We built EMC|ONE way back when with several intentions. Among them - helping our global employees get comfortable with enterprise 2.0 tools and techniques. As part of this, we've very much resisted the urge to create protected or gated spaces (Remember that EMC|ONE is inside the firewall - so the community consists of employees only). Our over-arching thinking - the more eyes on a conversation the better. Transparent and open dialog is far more valuable than discussions in silos.
I've noted it before - The vast majority of those who propose a new topical space on EMC|ONE want it closed by default. We usually have a healthy conversation, asking what's so secretive that the conversation or content cannot be exposed to fellow employees. In virtually EVERY instance, the new community manager comes around and proceeds with an open forum - One that ends up being MUCH more productive and vibrant that it would have been had it been roped off.
We use Jive Software's Clearspace
as the platform behind the community, and upgraded to V2.5 late last
year. If you're interested in reading about the impact to the
corporation of an outage during the upgrade, check this out.
[End of context setting]
Jive introduced a new capability in 2.5 - 'Groups'. The old nomenclature was spaces... By creating a space, you would get the ability to blog, create wikis or have discussions. Groups are very similar... By creating a group, you get the same basic abilities. One of the interesting challenges is that these things co-exist. You can still have spaces - and can now do groups - and there is considerable overlap from a functionality perspective. There's some interesting discussions around the subtle differences of groups versus spaces on the Jive support portal.
We chose to conduct a little experiment post our upgrade last year. The process to create a space is somewhat controlled. It's largely crowd sourced, in that requests for new spaces are submitted to the community via a wiki. The community weighs in and the community is created by a central admin team if approved.
We left the ability for the community to spin up groups on their own turned on - Basically taking any control processes to create groups out of the picture. Intent was really to see how thecapability was leveraged by the community.
Last week, we took stock of what's happened.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 groups have popped up since the upgrade. What was disappointing is that the vast majority - upwards of 80% - were gated.
We then start poking around to see what sort of secretive information was in each to correlate gated groups versus level of confidential information within.
My favorite example of a protected area was the "Quote of the Day" group.
This is NOT a knock.. It's an observation. It's suggestive of the obstacles we (all) still need to overcome. Many remain uncomfortable sharing in an open setting. It's the notion of having so many eyes on what you type that causes hesitation, IMO. An email is simple, right? It only goes to the person(s) I intend it to. Something in a community can be seen by everyone... And what if I say something stupid?
These are unfortunate but persistent hesitations that will take some time to truly overcome. We'll know we've nailed it when the default behavior is open and the exception is closed...After all, there are occasionally legitimate business needs to control access to highly confidential information.
Here's the good news - We started pinging the folks who had created the protected groups. We reminded them of our over-arching intent. We talked a bit about transparency and E2.0 behaviors - and how important it is for us, as a company, to continue to work to that end.
The response was positive - With many coming forward
saying "You're right - I created a closed group but have no compelling
reason to do so - and am now opening it up to the masses."
We have a ways to go, but the onus remains on us to help coach folks out of their comfort zones and demonstrate new ways to communicate and collaborate. It's certainly not going to change overnight... It's an evolution.