Social Collaboration: Transforming Enterprise Workflow Process

By CIOReview | Thursday, July 21, 2016
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The pace of business is accelerating at an astonishing speed in today’s increasingly complex and competitive business landscape. Companies that want to remain in front need to address business-critical issues quickly using solutions that are aligned with how their businesses operate. To do this, they need to unearth tools that could enable their businesses to be more efficient and more adaptable to changing market requirements.

Social networking platforms are the reins through which companies can direct their journey towards excellence. The rapid uptake of mobile devices have delivered anytime, anywhere access to the social media platforms and have created online communities linking people regardless of their location or time zone. For a generation brought up among these technologies, the idea of a workplace without them is unthinkable – and the same is happening now with enterprise social collaboration. Starting with SMS, instant messaging and blogs and taking a more structured form with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, collaborative media are now the new norm by which the next generations of employees communicate. In fact, for many under the age of 20, email is a peripheral tool as they instead use the messaging tools of their preferred social networks. It’s not a trend, but an essential part of people’s lives, connecting them 24x7 to share news, ideas, and information via tablets and smartphones. They’re accustomed to accessing information via multiple channels, using the device that suits their purpose at the time. They assume that technology will be designed to meet their needs and they expect the same in their working lives. It’s not something business can ignore. In fact, by bringing these tools into the working environment a business can take advantage of collective knowledge, making it easier for people to solve problems and work together, and become more responsive and more competitive. Enterprise social collaboration can put your business ahead of the curve, as at the end of the day, Enterprise Social Workflow is all about getting the work done. It combines popular social networking conventions to help you work better; providing new forms of workflow collaboration and visibility into business processes.

Benefits of Enterprise Social Collaboration

Using social media and next-generation communications technologies with integrated voice, video, and instant messaging can increase teamwork and knowledge sharing to improve business outcomes. Purveyors of enterprise social collaboration technology solutions often use ‘soft metrics’ to describe their product’s intangible benefits, with concrete business returns typically projected to appear in the ever-advancing future.

The main benefits of social collaboration can be distilled down to these five points:

• Data context and correlation

As people interact with the content you upload, they relate your feed with other relevant topic, such as projects you might not be a member of, studies that may correlate, or conversations on similar topics that you may not be aware of elsewhere in your organization. These conversations, tags, links, and sharing help in building context to your content that you alone might never be able to accomplish.

• Questions and answers 

It never hurts to have multiple means through which users can find the answers they need to business questions. As social becomes more and more of a layer between enterprise applications, we will use these tools to find quick answers and people are able to leverage their networks of experts much more quickly than through a search page. Social provides a quick and easy way to share data and knowledge.

• Identify expertise

Upload dozens of documents on a single topic, and you will likely be recognized as an expert on a topic. But social helps surface subject matter experts (SMEs) directly, or more importantly, indirectly through their activities. As people like, rate, follow, and share content with SharePoint, they begin surfacing in search results as an expert because of their social expertise that you might not otherwise identify if not for the social tools used.

• Extending search 

Social builds, extends, and improves search through the dynamic creation of end-user-generated keywords. As users connect and discuss content, they apply tags or keywords that help them personally relate to that content, and track themes or data trends in SharePoint. Every like, every tag, every rating or share helps in improving the overall search experience by adding to the folksonomy, which then — through proactive governance — can help improve your system taxonomy.

• Team connection

While the term social collaboration is often blurred, social technology helps teams collaborate by building connections across traditional data silos. Social is the tool by which collaboration is achieved. Social helps teams connect and relate whether they are across the hall, across campus, or around the world — thus improving collaboration.

Conclusion

Social collaboration is about taking these actions and integrating them into work processes to conduct business more efficiently and more productively than ever before. In today’s digital world, an organization that scales the summit of a social business enterprise unravels a distinct competitive advantage. To get there, organizations must accurately assess their current social media maturity and accelerate social media centricity by addressing what is the desirable state of social integration, given the organization’s specific business model, customer base and competitive landscape. With these questions resolved, enterprises can push forward from any point in its social media evolution to leverage best practices and processes to its advantage.