Large firms are struggling with social technology, wondering how to take advantage of these new forms of communication. In the McKinsey Quarterly business journal, consultants Michael Chui, Andy Miller and Roger Roberts of McKinsey & Co. identify six critical factors:
1. Unlike the top-down, centralized rollout of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, the technologies of Web 2.0 are founded upon bottom-up participation from front-line staff. But the transformation to a bottom-up culture will need informal guidance and role modelling from the top.
2. The best approaches for using the technology will come from users, but will require help to gain traction across the corporation.
3. Participatory technologies have the highest chance of success when incorporated into a user's daily work flow.
4. Traditional management practices - from bonuses to performance management - aren't particularly useful for encouraging participation. Instead, follow the Web 2.0 ethos and play to ego, bolstering the reputation of participants in relevant communities and acknowledging the quality and usefulness of contributions.
5. Figure out who the users are who can serve as a foundation for this change, helping to build critical mass.
6. Seek a balance between freedom and control in overseeing social media applications, such as prohibiting anonymous postings. Don't go overboard trying to prevent risk to the firm.