan's book. Jacob says: "The purpose of this book is to act as a guide for executives, decision makers, and those involved with collaborative initiatives at their organizations". I believe he hits the mark with a book of lasting value, as do reviewers including Vivek Kundra, former Chief Information Officer of the United States; Erik Brynjolf, MIT Center for Digital Business Director, and others.

Jacob organizes his book into three parts: The Opening, The Middle Game, and The End Game. The Opening chapters talk to people in organizations who are just getting started with their initiatives. It covers business drivers, case studies, evaluating risk, and getting the right people involved. The Middle Game chapters cover topics including defining goals to match your business, developing a strategy, vendor evaluation, dealing with resistance, rolling out a platform, and developing governance. The End Game chapters talk about strategies for sustaining and maintaining these initiatives in the long term, including a bonus chapter on Enterprise 2.0 with Andrew McAfee.

Jacob's book is based on his own analysis and research, including interviews, case studies and survey responses from 234 individuals around the world, working for companies ranging from 1,000 to over 100,000 employees, with responsibilities ranging from mid-level to C-level executives. The Collaborative Organization is vendor neutral, involving actual practitioners who are implementing collaborative tools and strategies for their organizations - not vendors or consultants.

Each chapter includes analysis, examples and a well-written Summary and Action items section, with actionable advice that you'll turn to often. Chapters include case studies, examples and results drawn from practitioner experience, not hand-wavy fluff.

It's a handbook you'll have on your desk for the next few years. I particularly like:

Chapter 2 - The First Step to Recovery is Admitting You have a Problem on business drivers and problems (20 pages)

Chapter 7 - The Adaptive Emergent Collaboration Framework practical advice on choosing and adapting approaches to match your business goals and culture (27 pages)

Chapter 8 - Resistance is Futile on barriers to success (13 pages)

Chapter 12 - Measures of Success, practical advice on measuring soft benefits, hard benefits, and defining business value (19 pages)

My company (Traction Software) decided to buy and give away free copies to 200 folk attending the 2012 Enterprise 20 conference in Boston. Jacob's book is vendor agnostic. We have no sponsorship or connection with Jacob other than respect for Jacob's work in general, and this book in particular.

Jacob answers basic and important questions on goals, capabilities, vendor selection, barriers to adoption, governance, objections, leadership, corporate culture and leadership.

I believe a well-educated customer our best friend - making it possible to have a serious and useful talk about our software and capabilities, rather than trying to cover those basic and important questions at the same time. Jacob does a better, more thorough, and more clearly objective job than we can. I can't insist that prospective customers read Jacob's book before talking to us, but if they do, they'll have a more productive conversation - with us or other vendors.

I recommend that other vendors in the Enterprise 2.0 / Social Business space refer prospects and customers to Jacob's book as well. It helps everyone.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 27, 2012 4:16:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2012 4:38:11 PM PDT
R. Thiel says:
A very positive review. I certainly look forward to exploring it myself. In my experience, the primary challenge lies in getting people to really buy into collaborative behaviours. The technologies are out there (many have been for years) but the typical corporate culture far too often continues to sanction, support, even promote behaviours that work against collaboration.
Some examples: i) reluctance to share information - an ingrained belief that this somehow dilutes you ("knowledge is power") ii) selective communications - keeping people out of the loop ("need to know" instead of "need to share") iii) hiding information by default, then making it available explicitly instead of the opposite - share and restrict only where it is really necessary...
The tools are out there and you can bring the employee (horse) to water, but ...
I am looking forward to learning more from this book about overcoming the "people challenge".

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 10:20:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 10, 2012 11:40:02 AM PDT
roundtrip says:
I believe you'll find the book helpful, particularly the chapters cited in the review.

One way to address the "people challenge" is leadership and use of social software in the context of daily business activities, problem solving and projects. This can reduces barriers to sharing by making it the behavioral norm that benefits members of each group, as well as providing serendipitous opportunities to the rest of the organization.

Studies like the Jan 2011 Deloitte "Social Software for Business Performance" report cited in the book also help by providing a clear business case and analysis of cost and competitive value.

In my opinion, a corporate culture that sanctions, supports, and promotes behaviors that you cite has much bigger problems than effective collaboration, and software alone certainly does not fix the biggest problems.

In less toxic organizations, objective analysis, clear examples, and clear explanations can help make wise decisions. That's why I like Jacob's book.
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