The search for your company’s enterprise social network should not just be for the best technology, but also one that fits your company culture. Enterprise social network vendors are amping up the pace of innovation to meet this growing portfolio of need. Here are five tips to ensure you pick the right technology.
If you’re launching or (or possibly already have) an employee community in a highly-regulated industry, the regulations that concern your leadership are definitely challenges. But even in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, financial services, or education, employee communities are still viable. If your company is in a highly-regulated industry, here are some simple ideas to get your enterprise social network planning started.
“Yammer says we can’t customize our network.” I hear this concern often from clients, who express frustration that their company won’t be able to make a Yammer network look and feel official. And they're right. You cannot really "customize" your Yammer network, or any other SaaS solution for that matter. Here’s where we explain what you can do: personalize your Yammer network.
What if I told you that I can help you could, even without doing much work, you will appear to be a Corporate Rockstar — Mr. Popular or Ms. Helpful? Here are three easy steps to building enterprise social network influence by manipulating your activity inside the platform (yes, this is satirical). But really, DON'T do these things.
With a few weeks before employees start taking holidays, and before actual winter weather causes disruption to the normal operating procedures across your offices, you have the opportunity and responsibility to ensure that your enterprise social network is a well-oiled-machine ready for the unpredictability of winter. How will you use your enterprise social network to handle weather issues, problems, emergencies and other winter challenges? Here are three ways to prepare your enterprise social network for impending winter storms.
Remember the glory days of Enterprise Social software? When startups were acquired and innovations were exciting? When we all believed that social technology could help us change the way we worked for good? Death to email!
The ESN crickets have been chirping for some time, because corporate social networking software is now a commodity, not a community. Disappearing are the days of hoping for ideation, serendipitous discovery, executive dialogue with worker-bees, and earning millions of dollars from new product ideas gleaned from conversations. The enterprise is tired of the hype; companies who have not seen success are ready to give up. With myriad ESN vendors, the proliferation of social features across productivity, storage and project management products, and an inability to prove that standalone enterprise social software has ROI, the commoditization will continue and eventually bury the industry as we know it. Think it’s not possible? I beg to differ for two reasons.
It’s time to escape from the circus by focusing on the myriad intangible benefits of an enterprise social network, advocating that instead of seeing social as a way to get more out of employees, companies should be modernizing their communication channels to give employees choice and freedom. If we stop selling tickets to the social ROI sideshow, nobody will come. And if we want enterprise social networks to flourish and grow universally, it’s time to stop pretending that we can measure their ROI.
We were all warned about the danger of gateway drugs.
Just one moment of indiscretion using Bad Thing X would undoubtedly lead you into a lifetime of abuse of Bad Thing Y, which would eventually ruin your life. After that, you might start skipping school, join a rock band, get a tattoo or drive off in a Volkswagen Beetle for the summer with no distinct purpose.
The same rule applies in enterprise software, where lightweight native social features inside purpose-built business applications are Bad Thing X. Today, there is a real problem threatening companies attempting to become a truly social business: lightweight social features baked into purpose-built software are the gateway drug to collaboration failure.
Enterprise Social Network community managers, you thought you had it so good. You’ve deployed your online employee community, and you’re working hard to maintain engagement, drive business value and help employees build relationships that strengthen the company’s informal social network. Your CEO is active (finally!). New and old employees alike have adopted the community as a critical communication tool. Embedded activity streams make your SharePoint site seem alive again, everything seems to be going smoothly … at least, until now.
In the world of enterprise social networks, theories and ideas abound about the value of investing in, launching, and maintaining an employee social community. Research has documented significant ROI gains, from better productivity measures and cost savings due to lower attrition. Vendors, analysts and evangelists agree that enterprise social networks allow for better and faster information sharing as well as happier employees. There is no argument that enterprise social networks create both tangible and intangible benefits for a company.
The tangible ROI cases are clear. Fewer emails and meetings lead to efficiency gains that can be documented based on relatively simple time and salary calculations. However, it’s the intangible benefits that are easily challenged and overlooked because they cannot be measured by traditional corporate metrics. How do you prove to a skeptical executive that an employee community can create positive outcomes for the company that aren’t tied to dollars and cents, gains and losses? It’s easy to cite the reasons provided by vendors, customers and analysts, but what’s missing is the “how?” and the “why?” component. How are benefits achieved? Why are they important for our company?
So you bought into the buzz that an enterprise social network will transform your business and make your employees fabulously productive. But now, it’s clear that your enterprise social network adoption stinks. I will go deeper into each problem and how to remedy them step-by-step.
Community Managers in the enterprise all remember the time when hashtags were daunting, confusing aspects of communication in a corporate social network. Back in 2008 and 2009, I was often asked if that feature could be turned off so as to avoid scaring less tech-savvy users with these “words that go next to a number sign.” Many social software buyers were convinced that hashtags were just too advanced for typical enterprise employees.My, how times have changed.
Today, hashtags have actually started to become a problem inside some enterprise social networks. Hashtags were once a simple, useful way to classify information and quickly find relevant posts from other users. Common hashtags in an enterprise social network were as simple as #marketing, #sales, or #training. In time, they became more specific and colloquial, like #budgeting2012 and #AcmeCorpDeal.
In the next 6-18 months, I predict that employees' heavy reliance on personally controlled mobile devices will begin to eat away at successful enterprise social networks.But it's not a bad thing. When a social network facilitates stronger bonds between employees, they begin to take their conversation "offline" into an arena that is not controlled by corporate IT. In my guest post today at CMSwire, I discuss how the most successful enterprise social networks will see some decline in usage and higher rates of lurking as employees become friendlier and are empowered to use their own smartphones to communicate at work.
So how do companies and community managers handle such shifts? A strong business purpose for the network will make all the difference - check out the article to learn more!
Launching an enterprise social network or collaboration platform can be amazingly valuable, but it takes a significant set of resources (both human and financial) to ensure that it is done correctly. You've only got one shot at a social software launch, so it's critical to do it right. Today, I've written a post for CMSwire about the 8-Cs of launching social software in the enterprise. Whether you're a business sponsor or an end user (which I call the "employee-customer"), use this 8-step-map to understand the phases you'll encounter before, during and after a social software launch.
I read a children's book yesterday about an elephant and a piggie. The elephant was a big, snarky curmudgeon who would stop at nothing to keep the enthusiastic little piggie from finding her wings to fly. But despite page after page of naysaying and disbelief and not-nice commentary, the elephant relented with surprise when the piggie enlisted the help of her trusted friend, the duck, to help her get airborne. It required some string and the duck holding her up, but the piggie eventually made it into the sky.
We are all faced with situations where someone else tries to hold us back and keep us from spreading our wings. Early adopters of Enterprise 2.0 are painfully aware of this. Maybe it's office politics or "we don't have the budget" or something about not having the time to collaborate - the excuses given by elephants as to why we don't need collaboration in the workplace are many.