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Gartner tells IT executives how to enable enterprise collaboration

Matt Kapko | May 14, 2014
Gartner analysts encourage CIOs and other IT executives to think more broadly and holistically about a digital workplace driven by mobile, social, cloud data technologies.

Using Jive's social collaboration software out of the box, Stepper said he and his team began developing of an enterprise social network in 2012 called myDB. "People didn't want more tools & they wanted fewer of them and they wanted work to be simpler," he says.

"This one stuck, this one actually made a difference," he says. "Last month about 40,000 people used myDB" and the number of users and platforms myDB is replacing goes up every month.

With 40 percent of Deutsche Bank employees now using myDB, Stepper has solidified the seven elements most important to a successful enterprise collaboration strategy:


Commercial value

Community managers

Management engagement

Advocate network

Center of excellence

Individual benefits

"The interesting part and the hard part is how do you take these things and apply them to your particular culture, your particular company," he says. "Success also looks different at different times at different maturity levels. So what we thought was success two years ago wouldn't nearly be enough now."

While Stepper initially expected myDB to go viral, the project steadily gained interest and usage on an individual or team-by-team basis over time. The network has grown to 40,000 users but as many as 80,000 employees say they want to use it, so Stepper still has his work cut out for him.

"Part of the promised land is making work more fulfilling," he says. "People hate work, it's dehumanizing. That's what we've made it. We don't treat people like people. In the promised land, we have the opportunity to re-humanize work and make work more effective."

No Short Cut to Collaboration
Businesses often struggle with collaboration because it can be so difficult to replicate at scale. Before myDB got off the ground, Stepper and his team experimented with 20 different ideas — four of which actually worked. There is no prescriptive way to implement these ideas other than trying a variety of fast, cheap experiments before quickly pruning down to the most effective solutions.

For myDB, the typical path to adoption begins with authenticating an account and then interacting with the service or tracking meaningful insights from the platform. "As much as vanity metrics aren't science in terms of value, it's like the first set of numbers that shows you're relevant& and then you start talking about business testimonials and real money," Stepper adds.

"If there are more than 10,000 people in India using our platform, even if that's generally true, it's not terribly useful because there could be 500 that are awesome at it," he says.

3 Take-Away Tips From Gartner
Gartner's Mann and Landry left attendees with three tips, or homework as they put it:

  • Create and imagine a new digital story for your organization and determine three scenarios in which your organization could work radically different in a digital world.
  • Identify parts of your infrastructure that must go. "Identify those parts that are hostile to a digital workforce," says Mann.
  • Identify the skills or talent you can afford to lose and those you need to develop.


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