Social Network Analysis and KM - Who is Using It? #SNA-ONA-VNA


patti@...
 

Hi, all,


Social/organizational network analysis (SNA/ONA) has always been a "hard sell," and has not taken off to the extent that many of us thought and hoped 15 years ago. Gartner has just published a market guide to SNA vendors (https://www.gartner.com/doc/3104139?srcId=1-2819006590&pcp=itg). The guide is very pricey, but you can see on the linked page the vendors that it has profiled. 


I also maintain a short list of SNA/ONA tools and try to check out new tools that become available. There is some overlap with the Gartner list.


A question that one of my clients has asked me to research, and that I would love to hear from SIKM community on, is "To what  extent is network analysis actually being used in a knowledge management context?" 


How many of you have done projects in the past? Is anyone using it on a regular basis as part of KM assessment or strategy? In what contexts? Would love to hear that there is a lot going on under the radar, but also love to know what has impeded the uptake of the method.



thanks,


/patti

 


John Hovell <jhovell@...>
 

It was a tough sell for years, but it's increased in value and demand at BAE Systems in the past 12 months. Looking back, there were two key projects that demonstrated success from the approach. One was a "simple" office move and the other project was a major business transformation in one of our businesses. 

The office move was part of a strategic shift from a decentralized HR function to a shared services HR model. Funny enough, the vendor supporting the move showed a network map and didn't explain it (it was basically just a graphic on a ppt slide). That unexplained graphic created intrigue so I simply offered to explain it and run the effort to create it in our situation. The physical office changed from "corner offices" and 4 walls in every office to an open layout (almost hotdesks) where the entire floor of the building could see each other. As a baby step toward hotdesks, they wanted to assign workspaces to people and they wanted to "try something different". As opposed to sitting each of the departments together, they thought the ONA would depict a way to physically sit networks together. Actually, I remember a fun meeting where we discussed purposefully sitting people in the exact opposite formation of the natural network in the hopes of increasing collaboration and networking. Bottom line, it worked, the people loved sitting in a slightly different layout and it made it easier to know what each other were working on. Don't get me wrong, there were complaints about the model/layout too, but overall it seemed to work.

At almost the same time, a large part of the business was transforming. They wanted to find their "natural change agents" to help fundamentally shift the business. In other words, they wanted to include the biggest influencers in all the meetings and try to make it as inclusive and transparent as possible. We ran an ONA across the business (took forever!) and formed change agent teams from the central connectors. Funny, those teams were so connected and influential that people started to ask if they could also be included! So it was a success and the transformation worked well (although it's only been a year, maybe too early to tell?)...and of course the ONA was only a piece of the transformation effort.

Sorry, one last example, as we deal with growing numbers of retirements, we use ONAs to initially determine who to invite to what we call our "knowledge transfer process" (it's the 4 step process you may recall from talks at APQC and SIKM). Similar result, by starting with that map, people like to be invited to those teams and success ensues.

I realise we're using ONA in slightly strange ways. I guess it's an attempt to meet the organisation where they're ready to try it. If we continue efforts such as succession planning and employee engagement, I hope to see a bit more ONA applied there as well - let alone VNA! :)

Best, hope that helps,
John


On 31 Aug 2015, at 16:39, patti@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:

 

Hi, all,


Social/organizational network analysis (SNA/ONA) has always been a "hard sell," and has not taken off to the extent that many of us thought and hoped 15 years ago. Gartner has just published a market guide to SNA vendors (https://www.gartner.com/doc/3104139?srcId=1-2819006590&pcp=itg). The guide is very pricey, but you can see on the linked page the vendors that it has profiled. 


I also maintain a short list of SNA/ONA tools and try to check out new tools that become available. There is some overlap with the Gartner list.


A question that one of my clients has asked me to research, and that I would love to hear from SIKM community on, is "To what  extent is network analysis actually being used in a knowledge management context?" 


How many of you have done projects in the past? Is anyone using it on a regular basis as part of KM assessment or strategy? In what contexts? Would love to hear that there is a lot going on under the radar, but also love to know what has impeded the uptake of the method.



thanks,


/patti

 


Chris Collison <chris@...>
 

Hi Patti,

Yes, I’ve used it with six different clients on ten KM-related projects over the past 7 years, but always on a relatively small scale (<500 people). The project have been mostly looking at diagnosing the effectiveness of communities of practice, the level or integration and the spread of expertise in functional groups after mergers/acquisitions, and the knowledge-sharing interactions of medium-sized companies and projecting forward where there are knowledge retention risks. In most cases, it usually amounts to a 5-10 day assignment. I still think it’s an underrated KM tool.

I use Cyram’s Netminer, which gives a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to visualisation, although outputting scalable, shareable graphics is a bit of a convoluted.

I have found that ‘selling’ the concept is easy when you discuss the output and the way it could inform decisions.  The bump in the road is usually the survey process, with clients sometimes raising concerns about just how to negotiate that ‘ten minutes of your time' from a representative sample without becoming an irritant. With the right sponsorship and engagement and a well-designed survey (I use Optimice’s ONASurveys tool) getting to 70%+ response rates is definitely achievable, and that is more than enough for a valid analysis because of the reciprocal nature of the data.

Patti – I’ve found your four-part Inside Knowledge series a really helpful primer for clients looking for a solid grounding – so thank you for writing that!
Cheers,
Chris

 

Chris Collison, Director & Founder,  Knowledgeable Ltd.

 Consultancy        Strategic Advice        Training
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From: <sikmleaders@...> on behalf of "patti@... [sikmleaders]" <sikmleaders@...>
Reply-To: <sikmleaders@...>
Date: Monday, 31 August 2015 at 16:39
To: <sikmleaders@...>
Subject: [sikmleaders] Social Network Analysis and KM - Who is Using It?

Hi, all,


Social/organizational network analysis (SNA/ONA) has always been a "hard sell," and has not taken off to the extent that many of us thought and hoped 15 years ago. Gartner has just published a market guide to SNA vendors (https://www.gartner.com/doc/3104139?srcId=1-2819006590&pcp=itg). The guide is very pricey, but you can see on the linked page the vendors that it has profiled. 


I also maintain a short list of SNA/ONA tools and try to check out new tools that become available. There is some overlap with the Gartner list.


A question that one of my clients has asked me to research, and that I would love to hear from SIKM community on, is "To what  extent is network analysis actually being used in a knowledge management context?" 


How many of you have done projects in the past? Is anyone using it on a regular basis as part of KM assessment or strategy? In what contexts? Would love to hear that there is a lot going on under the radar, but also love to know what has impeded the uptake of the method.



thanks,


/patti

 


andrewmuras
 

As John mentioned, we've used SNA/ONA at BAE Systems for several studies, and we've recently been asked to look at a couple of other uses.  Primarily in using our corporate network data (email/Lync/SharePoint) for two purposes: (1) locating experts/expertise for specific and more detailed topics based on key words/data mining and (2) developing personal network assessments  (i.e., personal SNA/ONA) for coaching our managers and leaders.  Would anyone have experience in any of these two areas and be willing to share ideas and techniques?  Thank You.
Andrew Muras