On September 5th, we will present San-Netz at the International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies (i-KNOW) in Graz. Our paper “Shaping a social software for a distributed military organisation” documents a case study of the conceptualization, implementation and usage of a social networking service in the medical service of the German armed forces. Based on experience from a two-year period in the project, we report on use cases of the platform, challenges for platform adoption and solutions for organisations seeking to implement similar models of Enterprise 2.0.
The current case study and evaluation show that the implementation of a social networking service is as much a technical issue as it is a social issue. Navigating the demands which come up in a hierarchical organisation is a challenge developers must not underestimate at any step in the project. Whereas the goal of Enterprise 2.0 is to enable users to collaboratively collect, exchange and discuss information, hierarchical organisations tend to restrict the flow of information, turning social networking services into a mere support tool for existing organisational processes. Adequate communication of potential benefits and the clarification of what the service should be, therefore, is of high importance for the success of the project.