Selecting an ESN - the questions that really count
Ultimately, deciding if you should invest in an ESN really depends on your organization's needs, culture and readiness. If those factors support deploying an enterprise social network, the next step is finding the right ESN technology. That isn't necessarily a matter of selecting a particular vendor, [Charlene Li, Altimeter Group] said, but more about figuring out which system can best help the organization achieve its goals and objectives.
I think we get the basic concept of technology selection behind almost every piece on selecting enterprise social software. Out of the five key questions this article proposes (based on interviews with Li, Carol Rozwell from Gartner Inc., and T.J. Keitt from Forrester Research Inc.) only three really count:
- Will the enterprise social network serve a variety of your employees' needs?
- How usable will the ESN be?
- How will you measure the success of your ESN?
The challenge then becomes how do you go about 'figuring out'?
- You need a user-centred approach to understanding needs.
- You can't test how usable an ESN is on paper - it needs to be hands on.
- Don't forget to get a baseline to measure impact from.
Also, fit with technical architecture is an important consideration although it doesn't have to be treated as a constraint and may depend on who is driving the technology selection!