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Category: Chris McGrath

Best Enterprise 2.0 Launch Ever? Penn State’s ThoughtFarmer Roll-out

Penn State Logo [Editor's note – we don't often post company-written case studies on One Degree, because most of the ones we get are vague, self-congratulatory and don't provide useful insights. But this case study from ThoughtFarmer, an intranet software development company in Nelson Vancouver, BC, rocked our socks.]

There seems to be two ways that social software enters an organization: bottom-up, or top-down.

Bottom-up might mean employees using Google Docs to share files, Twitter to communicate status and PBWiki to collaborate on documents. It starts small and spreads in an organic, patch-work fashion.

If you’re managing the introduction of enterprise social software at your organization, bottom-up doesn’t work. Bottom-up can’t be managed. And bottom-up happens at its own speed, which doesn’t work when you have deadlines.

So you’ve got to go with top-down. A planned roll-out. An orchestrated launch. And I have never, ever come across an enterprise social software launch as fast, well-orchestrated and effective as the one Penn State Outreach did last week.

Purchase order to 1500-user launch in 7 weeks — including Christmas break

While I was in the front room finalizing contracts with Penn State Purchasing, Bevin Hernandez, the intranet project manager, was already in the back room working on the launch timeline.

Our.outreach timeline

Planning the intranet launch

They set a hard launch date of January 29th, just 7 weeks away, with a Christmas break in between. This would be a very public launch — they asked all 1500 staff to keep the day free for something very big and very mysterious.

Outreach postcard

Outreach postcard - back

Mysterious postcard asking people to block out the intranet launch date on their calendars.