We’ve all heard about and read numerous articles on how the consumerization of IT is contributing to a revolution in the workplace.  Frustrated with clunky enterprise technology, when they regularly use intuitive tools such as Facebook and Twitter at home, employees are now selecting technology that enables them to get a job done. IT has been displaced and users have put themselves in the driver’s seat. Thanks to SaaS – the ease with which it can be purchased and used – employees can collaborate effectively with people across the firewall under the IT department’s radar.

I’ve previously discussed how the issue at the heart of the enterprise social softwaredebate is control. By introducing the likes of wikis, blogs, podcasting and instant messaging into the work environment, IT departments are relinquishing their control over what users can and can’t do. However, by barring such tools in the workplace, an organization is sending out a clear message that it doesn’t trust its workforce. Banning such tools could also result in failure to stay ahead of your competitors.

Now, we’re seeing a shift in organizations’ attitudes to social business software. Trust still remains a key issue, but it has to work both ways. Businesses are starting to come round to the fact that social business software isn’t about shoehorning consumer tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, into the office environment. It is about taking the simplicity of social tools and combining it with enterprise-grade features and security. With changing attitudes, an increasing number of IT departments and business managers are signing off enterprise-wide social software deployments. And this is where the two-way trust comes in.  Employees now need to have faith in the new tools that their IT department is rolling out.

Dissatisfied with the legacy systems they have been forced to use, IT departments and business managers now need to convince their workforce that the new technology is going to work. With teams already using so many tools and services, a company-wide tech roll-out may be seen as surplus to requirement. It means another password to remember and something else to get to grips with. The IT department and managers need to build trust and ensure that they:

Get senior team members involved: Make sure that you practice what you preach and ensure that management teams get involved so people can see the benefits at the very top level.

Start from scratch:When teams start new projects or campaigns, get them up and running on the new technology from the outset. If legacy systems are already engrained in a project, it can be difficult to convince people to use something new.

Show the results:Get teams that have been involved in successful pilot projects to present their success to the rest of the organization. How did they use the tool or service? How did it benefit them? What challenges were solved?

Don’t ‘deploy and run’: You can’t just roll-out a new technology and expect all employees to pick it up instantly. Yes, a lot of social business software is intuitive and easy-to-use, but you should ensure that people know where to start. Hold training sessions across the company and provide them with best practice tips. Too make the technology feel more familiar, upload logos or branding and get people to populate their user profiles.

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