How social networking builds enterprise collaboration

By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, CIO |  Unified Communications, collaboration, Collaboration Software

Meerschaert: I'd say augment, not replace. Email is still incredibly important. We Skype, too. A Skype message to us means urgent and can lead to a Skype call if text is not cutting it. But we have moved to replacing a few conference calls with Tweet chats, we've added tweet chats to our marketing mix too.

Marcante: The correct word would be supplement. Technology like email will continue to serve a valuable function, but social technologies help redirect some behaviors to more effectively capture knowledge. Some conversations need to occur in private and email may be the best platform. Previously, email was used to ask a question and get an answer.

Now, employees use enterprise collaboration for those functions. In the future, when someone else has the same question, the first place to look will be in our collaboration platform. Complete adoption should occur once the enterprise collaboration tools are integrated into the business processes and applications, maximizing business value. How was buy-in both among executives and the workforce? Are there generational differences? That is, did younger workers embrace the technology while older ones did not, or not as quickly?

Infographic: How Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomers Use Social Media to Find Jobs

Meerschaert: Our staff is a brave lot, full of energy and willing to try almost everything with a smile. I think the idea that old = timid is not true.

"Give it a shot and give it time. It can take months for it to catch on. People need to feel safe to go play, so keep it fun. Post things worth reading. If folks follow you on Twitter give them something to actually follow."

Marcante: Our executives support the enterprise collaboration initiative. During the pilot, the crew's response was very strong. They saw how it could improve on-the-job effectiveness. The most successful collaboration sites are those that were grass root efforts.

Our primary challenge was to explain why enterprise collaboration benefits the organization. Generational trends were not observed. The adoption of a tool, or a method of collaborating, was more dependent on the user's personal preferences (i.e., introvert vs. extrovert). Often, if parts of a department or team started to share and collaborate, the rest of the department and team would follow. Has using social networking-type tools improved collaboration and communication within your organization?

Meerschaert: Every tool adds to the mix. Everyone has favorites. I know our CEO sees all of our tweets and is quick to respond with a note of encouragement. Now she would do that in person or via email but this saves her a bit of time.

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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