Business & Value, Social & Cooperation

Social collaboration: What’s blocking?

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2013 ……


Deployment, adoption and then ….?

Social collaboration in organizations has been around under the misleading label of “social media” for a long time. Today people need to go beyond deployment and adoption.

They need to blend social capabilities with enterprise processes and evolve towards new ways of working that are more efficient, more participatory, more flexible and rewarding, for organizations and for people. There are a lot of obstacles along the way: concerns about wasting time and lack of business value lead the list. (Data Q3 2012.)

Last year we saw that, while early adopters were far ahead of the majority for deployment, they too are struggling with adoption. Early adopters have huge gaps between deployment and satisfaction with adoption in the potentially transformational capabilities: co-creation of content, user-generated content and reacting to other people’s ideas and content, finding people as they have described themselves and activity streams blending social into work spaces. (Data collected Q3 2012.)

… transformation

Last year’s survey revealed that organizations are just at the very beginning of a long path.
When asked “to what extent have social collaborative features been integrated into organizational processes?” only 6 percent of the full survey population said “Quite often. We are rethinking how we do things in many areas”.

Encouraging? Definitely yes, but the few examples given by the participants were mainly around using presence indicators and instant messaging, both of which are great because they make work more efficient, but they are not transformational. The same people are doing the same things, but faster.

Doing the same things better and faster or doing things differently?

How and where should social be integrated? In our fast-moving world of various vendor and in-house solutions, this is a real question. An organization wrote to me recently that in their eagerness to provide social capabilities, they now have two “enterprise” social networks – one for the sales people and one for everyone else. This will decrease the likelihood of cross-stakeholder collaboration: sales people talking to engineers,  HR people hearing what sales people experience “in the field”, and so on. This situation has resulted because of (or thanks to!) social capabilities available in more than one platform.

“Social everywhere, amplifying the way we work”

In Digital Workplace Trends 2013, Kelli Carson-Jagersma, VP, Internal Collaboration for Wells Fargo share their experience:

“As part of the Wholesale Bank, we have focused our recent efforts on limited team member test and learnings. The goal was to benchmark social engagement with specific business drivers: sales, service, knowledge sharing, productivity and overall team member engagement. Results were clear. Team members are closely attached to where they do work – in email and internal systems such as CRM tools. Team members do not want yet another place to remember to go and would prefer, social be integrated into their workflow.… However, while this space is still quite young, it is rapidly maturing. It is also apparent that social features are being made available in other internal tools. Social ought only be everywhere if it is a connected experience. It is Wells Fargo’s strategy to have a social solution that integrates into our team members’ work and aggregates a myriad of social features that other applications might offer. That is social everywhere, amplifying the way we do work.”

Impact: business, workforce, leadership

The 2014 survey goes beyond looking at barriers and concerns, and explores the impact of the digital workplace. We will uncover examples of how business is being transformed, how the workforce is evolving and how leadership is changing. Based on use cases,  participants will be asked to share examples and rate the impact:

  • Transformational: our ways of working have fundamentally changed. Our processes and/or organizational structure have been impacted. There has been Impact on management practices, customer relations, how we address the marketplace, empowering people.
  • Significant impact: our normal ways of working have been greatly improved by making things faster, easier more efficient.
  • Some impact: we are beginning to see some change in communication and are improving existing procedures and processes.
  • Low impact: we have seen a few cases of change in how people work, but not much
  • No impact to my knowledge
  • N/A or don’t know