Yapmo, Jabber, Chatter, Yammer – such names might just encourage the impression of Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) as “Facebook for Enterprise.” And without successful implementation, they are.
Don’t just implement another social network. Employees are already keeping up with Facebook status updates, pinning, linking, tweeting, tumbling. Learning another platform to virtually chat with co-workers seems redundant.
Solid implementation should convince them otherwise. This involves utilizing ESNs to harness that craving to be socially connected while making workplace collaboration easier and more effective, thus mitigating the risk of wasted company resources such as a lack of communication that leads to duplication.
Just “Facebook for Enterprise”?
An Enterprise Social Network is an online service, platform or site that focuses on building and reflecting social networks or social relations among people within an enterprise.
According to a Pew Internet Survey, 50% of adults use social networking sites. That jumps to 65% among adults who use the internet (such as most – if not all – of us in the business world).
In Making the Business Case for Enterprise Social Networks, Charlene Li of Altimeter writes:
In 2011, we reached a milestone when over half of all US adults regularly used social networking sites. This means the majority of American adults are not only familiar with social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but also understand the value of being connected with the people in their lives.
But then they go to work, where people are traditionally siloed from each other… Organizations have seen the rise of ‘enterprise social networks’ where employees take the best elements of public social networks and apply them to the special needs of an organization…. ESNs are not simply Facebook behind a firewall.
Li concludes that the problem with most ESN implementations is that they are treated as technology deployments focused on adoption and usage. If organizations instead think about ESNs as a new method of communication and an opportunity to form relationships, they can effectively utilize ESNs to bridge existing gaps in the information-sharing and decision-making processes. Additionally, those interviewed reported that they don’t measure the impact ESNs have on their business. In the chart below, Li outlines four ways ESNs drive value. According to her research:
Additionally, if ESNs were simply “Facebook for Enterprise,” the following use-case would not be possible.
Messages > Emails
A recent vacation from work prompted Yammer Senior Engineer and Technical Lead, Marco Rogers, to write about his appreciation for being able to Say Goodbye to the Full Email Inbox upon his return.
“Yammer messages beat a full email inbox any day.” Rogers said.
“We took the pile of unread email and turned it into groups of unread messages that already have markers of importance and relevance,” Rogers said. “This is a powerful workflow and a shift from the usual way people interact with email.”
Use-cases like this are only possible, however, with strong user adoption.
Results to Avoid when Implementing a user-adopted ESN solution
As we mentioned in a previous post on the empowered employee, these networks have user-driven adoption. Without widespread support and adoption, even the best solution will be ineffective.
Most of the organizations (13 technology providers, 185 end users and 81 ESN decision makers from companies with more than 250 employees) interviewed for Li’s report saw failed expectations upon implementation:
Knowing the common, unsuccessful results we want to avoid. Let’s turn to the following tips for successful implementation.
Tips for Successfully Implementing Enterprise Social Networks
Aryl Kohrs of Tibbr shares 5 tips for implementing an Enterprise Social Network.
Without a solid implementation, workplace collaboration via an ESN is going to Spark… and then fizzle. To employees, it’s just another Facebook, a distraction – not a resource. Besides, they’re already on Facebook.