Making your Enterprise Social Network (ESN) part of your digital workplace strategy is vital to successful user adoption and for maximizing business results. Your ESN can now even be developed into your digital work hub, but concealed several business applications that are used daily within your organization by different types of users. Your ESN can now be tailored to operate as the heart and backbone of your company's knowledge, gathering information on skills, developing profiles and making the most of your data – up to and including everything that is exchanged across your corporate communications network.
And make no mistake, the era of Big Data is definitely here. Every day employees are flooded with information - in fact, since 2015, we are now creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day – which of course requires a lot of smart management. By having a common platform in place users can define and customize their workspaces in line with their own interests, needs, missions and tools - allowing them to maximize the data they utilize and to only really use the information they really need. But you must ensure you make your ESN part of your workplace in an effective way.
Top tips – things to think about before launching a new workplace
1. Before you add another collaboration tools, thinking globally
To be fully effective, your ESN suite must address business needs and objectives; so think ahead and decide whether or not a new collaboration tool or tools will improve employee efficiency, for example, before replacing existing tools.
Thinking globally about implementing new tools also means factoring in end-user support, plus designing and rolling out a clear communication and user adoption plan. These help you explain the reasons for implementation of a new tool, encourage adoption among users and make sure your employees are trained in the new way of working – and how it benefits them. This is critical to a successful deployment, and you must also make sure it is aligned with your overall company strategy.
2. One size doesn't fit all
This is another key element of a successful ESN deployment – remembering that not all your employees and teams have the same needs, ways of working, or collaboration tool dependency. User needs vary across companies, job roles and projects.
For example a sales person might use tools such as Salesforce CRM or Dynamics, where someone in research and development will not. Nevertheless, knowledge sharing between these different kinds of teams could be very interesting. Understanding what your customers want and need could even lead to thinking of a new way to develop and innovate products – so data-sharing and collaboration again brings benefits.
3. We cannot motivate employees – but we can create a workplace that encourages motivation and engagement.
This, again, means planning and thinking ahead. When designing your more collaboration-based workplace you need to have a good upstream understanding of what your workplace will look like to make it pleasant and appropriate for everyone within your organization, whatever their job or age.
This means gathering data on culture, social habits, digital strategies and individual work styles, evaluating it and building it into your ESN development. Only then will you be in a position to drive engagement from employees and convince them that your ESN makes their jobs easier and more productive – to the benefit of your organization as a whole.
The rise of the messenger as home page
In this year’s ‘Internet Trends 2016’ report, Mary Meeker posited that we are entering the era of “Messaging as the new mobile home screen”. The most-used apps at personal level in 2016 are Facebook, WhatsApp and Google Chrome – demonstrating the individual employee’s familiarity with and desire for social tools.
In time, more business-related interactions will take place on social and collaboration tools, so by beginning now and making your ESN a core part of your digital workplace, you get a head start. As more and more employees continue to use social apps as their default starting places for online interaction, it makes sense to bring their benefits into the workplace.
To read more about the future of social collaboration in the workplace, click here: https://www.jivesoftware.com/resource-library/analyst-reports/gartner-the-future-of-social-collaboration-in-the-workplace/
I have worked for 10 years to promote and implement services and unified communications and collaboration solutions. After presales, marketing and technical manager jobs, I am now Product Manager for Business Together Sharespace, our ECN solution, with the same enthusiasm to bring the technology to our customers with passion and energy.