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What's the key to assuring 'social' delivers business collaboration?

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Pieter van Schalkwyk wrote in this forum: "We find that there is a big misconception on the difference between socialization and collaboration. They are marketed under the same new tag as 'social' is cool. We find that businesses want collaboration, not socialization and it needs to be in the context of the work that is done." So how do you make sure social tools deliver collaboration?

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  • I think the key for business collaboration is to get employees to use it instead of email. This requires that social collaboration is easy accessible and anyone can participate. A collaboration space where people can discuss, share content and have access to processes is a lot easier to get everyone on the same page and stay in sync.

    Following people similar to facebook and twitter is a totally different aspect of social. The main purpose is to ensure people are more aware about what's going on in the organisation. But be careful this can be a double edge sword. Drivers can get extra status and motivation out of it, but people followers (people not taking much initiative) can get demotivated.

  • I currently use Yammer within a 30k people company. It is driving collaboration very well indeed! New employees as well as experienced ones can discover each other based on interests or some current problem they are facing and cannot get answers easily! Tom is very right above! Some individuals can dominate and direct conversations! But overall it is very useful!

  • I would suggest that the key to assuring 'social' delivers genuine business collaboration is that the social 'stream' is integral to and intertwined with, the operational business processes. Tools such as Yammer, Socialcast etc, simply provide a social stream that runs alongside the organisations processes and they will remain simply 'social', as they do not address the requirements of enterprise work; namely traceability and accountability.

  • This question is being asked a lot these days, which is great. In my experience, a number of things can be done:

    - Stand alone enterprise social networks seem to be on the wane. Enterprise social networks need to be linked to other productivity and collaboration apps (document management, scheduling, project management).

    - Resistance to change is an organizational reality. You have to put a change management plan in place to curb it - training, internal marketing, incentives etc.

    - An internal social network devoid of context is unlikely to work in many companies. It's important to work it into company processes.

    Pankaj
    http://www.hyperoffice.com

  • Sorry, was banging my head on my desk, what's the question again?

    Seriously, whatever happened to wandering over to someone's cube, having a chat, picking up the phone, doing a town hall?

    • If I'm onsite with a team and I want information from one of the team's members, I do what you have suggested -- walk over to his/her cubicle. Although, what happens more often than not is that I want to talk with someone who is on another team in another location. Usually the purpose is to connect my team member with the other person so that they may collaborate.

      Most folks, ours included, are so busy that they rarely have time to "socialize" or "collaborate" with others. Many times what is necessary is a person who is willing to function as a "connection hub." This is one of the responsibilities of our PM's and program managers.

  • The key is not letting the tail wag the dog. Collaboration ≠ social. The value of collaboration in the enterprise is obvious. Social is an interesting phenomenon, explosive in the consumer space. But its role in the corporate space is still uncertain.

    The primary role of social with respect to BPM is its ability to engage customers and embrace them as part of our business processes. Using social within the confines of an organization may have value, but the concept really remains to be proven.

  • It is not as simple as "Business want collaboration not Socialization". The differntiation between these concepts is not aleays clear. Socialization could have Business Value. The customer, could prefer your business because of Socialization. Collaboration could be improved, as a by product of Socialization. It could be valueless in Business terms.
    In summary: Being a Social Business could include Business Value Proposition. However, it is a long journey.

    Read my post: SOA and Social Business http://avirosenthal.blogspot.co.il/2011/12/soa-and-social-business.html

  • The question started with a statement that there is a misconception on the difference between social and collaboration. The two are not the same as Scott rightly pointed out. Both have it’s place and right now the term “social” is trending and is “cool”.

    Social tools like Yammer are great to keep people informed and updated but it is a subscription model almost like RSS feeds a few years ago. (Do you still read all your RSS feeds?).

    In our work with business and IT folk around business processes, we find that their requirements are around collaboration. They want conversations around processes and transactions to be captured in the visible audit trail of that process.

    CIOs find themselves under increasing pressure to support “social business” alongside mobility, big data & cloud. Working with them on the real business requirements we find that the real requirement is to manage the unstructured content and information in the collaboration between people.

    I agree that the best approach is to walk over to someone’s booth, discuss a topic and decide on a course of action. What happens 99% of the time at the moment is that people break out into email and the collaboration never gets captured in the context of the process.

    Social tools and networking has it place in organizations but our experience shows that the real business process requirements are mostly collaborative and done as part of work. It is not something I subscribe to and will read when I get a chance.

    It is important to differentiate between the two and decide what is right for your organization.

    I’ve created a short paper on this topic. 3 Myths of Social Work.

  • Jon Ryder answered most clearly. As IT practitioners we tend to put all the controls and expectations on technology. It has not and will not work. There has to be a 'collaboration and socialization' between people, processes, business objectives and rules to include technology - an alignment. My professional opinion, inclusiveness of the latter is a solid start to "making sure social tools deliver collaboration".

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