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CIOs talk about how social networking builds enterprise collaboration

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Oct. 25, 2012
Does taking a more social, collaborative approach work?

"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.

CIO.com: 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.

Marcante: In the organizations that have adopted enterprise collaboration, we are seeing more collaboration and increased knowledge retention. Success can be measured by a myriad of stories of how various organizations leverage the enterprise collaboration tools. One team moved from a completely email supported model to a community of practice, engaging in discussion forums and rating content based on quality and usefulness. Their content is retained and their internal clients search and discover content on their own. The team completely changed its own--and their clients'--behavior.

CIO.com: What advice would you give other IT executives/companies looking to implement social networking within the enterprise?

Meerschaert: 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: It is not about the technology. It is about taking a collaborative and sharing environment and increasing its strength. To introduce enterprise collaboration, a company should start with the why--the business value that can be gained from enterprise collaboration.

Introduce the how slowly. Focus not just on the technology but on the cultural change. Understand that you are engaging in a marathon, not a sprint! The business value it will bring to your organization is well worth the effort. Persistent energy and a consistent message are needed to affect this cultural change.

 

 

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