By adaptive - June 17th, 2014

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Using the principles that have made social media such a success within a corporate structure ensures business stay relevant and profitable

Think about how information is used across your organisation. The use of Intranets to open – to a degree at least – the data silos that exist in all large enterprises have until now been the only way to leverage this information. With the advent of social media and the clear propensity to share and engage with content and its creators, has meant the Intranet has had to evolve. Today savvy corporations need to be developing enterprise social networking to unlock the commercial potential that is latent within their businesses.

BrightStarr have looked closely at the enterprise social network and conclude: “In businesses that rely on knowledge there is a problem with there being so much digital information now that knowledge does not get passed between people effectively, and this means the business loses out commercially. The problem of growing digital information isn't new; solutions such as Intranets have been working to tackle this for some time. Enterprise Social Networks are a new tool in the kit, which comes at the problem from a different angle.

“Rather than formal, top-down organization of information, these tools allow the employees to organize themselves and communicate in less formal, more flexible means. Like systems such as Facebook and LinkedIn, employees create profiles and list details about themselves, this then makes it easier for other employees to find them by skill or responsibility, or business unit. Connections are made between people with them starting interest/project groups, and conversations over messaging functionality, allowing peers to communicate in the same way they would in person.”

Will Saville, CEO of BrightStarr explained that both of these objections can be overcome with education: "Privacy and governance issues with open, user-empowering technologies like enterprise social are a concern for management, but in reality they can be easily overcome with putting sensible precautions and a solid governance plan in place. We find that news stories about public social media misuse can unfairly bias thinking about enterprise social media. Once our consultants have explained appropriate governance the objections disappear."

There are however financial constraints on businesses implementing these systems. The IT professionals survey showed that 35% had budget restrictions stopping their internal social networking implementation and 40% were struggling to develop models to show ROI from the technology. With businesses still under cost pressures after recent tough economic times the predominantly qualitative benefits of enterprise social media are difficult to formulate into a quantitative financial justification.

What price can you put on being able to develop a relationship with a colleague that generates a new product idea, or being able to find the right people to form a team to solve a problem? It may be that we have to wait a few years to see how the stock of the early adopters of the technology perform compared to their laggard peers, but even then will the cause and effect be clear?

The research they conducted, BrightStarr concludes with 11 drivers behind the development of enterprise social media:

  1. Improves communication between geographically disparate employees.
  2. Increases ease of knowledge transfer within the organization.
  3. Promotes innovation through quick and simple focused project/interest groups.
  4. Helps people find each other by name and skillset.
  5. Breaks down barriers between organizational units.
  6. Provides a forum for employee feedback and highlighting excellence.
  7. Reduces mailbox overload.
  8. Gives leadership teams a pulse on the business via views and hot topics.
  9. As an on-boarding tool for new employees.
  10. Improves internal communication and allow the sharing of relevant industry and professional news.
  11. Connects with external partners and clients securely and easily without major structural IT changes (applies to Yammer External Networks).

Enterprise Social Networking

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