Mar 27 2012

3 Tips for Making Enterprise Social Collaboration Work

Planning and communication both go a long way toward making social media work in the enterprise.

After successfully building a strong social media culture in its own organization, Intel and its workers are sharing some of the best practices and lessons learned with others.

Sudha Srinivasan, an engineering manager at Intel, explains what she believes are the three critical elements to developing a successful social media culture in the enterprise in a post on the Intel Open Port IT Community.

1. Know Your Goals

Social tools are a means to an end goal — and the end goal is always business results. So start with your business goals and see how social collaboration can help you to achieve them. For example, your division needs to reduce time to market new products. Evaluate if social tools can cut down time for hand-offs and knowledge transfer across teams — or if forums can help you to report and act on issues in a timely manner. If your responsiveness in closing customer issues is poor and your support costs are high — maybe social CRM can help. Such changes will shift the focus from adoption for adoption’s sake to true drivers of business value.

2. Serve in Bite Sizes

You can make the transition easy for everyone in the company by embedding social collaboration capabilities into standard operating procedures. For example, a team might decide upon wikis as the means to update statuses or as the document for best-known methods. They might use forums for discussions, or to seek feedback on interim work products. Using these tools helps to improve productivity and collaboration within the team, and is not seen as one more thing that employees need to do. Also, it helps them to understand what is expected of them.

3. Make It Safe

The easiest thing to do to ensure security of your knowledge assets is to lock everything down, and then padlock it some more. That way, nothing ever gets stolen — but then again, nothing ever gets used either. The difficulty in determining the right level of controls is what makes information security such a challenging and valuable function in any organization.

Generations of office workers have been told to err on the side of caution when it comes to safeguarding information. Now they are being told to foster open collaboration so that their organization can derive the full value of their social enterprise investments. This is a big behavioral shift, and you need to enlist information security professionals in your organization to help employees adopt the new paradigm.

For more information and advice on social media in the enterprise, read Srinivasan’s full post on the Intel Open Port IT Community. And for more great content from around the web, check out BizTech's 50 Must-Read IT Blogs.