Social networking has become almost indispensable for us. It is not only Twitter or Facebook, but, there are other services that are becoming really popular with users.
On the personal front, social networking has become an easy way of sharing personal information with near and dear ones. You can exchange notes, photographs, and even videos. Twitter and Facebook has been used even in emergencies where pleas for help have been broadcast and acted upon.
What about use of social networking in enterprises? What we see now is Unified Communications, Video Conferencing and such. The use of social collaboration in enterprise never really took off and business owners and leaders have always been skeptical about their proper usage and impact. Leaders and business owners need to realize that enterprise social media collaboration is a completely different ballgame and both the strategy as well as the execution needs to be at a different level.
The Enterprise Social Idea
Enterprise social, as an idea, caught the fancy of many (obviously for a very short period of time) as it helped to revolutionize some business operations. There are instances of many Enterprise social networking platforms businesses like OurCrowd and Kickstarter. Many such platforms have used crowd sourcing to fill their funding requirements. They were not required to go to banks and fill up long loan applications or pitch their business ideas to the VCs. There were also many companies that used Twitter to get feedbacks from the customers and even take care of the support issues. Internet marketers used Facebook (FB) pages to generate likes for the business and even execute their marketing campaigns to create the right buzz about their products and services. LinkedIn too was put to good use by many headhunting firms who recruited people by using that professional networking platform.
What Users Want?
Now, the expectation from the enterprises for social collaboration is pretty high as business owners and leaders expect the collaboration to yield high revenue and other results for the organization. Unfortunately, enterprise social collaboration never really matched the industry expectations and, as a result, business leaders started to shift their attention to other marketing gigs. The primary reason behind the dismal performance of social business software is that the CIOs found it really difficult to distinguish one product from another and they took really long to evaluate the solutions and the tools. Thus, the unexpected delay popped up new challenges for everyone and the results could never really match the expectations of the enterprise users.
The personal model for social media interactions cannot be extended to the enterprise as the goals are different for each. Enterprise social media interactions are not made to share birthday wishes or announcing dinner dates - they are all about collaboration and working of diverse teams. The social media tools should facilitate easy collaboration and execution of tasks and projects.
A Mixture of Asana and Facebook?
Social collaboration in an enterprise should be aimed at getting work done efficiently, faster and within set budgets. The executives and the CIOs should be able to differentiate between communication and broadcast tools, and the ones that facilitate results based on collaboration. Thus, a solution to this should be the software that allows external as well as the internal team members to collaborate, communicate and come up with innovations and ideas. The same tool can then be used to execute and deliver.
Enterprises are looking at social collaboration software that starts with the social aspect but then ropes in execution along the line somewhere. The users should be able to set up the groups around any project or initiative. The groups should further have the option of changing their conversations into actionable items. They should be able to set deadlines for the work to be completed. A few of the tasks need to convert into projects that not only require resources but should also have milestones, budget and even deliverables. The ultimate goal should be to convert social interactions into business results.
We have yet to see a combination of Facebook and Asana that does this in an integrated fashion. What do you think? Share your views in the comment section.
About The Author
Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.