And hopefully the last episode in this series. For context, give a read to this post. Bottom line, our internal community offering EMC|ONE took a nose dive in early December and was down for several hours.
I received quite a bit of feedback on this one, both on and offline. Folks wanted to know what happened next - Did the world stop spinning the next day? Did the community revolt and storm my house like an angry mob? No. Fortunately nothing this exciting happened.
Here's what DID happen...
Rather, things returned to normal rather quickly. Before the IT folks could tell us the web servers were coming back up, conversations had started flowing again. An hour later, you'd never know anything had even happened. The next day, that old community spirit sprang back to life with a self organized photo contest for employees.
Here I sit, almost three weeks after this 'event' and things are back to normal. I don't believe we've taken any serious and permanent damage - but it was close.
EMC|ONE has truly become ingrained in our corporate culture. In some way, it touches virtually everything we do - Corporate communications, policy debates, product innovation, content development, global collaboration, so much more. I guess it's somewhat like taking the carburetor out of your car - some things will still kind of work, but a whole lot of other things are simply going to stop. That's what happened here - and it WAS painful.
There are two key takeaways here.
One - Your community platform will become business critical at some point. If you've followed our journey, you know we started off with a 'pilot' mindset in the interest of going fast. This meant less robust infrastructure, support processes, etc;. Well, we've gone fast... Really fast. And at some point in the last twelve months EMC|ONE went from being "pretty cool" to being downright critical to our business. I wouldn't change our initial approach - I still think it was the right one... But suggest you keenly watch to ensure your implementation is on par with the level of dependency for the solution.
Two - We've worked VERY hard to drive the adoption of EMC|ONE. We've embraced 2.0 techniques and behaviors to improve the way we work across the global workforce. We've re-engineered business processes putting EMC|ONE (and 2.0 collaboration in general) at the very center of how we do business. Drive change, introduce new tools, make then central to daily activity and then yank them away is bad business. Your community may stomach one or two such events before credibility in the solution - worse in 2.0 behaviors in general - is impacted and folks go back to the 'old ways' of doing business. What better way to undo all of the progress we've made so far?
We've survived, and I'm chalking this one up in the lessons learned column. Hopefully sharing this story will help you avoid the same bump in the road.