Social Collaboration at Work

HDI-Salt Lake CityThis week I presented at an HDI chapter meeting in Salt Lake City. The professional association is for help desk managers and is focused on the IT industry.

It was a privilege to speak with the group about trends I see in social collaboration at work.

There are five underlying trends currently driving social collaboration in the enterprise:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Mobile Internet-connected devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.)
  3. Big data
  4. Social media
  5. Gamification

While I could write a lot about each one of those trends, for my purposes here I’m only going to list them. If you want to learn more about each of them, check out what my friend, Shel Holtz, shared last fall about internal communications trends.

Basically, social collaboration at work consists of connected experiences that combine social, collaboration, document and resource sharing, messaging, project management and unified communications.

social collaborationToday, sharing information trumps keeping it to yourself. Said another way: share is the new save.

Social collaboration at works means transforming business processes and releasing the power of data and human capital through consumer-like digital experiences in the workplace.

A key component is connecting everyone in the organization to the best knowledge and information experts by providing a platform that allows for one-to-many discussions and provides details shared by industry experts in a searchable archive. In other words, once they chime in on a topic, their answer is preserved in a digital conversation archive so the next time that or a similar question arises, the answer has already been shared with the team.

A corporate intranet is often the place where social collaboration starts, but there are many levels of tools and platforms that can be utilized beyond the company intranet. A good corporate internet should include:

  • Video
  • Wikis
  • Directories
  • Built-in feedback mechanisms
  • Development of knowledge communities (where information can be located through search)
  • Mobile messaging

Social collaboration tools are especially helpful to bring new team members up to speed, to provide training and give them access to answers when they have questions.

As I prepared for the presentation it was most interesting to me that 83% of those who use social collaboration want more of it, and 90% of C-suite executives think it will help them achieve their business goals (source: Avanade Social Collaboration White Paper). That tells me that executives believe social collaboration is the right way to go.

Further evidence of this perspective is presented in the same white paper statistics that the three primary driving forces for social collaboration in the workplace include corporate initiatives (54%), marketing-led adoption (41%) and user-driven initiatives (32%). All of these driving forces are ranked above information technology, which has an opportunity to become a more dominant force for implementing social collaboration tools at work.

A concern by many organizations, especially those in regulated industries or with traditional cultures, is controlling the conversation. However, if you hire the best people, shouldn’t you trust them to engage in constructive conversation about innovation and company strategy?

When considering the type of social collaboration you want at work, weigh the need to govern against the demand for an open, democratic space. And not only the demand, but the potential for future business innovation and marketplace domination.

With today’s technological trends, it’s no wonder companies and organizations alike are searching for — and in some cases scrambling to create — a more collaborative work environment supported by similar technologies consumers use.

To check out my social collaboration in the enterprise HDI – Salt Lake City presentation, visit my events blog.

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