Enterprise Social Tools – A How-To Guide

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Owner of this photo is Flickr user Matt Doucette. Original location of the image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdoucette/3221661646/
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A tool’s ability is only limited by its users skills. And an enterprise designed social solution is no exception to the rule. Conventional management methods are becoming worn-out and the modern workflows now ask for new collaborative tools.

You don’t improve internal processes just by purchasing a social software. Not using it correctly may bring out new concerns within your company, thus creating a hostile work environment. So we thought about assembling a light how-to guide about getting the best from your Enterprise 2.0 solution, by simply paying some extra attention to the following roles of your social tool:

  • Reassuring the management. Your social software it is primarily created for management purposes. This means that it has to offer reliable reports about employee activity and measure parameters related to your company’s culture. Note in the same time that it won’t do everything! Remember that its role is not to replace, but to improve existing management processes, to add value and discover new potential in it.
  • Time and effort saving. Make sure the processes it uses are set so that it won’t overload users with tasks. User experience is the element that influences the most the adoption rate among employees. If your software doesn’t have the power to engage employees, you don’t have a social tool.
  • Information reusability. One of the most important benefits of Enterprise 2.0 is given by its crowdsourcing character. Knowledge sharing to and from a wider audience brings community value and a specific purpose. The key of turning this into pure gold is by offering all the users the possibility of consuming it. I.e. the system you picked has to feature storing functions and an easy accessible search option. This will turn out especially useful for new members and will educate users into sharing relevant content.
  • Progress stimulation. And by that I mean users personal progress. The information accumulated has to deliver value on the spot. An efficient social tool has to induce not only collaboration, but also competition. The new implemented system has to encourage collaborative practices and shared success, but also help users to express themselves as individuals and offer them the acknowledgement of being useful. And what better job for gamification? Carefully deign the game dynamics in order to offer the incentives that lead users in the appropriate direction!
  • Proficiency revealing. Choose administrators that also have trendsetters abilities. And no, we’re not talking about fashion. It’s about setting the right tone for the information sharing you’re endorsing. Remember it has to stay knowledge focused, so try to keep it as byte sized as possible. The documentation and information following these social actions has to be easily assimilated and updated. It’s about getting rid of volumes in favor of practical processes.

Engaging employees, enabling them to share their implicit knowledge and creating the social context for these actions to take place translates as management evolution. The emergence of Enterprise 2.0 was triggered by the lack of these factors in the traditional systems and the sooner companies will embrace it, the sooner you’ll be able to measure your ROI.

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