Social software - focusing on the "people side" of your business.
Social software solutions focus on helping companies improve the "people side" of their business. You know, the messy stuff. The personal and team conversations, collaborations and interactions. The stuff that is hard to measure and even harder to manage and control. It may be the most important part of any successful business, as companies don't build products, do deals or make service calls - People Do.
So, what's the business driver? It's all about increasing corporate capacity and creating competitive advantage. It's quite surprising at how many organizations still struggle with isolated knowledge workers, a limited understanding of organizational expertise and lack a consistent set of accepted best practices, policies and procedures. These information barriers hamper productivity, decrease employee awareness and cripple the pace of innovation through the duplication of efforts.
The BIG HOPE, or expectation of social software from an enterprise perspective, is simple - use it to improve corporate capacity by creating better connections between the people, information and activities which drive daily business operations - across the entire organization, inside and out. By embracing social software in the workplace, many executives believe they can start to facilitate, promote and even reward social interactions that drive business activity for their companies. It is also believed that this new behaviour can also start to shift the focus of management teams away from being gatekeepers, to that of enablers, helping their workforce to build relationships, share knowledge and solve business problems that can lead to increased business flow and financial transactions.
These social software facts jive with the findings from the recent Enterprise Social Networking Market Overview Report from Forrester. But, what I found even more interesting was the fact that companies seem to be looking beyond individual social networking and more to fostering collaboration within a division or group. According to the Forrester report, team collaboration ranked in the top 5 reasons to deploy social software in the enterprise.
It makes a lot of sense, as most employees don't work alone, they work on teams and collaborate with others in the company to complete their daily business tasks. If you ask almost any manager, dealing with group and team dynamics is never easy. Navigating these "murky waters" and creating high performance teams is a challenge when team members:
- Work across functional units - members work in different departments and business units, with different managers and reporting structures.
- Are located in different time zones - they are just getting to work, while you are going home or to sleep.
- Vary in their cultural makeup -- from behaviours, beliefs and backgrounds.
- Have huge generational gaps and working styles - some work 9 to 5, others prefer flex time; there are those who work in the office, while others are road warriors.
- Use different tools - some are email junkies while other members prefer social tools like messaging, blogs and LinkedIn.
I think you would be surprised at how many of your employees have actually never met "face to face" with many of the team members they work with on a daily basis. Yet, we as managers expect them to openly collaborate, share and work together. Good luck.
It was for this reason that Igloo Software created Group Spaces in our online community and social software platform. Simply put, Group Spaces make it easier for teams to form and work together within your organization, regardless of geographic or hierarchical boundaries. Use Group Spaces to bring people together that are aligned because of their job function, interests or a common project goal. They can be public or private and offer dedicated spaces for collaboration, knowledge sharing and relationship building.
I encourage you to take our new Group Spaces for a test drive today.
Check out our free intranet template and give Igloo Software a spin.