Whats does your internal collaboration enterprise social graph look like?
Let’s cut to the chase, this is how it should NOT look like:
Fig 1: Internal Collaboration Enterprise Social Graph of the US Senate – 2009 (Source: Slate.com)
The graph you are seeing above is a visual representation of internal collaboration enterprise social graph of the US Senate [This force directed graph from Slate is based on votes in 2009 (I will be working on a 2011 graph). Each blue dot represents a Democratic senator, each red dot represents a Republican senator. A line connects two senators when they voted the same way on 65 percent of the votes]. The force directed graph clusters dots with the most connections to each other, pushing away dots with the least connections and as a result we can visually identify the people who collaborate with each the most and those who collaborate the least.
In my engagements with various companies, I have observed that many people draw an enterprise social graph as dots connected by lines, some even go as far as drawing pretty clusters of dots connected by lines as shown in the US Senate graph above. While such a graph is not incorrect, it is not what you want your internal collaboration enterprise social graph to look like if you are to have effective internal collaboration. An effective internal collaboration enterprise social graph looks like this:
Fig 2: Effective Internal Collaboration Enterprise Social Graph (Source: Tom Chikoore -http://tomchikoore.com)
It’s not pretty, it’s messy but it’s effective. Each dot represents an employee and each line represents two employees who follow each other on an internal social enterprise collaboration community. This means each line represents a “bi-directional” follow between two employees. A bidirectional follow represents an open communication channel for effective collaboration. The color of each dot represents department in the organization. The following is a legend for some of the organizational departments shown in the graph:
BLUE – Sales
RED – Engineering
SALMON – Product Marketing
FLUORESCNET GREEEN – Product Management
ORANGE – Marketing
BLACK – Professional Services
ACQUA – Support
QUALITY ASSURANCE – Saddle Brown
LIME GREEN – Vendor
From this graph, you can see that the departments that one would expect to collaborate with each other are collaborating with each other. This is a beautiful visualization: Notice how the Support team is positioned between Engineering and Professional Services; and Professional Service is positioned between Support and Sales. This is the type of relationship you would expect to see is the majority of product development organizations. QA is positioned right next to Engineering and Product Management is nestled between Engineering Product Marketing, and Sales. This is what you would expect in most organizations, this is what your internal collaboration enterprise social graph should look like.
You can think of graph depicted above as a depiction of the “internal collaboration DNA” of your organization. Using this graph and the right algorithms, an assessment of the health of your community is possible. The right tools can help you identify collaboration problems and suggest solutions to fix the problems to enable effective internal collaboration.
For more information on the social graph and community health assessment tools send me an email at tom AT tomchikoore.com