Openness is key to wider collaboration. But is social networking a worthy tool for the enterprise?

In their blog in Harvard business Review, on The Enterprise Value of Social Software, John Hagel III and John Seely Brown talk of – a reduction of 21% in average- time-to-issue-resolution, a key operating metric that drives the company’s financial performance, Similarly, one of a leading manufacturing company’s business units reduced the hours required to ensure Sarbanes Oxley compliance by 61% through the targeted use of social software.
They write – “Executives cannot help but lose sleep over the potential loss of confidentiality and expanded opportunity for airing personal grievances.

These risks remain whether or not you employ social software within your enterprise. Ignoring social software can be a mistake. Applied against specific operating problems, social software can enable companies to respond efficiently to changing demands. It can provide the platform for scaling and amplifying connections and tapping into the knowledge flows within a company.

The potential result: better meeting customer needs, increasing the knowledge of participants and sustained performance improvement.

At Mithi, we’ve been using social software such as chat and email for a while. And we still worry about the potential distraction that these tools can create at work. But with substantial gains in the speed and accuracy of knowledge exchange, it’s hard to argue a case for even limiting their use. More recently we have begun our experimentation with the social networking software such as forums, Linkedin, Facebook etc. and if the initial gains are anything to go by the idea looks quite promising.

References

  • http://blogs.hbr.org/bigshift/2010/09/social-software.html

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