As I talked about in my previous blog post on the future of work, Enterprise Social is a defining factor in the future of how teams of people work together.
But as anyone working in the Enterprise Social space knows, there are many skeptics.
I am better able to see these skeptical perspectives not as roadblocks, but instead as helpful guides that create a laser focus on delivering business value.
However for many organizations, identifying the use cases that drive business value can be elusive.
Where should you start and what does success look like?
In a great talk on building Responsive Organizations at this year’s SharePoint Conference, Adam Pisoni (General Manager of Engineering, Microsoft Office Division, and Yammer CTO) shared approaches and case studies. Adam’s practical advice was to:
- Start small,
- Align with people who get it (your supporters, your champions)
- Focus on projects that matter
It’s the last bullet resonated strongly as the single most important element: applying social tools to problems that matter to your organization. This isn’t new and in fact has been a critical success factor for successful enterprise deployments in other domains. The challenge is that it’s hard work and most organizations struggle with it. Adam went on to talk about social tools enabling lines of communication within an organization that don’t exist today. I think this is a key tool to help analysts, program managers, sponsors and architects become detectives, identifying absent communication channels – those use cases that will drive adoption because they satisfy a real need in an organization where none exists today. Key Take-away #1: Become a detective of missing or absent communication channels to help identify enterprise social business value. Let’s take a look at some examples of meeting a need through enterprise social:
- The case study Adam shared in the session was Quantas Airlines – they began to see value when they enabled their flight crews to be able to communicate with other teams on the ground while in-flight using Yammer as their communication tool. Prior to Yammer, there was no means for Flight crew to discuss issues that affected customers while in flight. But by enabling this new line of communication
- Another example is a large insurance customer, where there’s a lot of regional subject matter expertise related to policies and claims. Previously, Adjusters out in the field had no means of asking a question to broad group within the organization to locate the best possible person or answer to their question (and consequently they would resort to emailing the set of people they know and hope for a response). Social tools enabled a whole new communication channel between adjusters out in the field and the experts who could provide the answers, that was previously absent
- Our partner Sitrion is highlighting some great scenarios where a user in an organization might be reviewing a new policy or submitting an application for open enrollment of benefits. If that user had questions before, their options were limited or non-existent for reaching the right audience to quickly find an answer. By integrating the concepts of communities and the ability to post questions (microblog) that user is now in a position to get their question answered rapidly by a knowledgeable expert (increasing employee satisfaction) as well as reducing HR call-center costs (tangible ROI).
In each one of these scenarios, the common thread was a missing line of communication. It could be missing because:
- No prior connection between two groups of people (connections often only exist on a person-to-person level and the person(s) you’re connected to may not have the answers you need to access)
- The connections exist, but not at the right time or place where the need to connect surfaces. (Think field service works, who rarely sit at a desk and access their browser)
- The user finds themselves in a context that creates a need to communicate around a specific topic (Think questions regarding HR Policies)
Key Take-away #2: Missing communication channels can be related to disconnected groups, roles, people and places. It can also be about the right channel at the right time (i.e. missing communication channel in current context) I think Enterprise social is going to make a huge impact on the future how we work as teams and organizations. We are just getting started. How about you? What do you think the future of work looks like?