But, as exciting as it is to introduce an internal social network to your organization, not all people will be as receptive to change. (Just think about how many complaints go out every time there’s a new iPhone or Android update.) To win your colleagues over, it helps to get informed. Here are some of the most common myths, or misconceptions, about enterprise social networking, and how to dispel them.
It’s a Waste of Time
If you’re comparing enterprise social networks to sites like Facebook, sure, it could be seen as a waste of time. Facebook is where you post funny Youtube videos, make jokes about your friend’s profile picture, and all things far from work-related. On the contrary, enterprise social networking incorporates some of the easy-to-use, collaborative features of Facebook except the conversations are very work-focused. First off, employees know their boss, and even their boss’s boss can see their posts. So naturally they’re going to post insightful updates, appropriate for the work environment. Second, enterprise social networks increase productivity in many ways—even more than some knowledge management and email systems can. Take for example, a new sales rep needs to get ramped up on everything in order to sell. On his company’s social platform he learns all about the products he’s selling, who knows what about the products, the latest customer stories, insights on competitors, and so forth. But even more than that, if he has a question about a specific technical requirement, he can post a question and crowdsource answers. With access to a company-wide network, employees can find the right people and key bits of information that might otherwise have been locked away in email and various systems.
The other “waste of time” area for contention is that social platforms provide an overwhelming stream of updates for employees to sort through. However, more advanced networks categorize information into groups and subjects so employees can hone in on the messages they need. Whether it’s for team updates, collaboration on a specific project or topic, collaboration on those various subjects gets concentrated and more productive.
They Won’t Use It
Let’s be fair. For any new platform—or really any new program—full adoption isn’t something that happens overnight. Employees need to be convinced of the value of it first. With this in mind, it’s important to figure out the business objectives, i.e. what problems is this going to solve? Is it to help employees locate expertise within your organization? Is it to increase idea sharing company-wide? Is it to centralize project collaboration (even when teammates are spread across time zones)? Despite the oft-touted benefits you hear about enterprise social networking, it’s a good idea to figure out the most relevant use cases beforehand.
One more thing, in comparison to generation y’ers, the older cohort of workers is—believe it or not—even more likely to use enterprise social networks. Forrester Research reports that out of seniors, baby boomers, gen x’ers and gen y’ers, the demand from social comes more from the baby boomers than any other generation. This comes as no surprise, given that 49% of social software users are manager, directors and executives.
It’s not Secure
No doubt, this is a critical area to question. From hearing about the latest cyber attacks on high-profile companies like Evernote, it’s no wonder IT teams are debating the security of everything from the cloud to even their own data centers. First, advanced enterprise social networks should meet all your organizations security standards, whether behind the firewall or in the cloud. Second, it comes down to two things: data security and user security. Your enterprise social network should meet your organizations needs for authentication (SSL, SSO, whatever it is) and permissioning. Plus, an enterprise-ready network should easily integrate with your corporate directory, so if anyone joins or leaves the company, their access is adjusted appropriately.
Well, there you go. I hope this has given you all the ammo you need to face the social business doubters, and refute their skepticism. Once you’ve got them convinced, sign them up for a free trial of tibbr.