Enterprise Social Network – Selling the concept

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So, you’ve convinced yourself that a social network is needed for your organisation. That’s great and now all you need to do is convince others that you’re not on drugs.

Social business is a new way to do work and it has been steadily gaining prominence, not solely as a technology solution, but as a completely new way to handle the way things get done.

In the early trailblazing days such a new and thought provoking business methodology was largely shouted down as being a fad and not worthy of investment of dollars or time. Luckily there were enough protagonists to stay the journey. We’ve now got all the leading business consulting groups McKinsey, PWC, Deloittes) jumping on board to espouse the benefits, not to mention a host of research and analysis firms (Gartner, IDC, Ovum). Why then do you still need help in convincing senior management that their future depends on the implementation of an Enterprise Social Network) ESN, together with a substantial change management effort to re-align corporate culture?

The answer is simple enough. As with anything new the first reaction is fud fear, uncertainty and doubt (where have we heard that term before?). Social business has been evolving as a legitimate business practice for the past 5-7 years and is now proving itself in so many ways.

Australian based change and knowledge management consulting firm – Future Knowledge transitioned to an ESN from a Sharepoint system so they could keep their consultants connected whilst working out at client sites. Their MangoApps ESN allows them to share all project files, invite customers to work collaboratively and to gain significant knowledge about historical engagements that they would otherwise not have access to. When asked how they would perform if the ESN was taken way, they replied that they could not effectively do their job any longer.

REA Group, a world  leader in on-line property listing has been using a Jive Software ESN since 2009. They recently made the decision to move to a Cloud based deployment from on-premise and thought they would find that the majority of content would now be obsolete and redundant. In actuality the opposite was true. Over 70% of the content contained within their ESN was used within the past 3 month period, demonstrating the value of relevant content being capable of connecting people, even long after it was originally created.

For any organisation experiencing the problems of a disconnected workforce, an ESN has the ability to connect people to content and places. For example consider the traditional method of employee awareness, ie the Intranet, once hailed  as a forward thinking method of keeping employees aware of organisation initiatives and of course as a quick menu link to a range of business applications. The major problem with this approach is that it was and remains a one way communication tool, rather than an environment that has the intent of starting conversations. Every CEO, worth her or his salt must prefer that their employees can provide feedback freely and openly on all CEO messages. CEO’s are only as good as their employees and knowing what they are thinking, when they are thinking it enables faster and better decision making.

If you’re still looking for ideas, take a closer look at some other existing business processes. For example how innovative is your organisation? How open is it to the creation of Ideas that can be voted on by anyone within the organisation. This represents a truly democratic way of fostering innovative ideas and empowers employees to get active. An ESN was designed to facilitate the generation of ideas, the voting of what the majority think would add value and a vehicle to engage in conversations, leading to true collaborative effort.

If you still need some help, please reach out to me and together we’ll make your business case unstoppable.

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