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Editor's Note: In their new book "Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business," Forrester Research analysts Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler describe "highly empowered resourceful operatives," or HEROes, who are reinventing how some organizations do business. In this two-part excerpt, they describe how companies can support their HEROes to improve information flow and collaboration-which are, of course, crucial elements in BPM projects. Here, in Part I, they discuss two human-centric initiatives: cross-functional councils and collaboration programs.

At Forrester, we work with IT professionals who are supporting HERO projects all the time. Based on these conversations, we have identified four initiatives that organizations can take to support HEROes:

1. Create a cross-functional council to manage groundswell technologies.
2. Manage collaboration programs as part of the Information Workplace.
3. Research and implement technologies that anchor HERO solutions.
4. Build a portfolio of cloud services to accelerate HERO projects.

In Part I of this series, we'll look at the first two initiatives in detail.

Create a cross-functional council

To manage the do-it-yourself technology that employees are using, IT should charter a new team of IT, business managers and HEROes as a cross-function groundswell technology council. This team tracks and recommends technologies that employees are harnessing for work. The council's purpose is tracking and recommending groundswell technologies that the company can support and HEROes can adopt.

Examples of this idea include Manish Mehta's social strategy council at Dell, Michiel Boreel's TeamPark collaboration platform at Sogeti, and United Business Media's collaboration program. We've seen customers in the defense, consumer products, insurance and life sciences industries use councils to analyze and select mobile and social technologies based on employee demand. The council basically helps the company and the workers to see where the promising technologies are and how to support them.

For example, Dave Diedrich is vice president of technology, security, and workplace services and a 25-year veteran at Kraft Foods. Dave started down the path to create a groundswell technology council when he decided to give employees their choice of smart phones and PDAs. In his words, "We set out to see how we as an IT group could help Kraft Foods change the culture and contemporize the brand for employees."


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