“What’s the best way to talk about the impact of inflation on this fund’s performance?” “Which logo do I use on the presentation on this investment strategy?” “Who needs to be involved in addressing the new requirements of this distributor?” At leading firms, these questions are posed not via email or in a phone call, but using enterprise social collaboration software like IBM Connections, Jive and SAP Jam. The social functionality embedded in these platforms opens old-style one-to-one business conversations to more employees, enabling them to learn, solve problems more easily, help customers quickly, and get work done more efficiently. At its core, social collaboration enables companies to unlock the experience, passion, and knowledge of their employees to gain greater competitive advantage.
Unlocking Institutional Expertise
We live in a business world where customer reviews, comments, and ratings are pervasive. At leading firms, the use of social business technology to make institutional expertise accessible encourages the previously silent expert who won’t speak up in a meeting, to post a salient comment on a query that helps solve a customer problem. It forges new relationships, like when a user in one business line shared presentation files from an industry conference with a colleague in another business line who wasn’t able to attend. It is reflected in the better price a firm was able to negotiate with a vendor because more business unit leaders committed to using an application they learned about in an internal videoconference.
Addressing Challenges to Enterprise-Wide Collaboration
kasina’s research shows that 2 of 3 firms have some form of enterprise collaboration technology in place, like SharePoint, Sitrion or Chatter. But many have at least one of 3 challenges that prevent them from opening the conversations and flattening the hierarchies that allow customers to be better serviced, and ideas for improvement and innovation to flourish.
- They aren’t leveraging the social aspect of technologies that integrate activity streams like Twitter, offer the ability to find and follow experts like LinkedIn, and allow users to provide recommendations and comments like Facebook.
- They lack mass adoption by employees because platforms haven’t been universally deployed, or technologies are unsuitable for their needs. kasina’s research shows that employees at 1 in 3 firms find the technology inconvenient to use.
- Their executives aren’t making enterprise-wide use a business imperative. At nearly half of firms, lack of executive use is a top reason why implementation of enterprise collaboration tools is unsuccessful.
We’ll be talking about practical ways to address these challenges at Boston Financial’s Client Forum including:
- Increasing executive use
- Gaining critical mass
- Managing the community
- Communicating outcomes
Being a social business is rapidly becoming a necessity in this era of unprecedented need for speed in identifying market trends, anticipating customer needs, and solving customer problems. A listening leadership, an enthusiastic workforce, and a culture that is committed to collaboration are essential to competing effectively. Businesses that have successfully integrated social collaboration technologies throughout their enterprises are better positioned to make full use of workforce expertise and drive organizational growth.