Enterprise Collaboration For Business
Enterprise Collaboration means using communications tools to enable geographically distributed employees and work groups to cooperate with each other to achieve a business objective or goal.
Social Business Value Creation Model
Michael Brito in his book Your Brand – The Next Media Company, states that organizations must use a Social Business Value Creation Model when they are evaluating whether to use enterprise collaboration. That basically means you don’t want to collaborate just for collaborations sake. There must be value created. That value will depend on what your business goals are. However, the most typical goals that are used as a Return on Investment are:
- Revenue growth
- Decreased costs due to less use of call center staff, improved business process, etc.
- Product and process innovation
- Employee satisfaction – through morale increase, employee retention and hiring top talent.
As we look at our company and what benefit would enterprise collaboration have for it these are the types of returns we should look at. One of the greatest benefits is the development of an internal community.
Communities are important. When I started in the lending business, I asked a Realtor what sub-divisions she worked in. She advised me that they were Communities, not sub-divisions. Wow, that’s a great way to look at it. When you are selling homes, people are looking for a sense of community. Communities are about belonging, being part of the greater good, being a valuable part of a congregation or family.
A “Subdivision” is a piece of land divided into smaller plots of plots, dividing the group into smaller, not familiar parcels. Real estate is not the only area where a community is subdivided. Businesses, especially those that grow rapidly and those that have locations scattered geographically. In business this type of subdivision would be referred to as Silos.
Business Silos Toppled
Organizations like ours, with multiple lines of business and products can often develop business silos. Silos can lead to duplicate business processes or poor processes. Often in soloed organizations there are subject matter experts that can be utilized cross-functionally but aren’t. There are opportunities for cross-selling that go unnoticed because there isn’t shared knowledge leading to loss of potential revenue. A collaborative enterprise will be able to topple silos that prevent knowledge transfer and improved processes.
Training and Knowledge Transfer
In organizations, like ours, there are often employees that have vast knowledge in their area of specialty, and periodically other areas. Often these team members don’t feel appreciated when then cannot offer their expertise as needed. In a collaborative enterprise, teams are able to leverage the knowledge of various departments. Because the information is seen by many people not just those that emails are sent to. This knowledge can be collected and made searchable. This will allow two potential benefits to occur.
- Employee Satisfaction – Employees will feel a greater sense of worth when they can contribute to the company and to the growth of others. This will in turn lead to the ability to hire higher quality talent when they learn that there is high employee morale.
- Reduction in costs – There will be less reliance on help-desk or call centers. When the knowledge is shared in a collaborative environment, people can learn from others, others can transfer their knowledge, and the shared knowledge can be stored and searched for later use.
A company like ours that has a defined corporate culture wants that culture to continue as it grows and expands. Oftentimes, as businesses grow and disperse, it become more difficult for the offices away from the corporate hub to maintain touch with the culture carriers and begin to feel that separation.
The use of email, an informal messaging tool, does not allow expression of emotions or feelings of congregations. Email today is fast becoming the voice mail of the past. No one likes to be sent to voice mail. These days with the vast quantity of emails in one’s inbox, they too, often stack up and go unmonitored for hours, days at a time. This often leads to frustration.
A sense of community. Enterprise Collaboration tools that use social media as foundation work to create a familiar way to share work related information and knowledge with social integration that people are comfortable with. It provides the opportunity to share this information real-time with multiple members of the community at once, where these people congregate, like a community.
That is where we want our company to be. A Community! A community where people congregate to share in like-minded goals and the same culture. Enterprise Collaboration tools provide the social atmosphere and the acceptance of social media provides the growth of this tool. Corporate culture will be able to thrive with the ability to congregate together as one community.
A collaborative enterprise would benefit a fast growing and geographically diverse company like ours. While email is a good communications tool, it keeps the community within the local areas and teams. Providing a collaborate environment displays to the entire organization the common goals of the company. Everyone can congregate over one collaboration platform instead of many water coolers.
Some great articles on Enterprise Collaboration
When it comes to the future of work and collaboration I’ve worked with and researched hundreds of companies. Collaboration is indeed a top priority for many business leaders but knowing what makes organizations successful can be a tricky thing. After all no two companies are like and their strategies and technologies can be quite different. In addition collaboration initiatives come from different departments with different budgets, they have different uses cases and corporate cultures, and different approaches, goals, and measures of success. So if there is so much variety here then how do we know what makes organizations successful? The answer lies in chess.
“I’ve yet to meet a CEO who didn’t want his or her company to move faster,” wrote Ron Ricci, a Cisco executive. In this disruptive era, the companies that will survive are those that can adapt most swiftly. Rapidly exiting the Home Networking business, as Cisco did recently, couldn’t have happened if the firm had not developed a clear, transparent and collaborative decision making process according to Ricci and his Cisco colleague and co-author of The Collaboration Imperative, Carl Wiese.
Social networks for business help enterprises collaborate securely across departments, offices and countries. Many available tools give employees a sense of online community and help forge connections between different parts of the business and your customers.
However, some business leaders struggle to understand the benefits of the “social business”. Furthermore, organizations that have made the leap often find that after embracing the technology initially, employees’ enthusiasm soon dies down and only a handful of workers continue to use the technology.
So, how can businesses develop a long-term social business strategy? We spoke to a number of experts to find out.
Other Good Content on Enterprise Collaboration