During his keynote at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, HBS Professor Andrew McAfee put out a call to create a community for sharing case studies on Enterprise 2.0. After some sharing and prototyping in private, www.cases2.com has launched on a Socialtext wiki. There are five cases so far:
From Suw Charman's live blogging of his keynote:
Need case studies - have a few examples that we fall back on. Our store-houses of success stories needs to expand fairly dramatically if we are going to get traction with decision-makers within companies. What will help them make that decision is verifiable case studies. Need to make sure we don't keep using the same examples over and over. Mustn't get into the trap of coming up with impressive ROI numbers for these techs, Lots of these ROI numbers quoted are 200% - 300%, which makes people ask, if these are true then we should be throwing money into buying software. Those numbers have to be suspect. Don't want us to fall into the trap of coming up with glowing numbers.
Can talk about what happened, at the anecdote or case study level. These are very persuasive. Not all companies have a rigid ROI view of investments, but what they want is ways to triangulate the quality of investment.
Need to address this problem, need a repository of information. If and when we do this we need to throw the gates open as widely as possible - should be emergent, widely accessible, and egalitarian. Need to disclose where this information comes from - it's not automatically suspect when a case study comes from a vendor. Too often, we don't to basic levels of disclosure, so just need some disclosure rules about who's putting information up. Wikipedia has an elaborate set of rules, guidelines and policies which have emerged over time. Not sure what they set of ground rules is needed, but we'll come up with them over time. He volunteers to participate in this effort, what we need is a couple of technologists or vendors to provide environment; perhaps a wiki. Then everyone else throws information up, and structure will emerge over time, as will groundrules, but it would be an invaluable resource for all of us if there's a repository were we can point decision makers to so they can find valuable information.
McAfee put out the call for contribution today:
If you know of an E2.0 case study, please enter any and all details. We don't care if you were directly involved in the project or not, got paid for it or not, etc. We simply ask that you be as honest and forthcoming as possible, cite sources where available, and disclose your relationship(s) to the companies involved.
This last point is critical. It's fine for a vendor or consultant to add information about one of their cases, and it's fine if that information is not verifiable from objective and/or published sources. It's essential, though, that contributors correctly and completely identify themselves and their relationships so that readers have the information necessary to make their own judgments about possible biases.