Even though there is a growing amount of information on the web on enterprise social computing a concise guide for executives is needed to outline the benefits and challenges of deploying it to your business.
What is Enterprise Social Networking?
Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) is a set of tools and behaviors that promote open conversations within an organization to achieve business objectives. This leads to more engaged employees, increased innovation and faster business outcomes. It is also commonly known as; Enterprise 2.0 & and Social Business.
ESNs can be externally facing for customers, partners, suppliers (or any group you communicate outside of your company) or internally facing for employees to work together.
Before embarking on Enterprise Social Networking, companies must provide the following table stakes for the organization in order to realize a sustainable success:
I’ve been around Enterprise 2.0 (or Social Business) for more than 3 yrs now. Since going to my first Enterprise 2.0 conference in 2008, I have been fortunate to be part of one of the most successful deployments of social technology in a large company (Computer World) to date. The approach was not filled with business cases and justification, but instead was largely fed by need and opportunity.
As I work with more organizations, I realize that a common trend is emerging. There is a group of people in the company that are generally not convinced that the social enterprise is the next best thing; Middle Management. While many other parts of the organization have been addressed by practitioners, this audience remains mostly ignored, with many feeling that they’ll just come along if everyone else does.
It seems that many in the Enterprise 2.0/Social Business vendors have identified that the way to make a project successful is to not just focus on deploying a solution, but focusing on adoption. After all, who hasn’t been handed the keys of your shiny new tool by IT and been told, “Here it is, good luck!” only to be scratching your head wondering where to start? Unfortunately, many of these companies charge extra to help customers adopt their software.
Social may be a 4 letter word in some companies, but I have to wonder why? Social is nothing new to enterprises, the only thing is we are now labeling it.
In the “Old Days”, companies encouraged their workers to socialize and party together. Sometimes even going so far to build communities for their workers to live in. Why did they do this? For the company of course. The feeling was that this interaction made people work better together producing more, generating more profit, building loyalty.
A more recent trend was to replace offices with cubes. While some would state that the purpose was to reduce cost of real estate, others suggest that this was done to encourage casual knowledge exchange. While I personally didn’t like the distractions of a cube, the things I heard over cube walls helped me on many occasions.