It’s going to have to happen much the same way it did here at Sun: your CEO or COO or whatever is going to have to say Make it happen! and then you work out the details while you’re doing it.
While this seems to fly in the face of many current views that a grass-roots, bottom-up approach is the real driver for kick-starting blogs in companies, Tim's view simply highlights a certain reality in how many things work in organizations.
In nearly every conversation and discussion I've had with companies over the past few months about corporate blogging, especially internally, the biggest hurdle to jump over is: How do we actually make this happen? The discussion then proceeds along the route of identifying all the people and groups who would need to be involved in a typical approval process.
Tim sums it all up quite nicely:
[..] Sign-off from this steering committee, that EVP, and a couple of different legal groups. [..] Practically speaking, it would take an awfully long time and quite probably never happen.
That might seem a depressing view but it's certainly a realistic one in many companies. Like any business tool, you still have to make the business case for the measurable benefits internal blogs are intended to provide and get commitments, buy-ins and approvals from everyone who has a stake in the outcome. (How to build the business case will be an element of the "Using Weblogs, Wikis and RSS to Enhance Employee Engagement" workshop I'll be presenting at the New Communications Forum 2005 in January and February.)
Whether internal or external, blogs as a business tool are still in the early adopter stage as far as universal corporate use is concerned. We're nowhere yet close to the vision Charlene Li at Forrester Research sees:
Forrester envisions a day when new employees on their first day will be handed a sheet of paper with their phone number, email address - and a URL for their blog. The company would give all of its employees a personal internal blog where they could provide project updates, trip reports, and market intelligence - anything that they think others should know about the work that they are doing. This information could then be tied into the company's VoIP phone system - for internal calls, the caller's photo, title, bio, and a link to his blog would appear on the computer screen. The blog content would give context and background for the call, making it unnecessary to send extra emails or to have extensive discussions about a project.
Be thankful that we have wholly committed early adopters like Microsoft and Sun, key influencers like Forrester (and Jupiter, for that matter), plus the many blogger evangelists, all of whose conversations, discussions and sheer pushing will help build the foundations where such a vision can become a business reality.