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The New World of Social Media
Enterprise 2.0 in Action

This article is part of the Best Practices White Paper Enterprise Social Networking & Collaboration [July/August 2009]
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The world of work is changing. Disruptive forces are at play in business and are compelling organizations to rethink traditional content communication and the way we define an information worker. We must address these disruptive forces to stay competitive, deliver services, manage risk and costs and protect the corporate memory resident in employees and applications.

A more social workplace and marketplace raises productivity even as resources become scarce; it taps into the collected intelligence across employees, customers and other external stakeholders; it opens the door to mentorship and knowledge sharing to information workers who are not traditional desktop PC users; and it connects people to the content and processes they need to get their jobs done.

Setting and communicating goals and measurable objectives for an Enterprise 2.0 initiative is critical to successful implementation and for navigating change management challenges. What are the business objectives of the project? What engagement levels are expected and achievable? Where do you start? Identify tangible business objectives with measurable and meaningful milestones, include participants from a variety of job levels to test and pilot solutions, consider risk and compliance issues proactively and ensure business managers are supportive of goals and targets... these are the keys to success.

Why Enterprise 2.0?
Enterprise 2.0 allows organizations to adapt the innovations of Web 2.0 to meet business objectives. It facilitates cooperation among information workers, provides a secure and managed collaborative environment for content creators and producers and helps orchestrate your people, processes and content to achieve strategic success.

Organizations are recognizing that they need to innovate to thrive. But disruptive forces are at play, and business and government are under pressure to reduce costs and freeze or reduce workforces while delivering the same quality of product or service. Technology can facilitate this new productivity imperative. Delivery of the social workplace and social marketplace while meeting social compliance objectives is the end goal of an Enterprise 2.0 strategy.

The "social workplace" is an ideal expression of Web 2.0 technologies to connect people with their peers and with critical content and information. Culturally, it helps break down hierarchical and administrative barriers to innovation and idea exchange among rank and file employees. Technologically, it introduces simpler content creation and communication tools and uses the Web to bridge geographical and generational gaps.

The "social marketplace" recognizes that the Web has opened up conversations among and between customers, prospects, employees, citizens and external trusted advisors. Business is increasingly done based on peer-to-peer or word-of-mouth recommendations. Content and information can flow unimpeded out to a diverse audience who can consume the personalized data as needed and then offer rapid and simple feedback and commentary to the enterprise.

"Social compliance" is a necessary consideration for organizations that recognize the value of the social workplace and social marketplace but need to balance the risks inherent in opening new channels of peer-to-peer and frontline-to-client communication. Traditional compliance pressures are reactive—records retention mandates and restrictive access to content are often driven by external regulations. Social compliance ensures proactive prevention of unauthorized information exchange as communication channels become more transparent.

Achieving Objectives
Accelerate employee engagement and productivity.
Employees that use technology to strengthen their internal social and expert networks can respond quickly to demands and opportunities. These tools make collaboration and information access easy and intuitive, allow streamlining of routine tasks that free information workers to focus on more complex and challenging tasks.

Protect and value corporate memory. Preserving corporate memory—the content, context and discussion that led to decisions and actions—is essential for continuity of operations, consistency of goals, archival preservation and education of employees. Capture of content, however, is not sufficient. Allowing people to share, reuse and learn from this collected knowledge contributes to productivity and accurate information disclosure.

Develop trusted relationships. Trust occurs when we become aware of the expertise, experience and track-record that surround people as nodes in that network. Trust in the sources of knowledge greatly affects the decision to subscribe to, use and communicate information.

Educate and enable channels. The most critical battles are won by those organizations that can deliver knowledge and insight to partners, customers and prospects at precisely the right moment. This builds loyalty, engagement and ultimately revenue opportunities.

Reach out to new markets. Customers can be the voice of your success. An organization can spend millions of dollars on brand awareness or it can let the brand speak for itself through the positive communication across existing ecosystems. Embracing social media, cultivating effective online engagement and delivering superior customer experiences will result in new business opportunities.

The Social Workplace
Employees who actively share their knowledge emerge as experts, and companies that encourage employees to share their expertise build stronger peer-to-peer networks, accelerating internal productivity gains.

Organizations that provide simple, interactive, personalized community tools can achieve measurable positive results with a social workplace: attraction, retention and management of talent; transparency in the corporate governance and communication of disclosure rules; accurate and timely enablement of frontline staff; enablement of the more virtual enterprise; and respect and protection of corporate memory.

Managing human capital. Collaborative tools, skills and learning management, expert finders, employee on-boarding and mentorship, alumni networks, succession planning and career development — these are key to an organization’s ability to attract, maintain and cultivate a talented employee base.

Self-service and peer-to-peer empowerment. As companies downsize, right-size,reorganize, merge, acquire or go global, complexities compound, and productivity and a sense of accomplishment suffers. Disengagement sets in. Organizations that strive to build a social workplace make effective use of simple and intuitive content-creation tools suited to team environments. Measurable productivity gains, reduced search times and efficient reuse of shared content are demonstrated with Web-based authoring tools for FAQs, site-visit notes, project knowledgebases, product documentation or meeting notes. Easy location of in-house experts, regardless of level or role, becomes a natural part of internal knowledge discovery.

Transparency and corporate governance. The social workplace allows corporate management to communicate with employees about shared objectives, strategy, values and culture. Knowledge sharing and more transparent collaborative tools allow for broader perspectives and internal expertise to voice concerns on patterns of risk or incorrect assumptions.

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