on June 22, 2012
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.