Enterprise social networking can be described as an organization’s use of social media, whether internal or external, to connect individuals who share similar business interests or activities.
We hear a lot of the following words when the topic of enterprise social media comes up: Buzz. Brand advocacy. Promotion. Outreach. Engagement.
When it comes to enterprise social media, connecting with the customer is priority number one (and seemingly priorities two, three, four, and so on).
But a lot of companies don’t think about the internal, non-customer-facing communication that is necessary for day to day operations. Can social media break the barrier and transform internal communications?
External outreach has certainly seen a boost with social media, but it’s an open-question whether social media can improve intra-office communication in the same manner.
The Major Players
Software giants like Microsoft, IBM, and SalesForce—as well as dozens of smaller developers—have all invested heavily in developing enterprise social networks. Many programs allow for integration with popular P2P networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Meanwhile, enterprise platforms such as Yammer, Connections, and Chatter aren’t seeing the same level of integration and popularity.
Many have rightly concluded that increased executive support for enterprise social could bolster enterprise social usage. But there’s a deeper reason why leadership endorsement hasn’t been as strong as it could be.
Open, P2P social media remains popular because it makes direct and personal communication easy for all individuals to use. The key challenge enterprise social software tries to solve is creating an ease-of-use communication tool within the enterprise.
Usually internal communications revolved around sales issues, billing matters, customers, events, etc. Most organizations would handle communicating these topics through email or an IM, even though the primary source data for these topics is held within an enterprise application.
The goal of enterprise social platforms is to allow users to reference data from their enterprise software applications. Transitioning outside of these applications to a separate social software platform in order to communicate with co-workers introduces friction. It’s a disconnect that obstructs employees from realizing the ease-of-use benefits that drive the value of social.
Most developers of enterprise applications have begun to integrate social functionality directly into many software offerings, which offers a vision of what social-enabled enterprise applications will look like when benefits of enterprise social begin to truly improve business management.
To see an example of these software offerings, check out “5 Enterprise Applications Improving Business Management with Social Features” from Find Accounting Software.