Tip No. 4: Create a safe place to collaborate
Getting your superusers to contribute ideas is one of the best things you do for your organization.
Eighteen months ago, Cisco launched I-Zone, a companywide wiki for developing innovative business ideas. Since then, Cisco's 61,000-plus employees have contributed 600 ideas for potential $1 billion-per-annum ventures, says David Hsieh, senior director of marketing for emerging technologies at Cisco.
But letting end-users build their own blogs, wikis, or other collaborative tools is just asking for trouble, says Bill Penn, chief architect at Covisint, a vendor of collaboration solutions and services.
"CEOs aren't considered hip unless they're writing their own blogs these days," says Penn. "But you don't see the same CEOs saying it's OK for employees to create their own blogs and wikis. People need to be held accountable. You need to have a compliance and security framework tied to identity management systems before you turn these folks loose."
John Baschab, president of management services at Technisource, says his tech staffing and consultancy firm created its own collaborative site to include a ScrewTurn wiki, WordPress blogs, a user forum, and a file management app, all wrapped up within Microsoft SharePoint 2007.
"You've got to give end-users tools and the sandbox to use them in, and to make it easier for them to use than it would be to do it themselves," Baschab says. By including SharePoint into the initiative, Technisource can ensure production-level performance, data backups, security, and single sign-on.
"If you don't give users these things, they'll eventually just give up on you and go elsewhere," Baschab says.