Why use an Enterprise Social Network?

‘Social’ is not a fad or the latest buzzword (although the word may disappear sooner than some think), but really a way of getting work done.  For those that have been around for a while, think about when email started?  I know I personally installed a IBM Lotus Notes 4.0 server back in 1996 to get a company up and running on email.  It was crazy at the time to think how we could ‘communicate’ with those in the office and clients or business partners around the globe. It opened up new channels and ways of working, right?  No longer did you need to pick up the phone or drive to their location to have a conversation.  You could easily work together without being in the same space.

Fast forward to 2014 years and tell me if this video doesn’t sound familiar?

Business Practices That Refuse To Die #44: Email Trees by @kevindjones

We are onto the next phase of collaboration.  Emails are too much of 1 to 1 and can cause a lot of extra work.  Think about how many times you’ve gotten a phone call or email or was asked in the hallway, ‘Hey do you have that email you sent around? I can’t seem to find it.’  Now, when you remember to look for it, you have to go back through your mail and locate it.  Once you find it, you have to send it along. Things would be so much better if you didn’t have to waste that time.

What if you you could:

  1. Tell them ‘Go search in the Project ABC community, it’s all there along with everyone’s thoughts.’
  2. Add a new employee to a group and get them up to speed in very little time
  3. Stop worrying about endless email chains of messages that are replied to all, forwarded and sent round and round

The possibilities are endless in what the new form of collaboration offers.  It’s up to you to join in and be part of a better way of working.

SCT: Build a Social team

Social Collaboration Tip: Build a Social team

Don’t try to build a community all by your self.  Find champions from different departments and get them on board.   You need to find people that want to use social tools and get them to help champion your cause.  Once you teach them the goals and mission that your company envisions, they can help you with:

  1. Training & on-boarding
  2. Moderation of the ESN
  3. Follow-up training & support

One person can not truly handle all of this, you need a team.  Build a Social team.

Using Social Media vs. Being a Social Business

Things are changing quickly in my world and each day seems to bring something new with the product I’m managing and the conversations I’m having with my customers.  One thing that is staying constant is the confusion I see and hear on almost a daily basis.  That confusion really revolves around a particular phrase.

Social Media vs. Social Business

Take a moment, what’s it mean to you?  Are they the same? Different?  You thought the same, but my question is prompting you to think differently?

Seriously, take a moment and think about it.  I’ll wait.  I’ll check Flipboard until you are back.

Alright, let’s move on.  As I talk to customers, I commonly ask ‘Are you using any Social Business Platforms to help you collaborate?’  If they know I’m talking about IBM Connections, Yammer, etc, we have a pretty good conversation about why or why not.  The other side of that response is usually something like, ‘I don’t have time for Facebook or Twitter.  That’s kids stuff.’  Ugh!  Where to start?

In doing some research, I stumbled across this blog post by Pam Moore and thought is was perfect. (I just had the pleasure to meet Pam in person at IBM Connect and talked for a bit about the struggles of getting people to under stand this.)

“Social media, social business… what’s the difference? Social media is a set of tools and technology. It’s a medium that enables a conversation between human beings. It facilitates a one to one, one to many or many to many dialog for both people and brands. It presents opportunities beyond what traditional media and marketing can offer when integrated and aligned with business goals.Although we all become the media when using social media technologies, it is not about us broadcasting via a one way stream of self promotion. It’s about leveraging the medium to build relationships, provide value, share our authentic self and connect as human beings.In early 2012 I wrote an article to start a conversation for us all to get our arms around the definition of social business. You can read the article here-> Definition of Social Business?

Thinking back to my conversations has me really thinking that their is a big gap to understanding what ‘being social’ means and getting it implemented into a business setting.  I’m seeing more and more companies come on board, but my fear is they are not ‘selling’ it to their employees.  And it can be a hard sell, believe me.  You need buy-in from the top to get it to work.  You have to show the business value that it presents.  I plan to write other posts on this subject in the very near future.

In the mean time, I’ve got a few questions that I’m looking for feedback on.  Join me in the conversation on this topic.  I’d like to discuss it further on here or any Social site you find me.

  1. When you think Social Business, what does that mean to you?
  2. Do you work for a Social business?
    If so, what platform do you use?
  3. What struggles have you seen in getting to be a Social Business?

IBM Connect 2014 – Social Collaboration at its Finest

I spent the last few days in Orlando, Fl at the IBM Connect Conference. If you haven’t been there, it’s a great collection of technical and business content revolving around IBM’s collaboration suite.  Topics range from deep dive technical to Administration and the value of “being a social business”.  Every speaker I watched were among the best out there.

I really went into overload this week with all the nuggets of information that were being presented. Social business is a topic I’m very passionate about so the content really hit home. Instead of taking notes to later reference, I tweeted. Numerous posts all day long. I tweeted and retweeted and tweeted some more. I tried to share all the good information being throw out there.

Among the things I heard during the week about being a Social Business:

  • User adoption never ends, it’s an ongoing process
  •  Align social to your top business goals
  •  One ROI of being a social business – searching and reusing intellectual capital
  •  Social business is about changing behavior, not technology
  • We are in the Generation S (thanks @PamMktgNut)

When I put it all together, here is how I would summarize.

“You won’t find that ah-ha moment to break the barrier into being a social business. It’s a process. A combination of things. And when they all come together, you’ll be a social business.”

I’ll be writing more and more in the coming days and weeks on things I learned and will continue to develop this topic.

The 4 days was full of content sharing, product knowledge and was a chance to catch up with old friends in one of the strongest communities I’ve ever encountered.  It’s been a fun 6 years and I have every intention to make it back for a 7th year in January of 2015.

SCT: Social Collaboration Tips

Some of my most recent posts have centered around effectively using Social Media tools to collaborate and get work done.  I’m a big believer that Collaboration is the key to success. I don’t necessarily think that means sitting around a big table talking out ideas for hours (but more on that in a future article).  What I’m referring to is Social Collaboration.  Finding a platform that allows you to share and collaborate anytime, from anyplace, from anywhere you may be.

If used correctly, it is a powerful tool that no business should be without.  One reason that I think Social Collaboration fails is lack of social etiquette (or knowledge or proper procedures). It’s not typically the fault of the participant, they probably weren’t trained.  With that said, I’ve decided to start a series of tips that will hopefully help alleviate some of this.

I have no schedule for how often I post these.  As they come to me, I’ll post them up. A recent tip came out of pure frustration when I was working with a vendor.  I’m sure you are all frustrated at times with the people you collaborate with, so let’s have them.  I’d like to crowdsource this topic and build it up. Send me your topics, or articles or simply write you own and tag it SCT.

So how do you participate?

  1. Comment here
  2. Send me an email
  3. Connect with me on LinkedIN and send me a message
  4. Tweet me a topic
  5. Schedule a meeting in a conference room and we can discuss it
  6. Skype me
  7. Call me
  8. Send me a letter in the mail
  9. IM
  10. Other communication ideas you have (please see #1-9 for ways to let me know)

SCT: Don’t use a discussion to assign tasks

Social Collaboration Tip: Don’t use a discussion to assign tasks

Any Social Collaboration software worth it’s weight will have some type of ‘Task’ or ‘To-do’ functionality.  Basecamp has ‘To-Dos’. IBM Connections has ‘Activities’.  All too often I see people have a conversation in a forum or discussion thread and ask others to complete a task.  The problem with this is several things:

  1. It may not be fully defined task
  2. The person you are asking to complete it may miss it in the rest of the conversation
  3. Changes or additions to it can get lost in the conversation

Instead, you should take advantage of the system they provide. The ‘To Do’ function should allow you to assign it to a person, assign a due date and define/discuss the task at hand.  This provides you with a clear communication method to get the task at hand done.

SCT: Don’t hijack another post

Social Collaboration Tip: Don’t hijack another post

While it may seem like a silly statement to say, I see it all the time.  Just because it’s easier to ask another question or you think it relates to the topic at hand, don’t start another conversation in an existing entry. It makes it confusing to follow along with the original topic and causes people to abandon the question.  When you have several subtopics going on, the original idea gets taken over and is never fully discussed.

Instead, start a new topic for you idea, question or thought.  If relevant to the other topic, simply place a link to your new topic in the original discussion. This way, all ideas will get the full attention they deserve.