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Study: Enterprise Social Networking Can Break Down Organizational Barriers

SharePoint consultants BrightStarr recently asked IT professionals how they felt about enterprise social networking — social relations among people who share business interests or activities. In addition to using external social networks to build company visibility, enterprise social networks often entail modifications to corporate intranets and company software, fostering less hierarchical and more natural forms of communication and collaborative activity. Regarding the technology, 93 percent of BrightStarr’s respondents said “Improved knowledge transfer between geographically disparate employees” and “Increase knowledge transfer within the organization” are the primary drivers for using these technologies; seventy percent expect the technology to increase innovation. Over sixty percent of respondents think enterprise social networking will empower individuals and team members, aid discovery based on skill set and break down organizational barriers. Enterprise social networking company Tibbr says the main benefits include:

  • Situational awareness. Employees learn where they fit in the organization as well as what things affect them, their work and their productivity.
  • Vocational mobility. They get a world-class mobile experience with access on any device, anywhere, any time — today’s mobile workforce mantra.
  • Increased agility. Companies increase the flow of information to become small again because of the inverse relationship between size and agility.
  • Knowledge retention. Employees retain and make knowledge accessible to all, so it’s not lost in email black holes and information silos.
  • Archaic abandonment. They jettison old or ineffective tools in favor of nimble platforms that unify and distribute knowledge and communication.

Even so, a majority of companies have not yet implemented enterprise social, which CEO of BrightStarr Will Saville attributes to concerns about privacy and governance:
Privacy and governance issues with open, user-empowering technologies like enterprise social are a concern for management, but in reality they can be easily overcome with putting sensible precautions and a solid governance plan in place. We find that news stories about public social media misuse can unfairly bias thinking about enterprise social media. Once our consultants have explained appropriate governance the objections disappear.
Budget constraints and demonstrating ROI are also barriers to implementation, but there is no doubt that today’s employees are increasingly more social. And as BrightStarr asks, “What price can you put on being able to develop a relationship with a colleague that generates a new product idea, or being able to find the right people to form a team to solve a problem?”

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