Many organisations are beginning to introduce enterprise social collaboration platforms (aka social intranets) to provide an internal collaborative working infrastructure in order to power the work.
These platforms include many of the familiar features of public social media tools that individuals have become used to in their personal lives (see diagram to the right).
- proprietary tools as replacements for their intranets, eg. Jive and Podio (Citrix’s new platform), or
- adding a social layer to their existing intranet platform, like Sharepoint.others are using tools like Yammer and Socialcast, or
- using open source tools to building their own platforms using tools like Buddypress built on the WordPress platform, or Elgg.
These platforms are also very appropriate to underpin the social learning and collaboration activities across the continuum (see left) since the emphasis is on enabling social interaction and knowledge sharing – rather than “managing learning” or providing a dumping ground for e-learning content. (See Using a collaborative platform for brilliant learning, Jane Hart, Learning in the Social Workplace, 25 June 2012)
Although enterprise social collaboration platforms don’t tend to include instructional functionality (tracking, etc) by default, some do have plug-in modules, but as the success of learning becomes focused on performance improvements (rather than on learning activity), then the requirement for dedicated instructional systems will diminish.
In fact in the future it is likely we won’t see separate systems for learning and working, but that where any LMS functionality is required to track compliance or regulatory training, then this will be embedded within such a collaboration platform. Collaboration systems will also easily interface with public Social Web – since it won’t be a matter of either/or systems – but both/and. In other words we will move from “learning technologies” to “social technologies”.
- » From learning technologies to social technologies, Jane Hart, 14 June 2012
Note: so-called “Social Learning” platforms (which are in effect Social Training platforms/INSTRUCTIONAL technologies a- where the focus is on tracking and managing learning – are not the same as, nor appropriate as, enterprise collaboration platforms.
Selected quotes from selected reading
Articles show the value and importance of social collaboration tools in organizations
- Social Collaboration Tools Can Make Your Business More Efficient - Mashable, 7 September 2012
“Social collaboration software has potential to enhance communications both with employees and customers. As we all know, having an effective communication strategy translates into employee productivity and a better customer experience. Identifying the right social collaboration platform and devoting time on the front end will make the effort successful. It’s this kind of investment that could yield significant results for the company in profits.”
- How Collaborative Tools Can Lead to Organisational Efficiency – Michael Sampson, 6 September 2012
“Efficiency at the organisational level is really difficult to measure, particularly if you want to trace that back to specific collaborative initiatives. There’s too many intervening variables and competing agendas to prove a conclusive link, and it’s also a very dis-empowering concept because it’s much bigger than what any one individual or small group can pull off. What is empowering, however, and what can be achieved by individuals and small groups is an intense focus on maximising their efficiency through collaborative tools. As a small group, make the decision to forgo travel for some / many / most of your meetings, replacing meetings with conference calls, screen sharing, or video meetings. Embrace the new collaborative tools for working on documents together (instead of email), and make use of new automated workflow processes that eliminate time-consuming manual processing steps. Small changes in how you act as an individual or small group, done repeatedly, can have a big efficiency impact over time.”
- The $1.3 Trillion Price Of Not Tweeting At Work – Fast Company
“Savings comes from some unexpected places. Two-thirds of the value unlocked by social media rests in “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises,” according to the report. Far from a distraction, in other words, social media proves a surprising boon to productivity … Social technologies have the potential to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. High-skill workers can now be tapped company-wide. Managers can find out “which employees have the deepest knowledge in certain subjects, or who last contributed to a project and how to get in touch with them quickly,” says New York Times tech reporter Quentin Hardy. Just cutting email out of the picture in favor of social sharing translates to a productivity windfall as “more enterprise information becomes accessible and searchable, rather than locked up as ‘dark matter’ in inboxes.”
“Organizations that haven’t adopted such tools are now in the minority says Guthrie. “One of the reasons why employers and workers are using social networks in the office is, in large part, because these channels are increasingly becoming a routine part of how work gets done. There are many advantages to being socially “connected” in the workplace. Well-connected employees are more productive, and instant messaging tools and intranets can help to increase the productivity by which they connect and collaborate,” she says.”
- Social Media’s Productivity Payoff – HBR Blog, 22 August 2012
“Companies are beginning to discover that social technology platforms provide a far more efficient way of communicating and collaborating. And, they give companies a way to dig out the “dark matter” of company knowledge that is buried in email inboxes and on hard drives. Unlike email, messages on social platforms are accessible to the entire team in real time, eliminating all the to-ing and fro-ing to get everybody on the same page. Even better, on social platforms, communications become content — forming a searchable archive that can be continually enriched with comments and additions by members of the online community.”
- Build a private social network that employees will actually use – Computer World, 29 July 2012
“The companies we spoke to have found that their internal social networks provide multiple benefits, including giving employees a stronger voice, helping them pool and share information, and strengthening company culture.”
- Breaking Down Knowledge Silos with the Social Layer - CMS Wire, 5 July 2012
“The idea behind the social layer is simple: social software should be a layer in your enterprise architecture that surfaces the events of a company’s systems of record and enable employees to collaborate and take action on information in real-time. This social layer will span across all employees and throughout organizational boundaries, connecting them to key enterprise applications.”
- Adoption of Social Enterprise Software Is Booming – IDC Report - CMS Wire, 3 July 2012
“Adoption of social enterprise software will grow rapidly over the next few years. That’s a key takeaway from a new report byInternational Data Corporation (IDC) on the dramatic rise of enterprise-oriented social networking applications.”
- Making Organizational Networks a Force for Learning & Innovation - Business2Community, 1 July 2012
“To make informal networks a force for institutional learning and innovation, we must get beyond the idea that network creation is finding each other in the virtual hallways of social media. We need to bring focus to our networks, identify the value we wish to mine from them, align around that imperative, and then take joint action to pilot and perfect new products and services.”
- Two in three employees want social collaboration tools to stay productive - HR Review, 23 June 2012
“Survey results released today from Telligent,find that 74% of UK employees say a social collaboration platform would be valuable for using in workplace communications; yet 79% of workplaces do not provide such tools, based on a survey of 1,000 UK employees, conducted by Redshift Research. The survey found that 62% of employees report regularly working with team members remotely or in different locations.”
- Social Intranets: Evolution or Revolution? - TechBubble, 6 June 2012
“Organisations are unsure about the implications and sceptical about the new trend. Traditionally-run companies wish to improve employee engagement and participation but see social media adoption as relinquishing control. Some organisations with a “conventional” intranet run a social platform on the side that aims to socially engage employees and facilitate collaboration. Innovation enthusiasts see social intranets as the way forward and want to unify company intranets and social platforms but struggle to match existing business problems to the correct social tool that might solve them.”
- 10 ways a social intranet can help you cut down on email - Alexis Rodrigo, Business2Community, 22 May 2012
“Social intranets benefit the enterprise by facilitating communication. The ability to connect with others through the intranet reduces our reliance on email which tends to be slower and less effective than tools like instant messaging and microblogs. Besides, we lose a significant amount of time and productivity every day, because we have to process so much email.”
- Welcome to the Social media revolution – BBC News, 11 May 2012
“Work itself is fundamentally social, so why can’t our business apps be social, as collaborative as Facebook, as transparent as Twitter, and as engaging as Zynga’s social games? Managing and motivating employees is maybe the most important job for a management team. Yet today’s HR systems were built with a command-and-control framework of the past. They don’t represent how today’s workforce wants to be managed.”
- Social intranets are on the rise – Joel Selzer, Social Enterprise Today, 28 April 2012
“… the new consolidated company required a new, modern interactive intranet portal to facilitate collaboration and interaction with a highly social, enterprise 2.0 focus. With social in mind, the project team looked to external social media to influence and shape the collaboration functionality, namely: Facebook, VKontakte, LinkedIn, and Google +.”
- 6 use cases for enterprise micro-blogging, Dan Pontefract, 19 March 2012
“2 – I’ve got something to share: Putting paper notices on the bulletin board is nice. Sending an email to a distribution list attaching a PDF article is thoughtful. Leaving a voicemail about a new book to read is cute. But, these are all walled garden approaches to sharing. By sharing a link, an article, a document, a video or a photo via a micro-blogging platform, you are a) sharing one-to-many, b) ensuring it can be searched (and found) by others and c) adding to the collective intelligence of the organization.”