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« Forrester’s Guidance to CIOs on Establishing Social Media Policy | Main | Enterprise 2.0 Black Belt Workshop - Afternoon Part One - Enterprise 2.0 Conference Notes »

June 15, 2010


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Thanks Bill for the great writeup. I enjoyed the opportunity to share thoughts with the panel and the participants in the audience.

The pilot discussion was, perhaps, one of the most critical for consideration by enterprise practitioners trying to get support for a new E2.0 deployment, or to extend one they already have (yes, sell and sell again - its a pattern I see happen all the time).

There are all kinds of problems with pilots, in the traditional sense, which are usually considered to be evaluation periods.

(note: I am NOT talking about pre-production pilots where the IT simply calls something a pilot to convey that they are not yet ready for production level systems and user support. I am 100% in favor of this kind of pilot which also allows the initial cadre of users to set some good examples and infuse the organization with E2.0 literacy before everyone is splashed into the platform).

Most evaluation pilots are too non-committal and place too high an expectation on the users. Why would you learn and work in a system for 3 months when you know it may be trashed at the end? I emphasized that any enterprise doing an "evaluation" pilot ought to make a simple commitment: At the end of the pilot, if as many as one person want to continue with the platform, they can. This is the dedication you need to give people for them to take the time and attention risk in order to give a platform a fighting chance.

The better use of a pilot or evaluation period is for modeling. Here's the problem. As a sales person or marketer, I can't build the perfect demo. A demo scenario built around a shoe company wont seem relevant or even understandable to a consulting company. The best way to build the case for a new platform and show people a way forward is to deploy a pilot and build out a model based on your own organization's structure (or anti-structure if that's the goal), use case and business pain.

If the goal of the session was to help teach practitioners how to sell, that's the best advice I can offer: Focus your efforts on building a model that will help your stakeholders imagine the benefits of a new E2.0 platform and begin to plan the resources, management objectives and other aligning features required in a good emergineering process (see

bill  Ives


Thanks for your comment and i like your idea of the pilot as a learning activity. I have engaged in many of these and they are the best way to reach relevance in the full scale productuon system. The commitment is that we are going to do this and we want you the pilot users to help use shape the final version.

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