Reviving Social Business adoption

A topic close to my heart…

Dennis Pearce of Information Week:

The last piece of the puzzle is how to turn a theoretical model like this into a practical analysis tool to help guide your adoption strategy. The first step we took at my company was to simplify the model to get a more focused communication plan. Since the goal is to jump the chasm and gain critical mass, in practice there are really only three groups to worry about:

  • The Early Adopters (which combines both early adopters and innovators), who mainly need to understand the available features so they can explore what can be done with them;
  • The Massive Middle (early majority and late majority), who need some confidence that this new concept is not a fly-by-night fad and will actually enhance productivity; and
  • The Laggards, who won’t adopt until they are forced to do so. 

If you look closely at the chart above, you will notice an S-shaped curve in addition to the normal bell curve. That S-curve is the sum total of your adopters as your organization progresses along the adoption curve. You can use this curve to help you determine when it’s time to switch tactics.

I really like the graph above.  There are a lot of different methods of planning, modelling and measuring user adoption of Social Business systems.  One of the greatest challenges is to be realistic in terms of the adoption culture of an organisation and its users.  No matter how fantastic the technology is, or how persuasive your communication and adoption strategies, users will always embrace new working practices at different speeds and with differing levels of enthusiasm and commitment.  This chart models that well.


Your organization will need to ask itself two questions: How do we define adoption, and what adoption percentage is considered a success? In our case, our goal of creating an organization that works out loud drives the answers to both questions. We want to track participation — not just logging in and viewing — and we want to strive for 100% adoption.

Good advice… How do you define (and measure) adoption, and what are your criteria for success and/or failure?  Lots to be thought through before you ever think about technology or solution specifics…

[Dennis is an Enterprise Knowledge Architect for Lexmark International, Inc. – his series on Information Week is worth reading and following]

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