Why Social Enterprise Networking Must Be Purposeful And Actionable

Between email trails, instant messages, online meetings, and conference calls, there are hours of critical business conversations that are difficult or impossible to track, and ultimately lost. Forward thinking organizations need a centralized platform for employee collaboration, where information is shared and conversations are organized across the enterprise.

Businesses today are flooded with information. Between email trails, instant messages, online meetings and conference calls, there are hours upon hours of critical business conversations that are decentralized, difficult or impossible to track, and ultimately lost. Forward thinking organizations need a centralized platform for employee collaboration, where information is shared and conversations are organized into streams across the enterprise.

However, in a recent report, Gartner found that although social technologies are employed by 70 percent of organizations, most social collaboration initiatives fail because they follow a worst practice approach of "provide and pray," leading to a dismal 10 percent success rate. The usual pattern of social networking initiatives in the enterprise goes something like this – initial enthusiasm followed by diminishing engagement and eventual failure. But why do so many social enterprise networking initiatives fail to become part of the way a company does business?

As much as the ability to share information and ideas across the company is relevant and valuable, the issue with sustained engagement is simple: Time.

In the current information overload economy, where most people have a hard time getting all their emails answered and work around the clock to complete the most urgent tasks, there is little or, more often than not, no time left in the day to check out what is new on the social channel.

What would you do if you had to choose between your email inbox and the social network? Do you have the luxury to follow social conversations when a shipment delay or a quality issue needs to be dealt with? Would you first want to approve the requisitions in your ERP system or follow the latest discussion feed on your company’s social network? The answer is clear.

In a world where enterprise social networking is not integrated with the tools workers use every day and does not help people get work done and become more productive, it will always be an afterthought and relegated to one of the few quiet days at the office. But without community engagement, there is no point in checking into the social network and people revert back to traditional communication methods.

That said, more and more business software providers are beginning to offer various applications to help streamline employee collaboration and conversations, but every company should take their own approach to enterprise social networking and find the application that’s going to work best for your business. In order to create sustained success with social networking initiatives within the business place, it’s important to make social enterprise business processes centric, and therefore purposeful and actionable.

Specifically, social networking becomes purposeful when it provides a user experience that enables effective collaboration around business process exceptions and tasks. For example, by allowing ERP users to post to the social network from any screen, we can enable business process centric collaboration that reaches across the entire organization and beyond traditional ERP users. Enterprise software intertwined with powerful business collaboration tools make social networking purposeful by surfacing relevant alerts, workflow tasks or notifications through the a social homepage and contextual web parts. It is software that truly helps a company to achieve goals through more efficient ways of connecting.

Infor has created a product that we think will help change the way people work, but we’re not the only ones. When searching for a business software provider, it is most important to look for an approach that embeds social collaboration into your existing software, rather than looking for a standalone application. Organizations need to find a technology partner that can provide these innovative collaboration platforms and make collaboration easy, efficient, and the rule— not the exception.

Social interactions are actionable in the enterprise when they allow end users to take action directly from a social feed or task alert, for instance by allowing a user to directly drill back into the underlying application or by approving a workflow task directly in the feed leveraging contextual information.  It means streamlining and improving business process management, not creating yet another place where information can be stored — but a platform where employees can easily find documents and discussions and share information quickly with teams.

To learn more about what Infor has to offer, please visit www.infor.com.

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