Why Businesses Need Social Software

“Enterprise social software will be the biggest new workplace technology success story of this decade. 30% of all enterprises will openly sponsor internal MySpace-like social sharing spaces to help employees find others with similar interests, skills, backgrounds, and experiences… Together with improved search tools, these personal home pages on the intranet will facilitate expertise location and communication, and improve bonding between employees.” – Gartner

In some ways, ‘enterprise social software’ is a misnomer. It is social, true, but it is not about socializing … it is not designed to exchange recipes or discuss travel plans. Enterprise social software is about business, and about making business succeed.

Specifically, enterprise social software, social networking, and Web 2.0 in the business arena is designed to meet the growing need for efficient collaboration among employees. It allows individuals to:

  • Connect with people who have the knowledge and experience they need.
  • Communicate with those people instantly – whether they are in the next cube, in another city, or across the globe.
  • Collaborate with others in order to achieve powerful results.

Consider this example:

Suppose that you are a product manager for a company that makes athletic gear like running shoes and tennis racquets. Your boss has determined that in order for the company to stay competitive, it will be necessary to have the next running shoe you develop manufactured in China. It is your job to find a manufacturing company and set up the appropriate agreements to get this shoe manufactured. This will be the first time your company has done business in China: you have no experience with the culture, how to do business there, or where to start.

Now, let’s also suppose that your IT department just implemented a new teaming (enterprise social software) product. You’ve been told that everyone is required to post information about their past work experience, interests, etc. You decide to do a search. The search results show that the new product manager for tennis racquets came from a competitor who has their products manufactured in China. In fact, he was instrumental in getting the process up and running. Eureka! You’ve found your resource!

However, the person you want to talk to is in the San Francisco office and you are in the Philadelphia office. You can’t just walk down the hall and knock on his office door. But the instant messaging client in the teaming product shows that he is on-line at that moment. You send him a quick IM and ask if you can schedule a conference call. He is more than happy to help, and you set up a call.

During your conference call, he suggests that you and he create a team workspace so that he can share all of his documents, web links and other resources with you. Via that space, he will help you set up tasks and milestones so that you have a process you can follow to manage the project. He also suggests that you keep your notes in a blog so that you
and he can track your progress.

As this example shows, enterprise social software helps people connect, communicate, and collaborate. This type of interaction is essential in any organization, whether enterprise, small business, education, or nonprofit. Today, success in business rides on the wings of technology.

© Copyright 2008, Uptime NetManagement, Inc.

Article Source: http://www.uptimenmi.com/

You have my permission to reprint and distribute this article as long as it is distributed in its entirety, including all links and copyright information. This article is not to be sold or included with anything that is sold.

About the Author:
Donna Moyer is Principal/Senior Network Consultant of Uptime NetManagement, Inc. (http://www.uptimenmi.com/). Uptime is a Novell Gold Solutions partner providing technology solutions, customized training, and consulting services. If you are interested in finding out exactly what Novell can do for your business, or are seeking to maximize the benefits from your current Novell systems, call us today at 610-621-1244!