Any enterprise social networking platform needs to be friendly to the slow adopters too… (continued…)
Any enterprise social networking platform needs to be friendly to the slow adopters too… (continued…)
Everything is hectic. One employee is complaining that they can’t find a certain file. Another employee’s sporadically emailing people to figure out if they should add tax for a particular PO. Sales reps are calling to figure out what stage the contract is in.
There’s no avoiding the scramble at quarter end. But a couple years ago, the TIBCO finance department found a way to make things a little better. By using an enterprise social network, the finance team streamlines accounting close information and communication, and even enhances collaboration with their auditors.
To increase efficiency and reduce errors, employees share best practices on a private subject within the network. One employee advises that his teammates add tax for orders from Spain; another employee explains that a certain vendor is always being charged tax when they shouldn’t be and offers tips on how to recalculate. The subject works as a live Q&A, for employees to search and reference, helping them find in-depth answers and eliminate errors.
Cutting Out the Email Clutter
“Before tibbr, I was always cleaning out my inbox all of the time,” said one employee from the finance department. With almost 90 people on one email distribution list, employees would receive hundreds of emails, many of which had the same title. (continued…)
This article was originally published in NETWORKWORLD.
You don’t have to look further than the uprisings across the Arab world to recognize the power of social tools, and this transformative power applies to business as well. But for an enterprise social network (ESN) to be genuinely useful, it needs to go beyond the “Facebook for enterprise” model.
In evaluating the usefulness of any social platform, here are four essentials to look for:
1. Getting work done faster. Enterprise social networks are more than giant digital water coolers, and this is where ESNs need to rise above the typical consumer social experience. Social in the enterprise is not just about “following” Sarah in finance, but following your expenses and getting status updates on them. It’s not just about knowing which songs your friends are listening to on Spotify, but “listening” for changes to your purchase order. Not just about sharing and commenting on posts, but acting on posts (e.g., from your business apps). Not merely checking into a location, but actually getting relevant business information about your location and surroundings.
2. Information where and when you need it. As our mobile devices blend into our work lives, for most organizations “bring your own device” is now a given, and any useful ESN needs to account for this. (continued…)
“The world is shifting from a more traditional printed world to a more digital world, be it on the web or mobile or even possibly other technologies,” said Andre Boisvert, Chief Architect at Yellow Pages Group. “Now, not only does that mean we need to change the products that we sell to customers, but also it has a profound impact on the organization and the way we have to work internally and with our customers.”
“In a digital world it’s more of a continuous sales cycle and customers will upgrade or cancel their products in a much more continuous and unpredictable cycle,” Andre said. “Our sales and marketing organization and our fulfillment organization needed to adapt to it. That’s really a profound transformation from our perspective, and that drove the need for a collaboration platform.”
Andre explained several benefits Yellow Pages receives from the tibbr social platform:
Even if management has heard of the benefits of enterprise social networking, they might not be sold on the idea. It’s important to get their buy-in from the get-go as they play a fundamental role in driving the transformational process.
In order to “sell” the idea to management, here are five areas to focus on…
Hone in on What Your Boss Wants
Put yourself in your manager’s place and figure out exactly what goals need to be met. Is it obtaining profits? Onboarding sales reps faster? Or, meeting investor and shareholders demands? Think about their current goals, then decide on which business objectives will help them meet their goals. (For further insight, look at these 6 Questions to Ask Before You Buy-In to Enterprise Social.)
Make sure to include high-level, company-wide objectives, so other teams and departments can benefit as well. The power of the network lies in collective knowledge sharing, idea sharing, expertise discovery and more, so think big picture. Ultimately the objective should catalyze a community. Once you have your top objectives, hone in on the expected return, why it’s worth investing. This leads us to our next question…
What’s the ROI?
At the end of the day, executives want real numbers. (continued…)
Poor Ivan from IT keeps an economy-sized bottle of antacids at his desk to help him deal with the stress. It’s gotten so bad that he’s developed a nervous habit of tugging his ear every time he hears about it. Employees are signing up for free apps and cloud services without running it by IT!
The marketing team sets up a Dropbox account to share collateral; an account executive uses Yousendit to send a big file to a customer; an assistant logs in to Google Docs to save all of his notes; and a dozen or so employees just signed up for a free enterprise social network to collaborate on a project. Meanwhile, all of this goes unnoticed by IT unless someone like Ivan just happens to come across it.
According to Symantec Corp., 77 percent of all businesses have experienced rogue cloud situations, or unauthorized use of cloud services, over the past year. Of those businesses, 40 percent have experienced exposure of confidential information.
IT could easily setup a gateway to block employees from signing up for cloud-based services or apps, but this costs money and limits employees in some ways. The last thing IT wants to do is to slow down efficiency and prevent employees from easily sharing and accessing information. (continued…)
While the benefits of enterprise social networking are often broadcasted by industry professionals (myself included), before signing your organization up for the next social platform, it’s important to look at the business objectives first.
Enterprise social initiatives that have a clear and compelling purpose from the beginning tend to succeed. These should naturally motivate employees to use the network and see the value of participating. Employees should know what specific problems it will solve, what employees gain themselves, and what overall value it will provide their organization.
But, simply asking “What business problems are we trying to solve?” is a big question to start with. Let’s break it down further. The following questions will get you thinking about ways enterprise social networking can address some of your top business concerns.
o How can you speed up the employee onboarding process?
Organizations large and small struggle to help employees locate the information they need. Files are locked in file systems, emails are kept separate, and managers don’t have time to train employees on where everything is or how things work. Onboarding can take weeks to months. A robust enterprise social network combines systems and content with a knowledge-sharing community, so employees can view a history of information and conversations—and learn much more than from a first-day training session. (continued…)
Most of us can’t leave home without our keys, wallet and smartphone. Our mobile device is not only our social line, but also our way to stay plugged-in to work. With over 30% of enterprise information exchanged on smartphones, it’s now essential for employees to be able to receive information and get work done from their mobile device. The latest release of tibbr’s mobile apps meets this requirement.
tibbr allows employees to take action on key business processes right from their smartphone. For example, a manager can approve purchase orders right from the enterprise social app. By supporting a variety of business systems, tibbr’s mobile app lets employees do their work from one interface.
56% of tibbr users already use their mobile device and tablets as the primary means to access tibbr. With this information in mind, we spent an inordinate amount of time over the last year analyzing user data, feedback and overall trends to provide a compelling mobile experience. This release is a culmination of these efforts. While it’s difficult to capture what we have done in a short blog post, I would characterize the release with the following…
From the $20 HTC phone to $600 retina-display iPad, we wanted to provide an experience that was feature rich, compelling, built from the ground up, while recognizing the form factor and key activities users perform on mobile. (continued…)
Enterprise social adoption requires a community effort. The most successful initiatives have a clear purpose from the beginning and strong support from senior management. Discover what else it takes to make enterprise social collaboration a success. Check out these 5 must reads on enterprise social networking for the last month.
Debra Donston-Miller – informationweek.com Social business technology has the potential to increase revenue, cut costs, improve relationships with customers and enhance internal and external collaboration. If you’re willing to make the commitment to best-practice implementation of social products, there’s just one thing that can get in your way: your employees. In other words, if you build it, they may not come. And if they don’t come — or don’t fully or enthusiastically participate — your social business initiative doesn’t really stand a chance. (continued…)
Bill Cushard According to the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), U.S. businesses spend $15 billion per year on sales training and that many sales people find the training ineffective or less than useful. This statistic should drive business leaders crazy because it forces them to ask what they are getting from such a large investment. (continued…)