Along with many of our extended network, Lee & I spent a few days in Paris last week at the Enterprise 2.0 summit hosted by Kongres Media. It’s always a pleasure to attend and hear about the latest developments within a community we have enjoyed being part of for many years. Since Lee already blogged his keynote, I thought I would share my own summaries of the key case studies. They create a fantastic picture of the progress has made in E2.0 in Europe, but also demonstrate the journey ahead for even the most forward thinking, mature social businesses.

SIKA: with over 17000 employees, SIKA has been working on it’s ESN for 3 years now. Based on IBM Connections, the platform came out of an initiative sparked by employees creating Linkedin groups for internal collaboration. Taking care to ensure that previously unsuccessful knowledge management projects did not cast a shadow on the success of their E2.0 programme, the team decided to align the E2.0 programme to the organisation’s vision for 2018, thereby creating management buy-in. We heard some great observations from Christian Frey and Charlotte Aguillar, about the challenges organisations face when implementing platforms like IBM Connections – the sheer number of features, the lack of personalisation in user experience, the commitment needed for sufficient training and enablement, all came across through their presentation. Hearing about their plans to make their ESN the ‘one place’ for employees through the implementation of a data sharing strategy, and the alignment of their cultural ways of working (described as the ‘SIKA Spirit’) means I look forward to hearing more about their work in the future!

Michelin Group: Viewed as an innovation in both tools and ways of working, the ESN implementation at Michelin Group was based on the BlueKiwi platform. Describing the project, Michelin Group used a simple but effective model:

  • Challenge – install new working practices to support faster growth for the group;
  • Objectives – encourage innovation, empowerment, agility, deeper collaboration; and,
  • Targeting  – every employee, unit, entity and geography.

They have seen increasingly mature use cases emerge through the last two years. In 2013, communities were used for network co-ordination, team leadership, creativity, monitoring, communications and project management. These key functions were added to in 2014, with the following use cases:  management buy-in/decision making, change management initiatives, team management, beta testing, empowerment, management innovation, chat/real-time collaboration. With Michelin Group already having a stated goal of wanting to use data from their social network to create information that can inform decision processes, use cases will continue to grow and deepen as more uses for the platform are explored.

Robert Bosch GmBH: the presentation by Katharina Perschke focused on the importance of their community management programme to the successful implementation of their E2.0 platform, Bosch Connect (with just over 270,000 associates on the platform it is the largest implementations in Europe). By the end of 2014, the corporate community manager (CCM) was a formal professional discipline, and with a ten week formal certification process, and a route to senior management now possible by pursuing this discipline, Bosch are taking CCM very seriously indeed! What I enjoyed more than anything about the Bosch case study is the rigour with which they approach all aspects of the E2.0 project – when senior executives challenged the implementation of community managers as a professional role, the project team built a solid, numbers-based business plan to show why interns couldn’t do the job nearly as well. This is typical of what we experience when working with Bosch on this project for the past three year, and it makes the project a constant source of learning and good practice. Another example is the scenario-based indications of return on time invested for community management based on internal surveys they have carried out. It is a case study that grows and deepens as time goes on – I would recommend checking out Katharina’s storify for more great detail.

BNP Paribas Cardif: the insurance subsidiary for the BNP Paribas bank launched their first community in 2008, and have been careful to keep the number of communities focused for their 10,000 employees. As Judith Will explained, after six years, the number of communities has only grown to 20. This small number of focused communities has also led to a very strong and closely networked ‘community of community managers’. With a set of clear and concise governing principles that spell out the basics of communities, this small band of community managers are able to effectively steer a much larger organisation towards becoming a social business. Three of these governing principles were of particular interest to me, as they spell out some of the basic misconceptions about the implementation of an ESN. Firstly, communities are not aligned to the organisational chart. Secondly, not everything is best achieved through a community. Thirdly, communities are not always permanent structures.

Continental: with over 170,000 employees in 300 locations in 49 countries, I can only begin to imagine the complexities of the ESN project at Continental, which Harald Schirmer was presenting on day two of the conference. A download of his slides are available here. Focusing on a new and dynamic role for HR within organisational change, Harald explained that their approach to social business was a more strategic one, with HR asking the key question ‘what do we need to be in five years?’. By starting with the future capabilities of the organisation, and using them to create meaningful use cases, they have pushed the initiative to an impressive level of maturity. Telling the Continetal story through vision, reasons and goals gives all employees a clear reason for the change, and Harald advocates finding change agents with passion, as opposed to rank – a recommendation we often make ourselves. There is a clear distinction between management and influence as a way of ‘getting things done’, and social business is a perfect place for the latter. A clear take away from the summit as a whole was the difficult and often detail-orientated journey to becoming a connected company requires energy, passion and dedication from change agents

Bayer Material Sciences: Another IBM Connections implementation, this time co-habiting with SharePoint, amongst other things. An interesting presentation by CIO Laurie Miller covered the tools-led project that has been running at Bayer MS for some time. Laurie immediately grabbed our attention, opening with the classic Jack Welch quote “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”, an idea that dovetails nicely with our research on the impact of market dynamics on organisational design and capabilities for the 21st century. What started as a need to rationalise the collaboration toolset, has quickly grown into a major project aimed at changing ways of working and embedding new behaviours. What I enjoyed most about Laurie’s presentation was her obvious passion for getting the basics right and elements such as the reverse mentoring program that she participated in, the train the trainer sessions to more effectively scale adoption efforts and the ambassadors network, all of which will pay dividends as the implementation progresses

Firmenich: Introduced by Xavier Singy, a senior project manager, the case study of Firmenich was new to me. A B2B company based in Switzerland and specialising in producing fragrances and flavours, they began their E2.0 journey in June 2013 with a pilot Jive-based platform. Supported by a team drawn from a variety of disciplines across the business, none of whom were full-time, it was a great example of what is possible with the right stakeholders, support and passion for the work. With over 6500 employees, this 120-year old company has one of the best examples of customer collaboration that I have seen for some time. Using their platform, Firmenich Wave, they have created a vibrant customer collaboration community with Unilever. All collaboration, communications and innovation on a particular project takes place on Wave, connecting a network of 80 people for added speed and agility during the product development cycle.

For us, the highlight of the E2.0 Summit was talking to practitioners in companies who are able to share their story and insights from their journey. Overall, I would say we are encouraged by the progress they have made, which makes us think all the more about what comes next and how these mature, established platforms can provide a base for organisational change and new ways of working.