Josh Breiger

Three Overlooked Problems in Enterprise Social Network Adoption

The fact that eighty percent of social business efforts will not achieve their intended benefits is a clear sign that there is much room for improvement. Although there are many reasons determining if enterprise social networks will ultimately have a successful adoption, a big reason why enterprise social networks fail is their inability to get off the ground. The three factors addressed below are both important and often overlooked.

Failure to account for the learning curve

A big reason new programs fail is people are resistant to change. Even if a new way of working or thinking is easier, employees often prefer less effective and habitual practices.  Employees often question new tools and wonder what is in it for them. Upper management questions the ROI and if the new system will ultimately help the bottom line. Similar to when a technology like Email was first introduced, it might take a while for people to break their current habits and the paradigm to shift to enterprise social networks. Therefore, it is important to get employees feet in the door of a new system. As the beginning stages are some of the most important times for a successful enterprise social network, it is vital to have a system with limited setup up and a limited learning curve or risk employees never getting started.

Failure to account for social media illiteracy

Although younger generations spend time with social networks and are especially comfortable with networks with Facebook like features, there is still a learning curve for some. This lack of comfortably with social media in general makes it even harder to convince people of the benefits of an internal social network. Some people are just not as comfortable with things like blogs, tagging relevant information and general etiquette of a social network.

These employee’s uncomfortably makes them even more skeptical to learn another system. People feel that they already need to check so many places for information (LinkedIn, CRM systems, Email etc.) that they don’t want to add another one to the list.

It is important to give these people special attention and dedicate more time to help them. Without this additional help, workers will not put in the necessary time to learn the system.

Failure in Integration with current systems

Another overlooked factor in enterprise social network adoption is the system’s integration with existing company systems. It is important to study and pick a system that seamlessly integrates with current systems. The most effective platforms will be able to integrate with current company tools (including CRM, company databases) so the least amount of learning is needed.

Also, although it probably will not be this way forever, nearly everyone still uses Email to communicate. A tool that integrates with Email is therefore critical. Obviously, not everyone will immediately start to use the enterprise social network. So making sure those who are using it and those who are still using Email are able to efficiently communicate is essential for the growth of the social network. Picking a social enterprise platform which does not effectively integrate with Email may deeply thwart the implementation process and create information silos.

It is essential not to underestimate the importance of integration with current systems and to understand any system which can effectively integrate with Email will most likely lead to an increase in effectiveness.


Adopting an enterprise social network is a tricky task and remembering not to ignore these three often disregarded factors ensures organizations will not start off a step behind.