When working online we need places to to gather information, to communicate with colleagues, to learn from others who have encountered similar situations, and to work within teams or organizations with shared goals. As a result, we gather information in files on our computers, organize folders of messages in our e-mail client, or maintain binders full of printed reports from business applications on our desks (because they take so long to retrieve otherwise).
Online workplaces are involved in virtually all information- or knowledge-based activities within an enterprise. By improving online workplaces, an enterprise can significantly increase the performance of these activities. However, the goals of an online workplace need to go beyond automation. When aligned with supporting culture and business practices, online workplaces can provide the basis for sustainable competitive advantage. The source of this advantage comes from the intellectual capital that can be captured and reused. This is illustrated in the following conceptual model.
"The Real Business Value of Social Networking" by Luis Suarez:
The efficiency of completing repeatable processes and transactions is the focus of workflow systems and transactional systems. In the interest of decreasing cycle time, both of these system types optimize how individuals and groups serve business processes: The process comes first and the worker is subservient to the process (cue Pink Floyd music). However, this “process first, user second” design does not work well for the many ad hoc activities that make up a typical workday, in which the user juggles multiple variables and gathers information as needed. John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid call these two different modes “process” and “practice.”
Seth Godin...once again...nails it, as far as I can tell, on what the real challenge is for social networking to flourish in the enterprise world.
In over the course of a little bit over two minutes, he gets to share some really good insights on what the real business value of social networking is all about. And guess what? He doesn’t do it through a definition, nor through stating hard facts none of us can (nor will!) relate to! Ever. Instead, he shares it through stories. Stories we can all relate to.
Speaking of stories, I found this video with excellent advice on how to tell stories via Tom Graves (@tetradian) on Twitter:
"The Social Media Fear Factor" By Rachel Happe:
There is plenty to be anxious about in considering using social media for business.Many look at all their valid fears - whether they are as simple as having un-edited content in the public eye or whether they are concerned with law suits - and decide it is too much to take on. On the other side, I hear a lot of social media enthusiasts recommend a 'Just Do It' approach. Like many things, the reality for people concerned about the ramifications of using these new communication mechanisms is somewhere in the middle.
Things you can do to practice:
You get the idea. Practice is critical.
- Use Yammer internally
- Train and encourage people within your company to have personal blogs. Run competitions.
- Introduce smaller work groups to wikis
- Implement an enterprise-wide social network (emphasis on social)
- Create group blogs to comment on industry news and events that are only accessible internally.
- Pretend to blog for an external audience before you deploy an external blog.
- Form communities of practice internally and learn how to 'manage' them