One of the phrases that sticks in my mind from the Internal Communications panel session at Social Media World Forum was from Andrew Barendrecht. Andrew talked about social in a business as a “Structured Revolution”. As a Collaboration Strategist at Apache Corp, he is introducing social technologies to solve some of the problems with transfer of knowledge and expertise in the Oil and Gas Industry.

We’re used to hearing people describing social as revolutionary, but I agree with Andrew that if you are focusing on solving a real business problem you need to have some structure to it.

The implementation approach that Andrew advocated is a good one. He approached it as a grass roots implementation, focused on getting middle management buy-in first. Soon there were success stories demonstrating how socially enabled collaboration was shaving (very) valuable time from  Oil & Gas exploration & drilling projects. At that point, “Exec level” buy in became a no-brainer.

We see the same pattern with companies adopting SocialOptic’s collaboration technologies. Milestone Planner is a tool which helps collaborative organisations manage the complex, ever changing network of commitments between individuals. Our most successful customers typically follow a similar pattern to Andrew’s. A small group start using Milestone Planner, which then spreads through the business. It’s a cost effective way to try it out and build some hard evidence around how clearer management of commitments and deadlines drives better business execution. More about that very soon.