Build a private social network that employees will actually use

Company social networks can drive collaboration and innovation -- or they can wither on the vine. These tips can help make yours a success.

By Todd R. Weiss, Computerworld |  Unified Communications, social networks

Margerum says Plantronics chose Jive because of its extensive search capabilities and its good integration with desktop applications from other vendors, such as Microsoft, that Plantronics is already running.

"It has a Facebook-like approach," he adds. "It's clearly not 'what I did yesterday' or 'what I did on my vacation.' It's about a news article someone saw or someone asking a question about a particular idea. You might mention that a competitor brought out a new product and ask people what they think about it."

Jive... seems to be motivating employees to share more of their knowledge than we've seen before." Barry Margerum, Plantronics

The end result is real-time idea sharing that benefits the company, Margerum says. "You're trying to get a conversation started that's going to elevate this knowledge to everyone in that community. It's sort of like a brainstorming session."

It's still too early to point to specific successes in the company, he says, but participation has been very strong and is showing clear benefits. "Jive is emerging as a frictionless way to share expertise and opinions with the enterprise pool," he says. "It seems to be motivating employees to share more of their knowledge than we've seen before."

Margerum wouldn't disclose how much his company spends on Jive for its employees, but Jive says that pricing for its Jive Social Business Platform for internal corporate use begins at $12 per user per month.

Introducing and reinforcing company culture

At BMC Software in Austin, Texas, internal social networking has been used for a year, with some 7,000 employees creating 965 groups in which they collaborate and share information, said Hollie Castro, senior vice president of administration. The company uses Chatter from Salesforce and has found that it enhances communications with and among employees in several ways, Castro says.

BMC uses Chatter to introduce new employees to the company before they start their first day on the job. Here the company onboards new workers and shares HR information, company procedures and more in a social place where the new employees can ask questions and meet co-workers immediately.


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