Introducing The Social Enterprise

Some of you may be aware that the BI Monkey has recently changed employers and with that has come a change in focus. My bread and butter remains BI and Analytics, but now I’m concerned with how that factors into the Social Enterprise.

What is the Social Enterprise?

Apart from being one of the latest buzzwords in IT, it’s the reflection in corporate technology of how Social Media has exploded in our private lives. I’m old enough to have watched communication evolve from the phone call and written letter, through to mobiles and email, to IM and forums and ultimately to social media. I’m sure the journey of changing how we communicate is far from over but social media such as FaceBook, Google+ and Tumblr currently are where we are at.

The corporate behemoth is as ever a bit slower to react than the nimble entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, but it is catching up. There are of course different needs – more channels of communication need to be managed, document tracking is a key activity, BI and Analytics are part of the process and the type of information shared is very different (far less cat videos for a start – there’s 16M according to this search of YouTube).

I’m going to put my Microsoft hat on for a minute. The tools that enable this are SharePoint, Lync and of course SQL Server BI. The lines between these tools are getting blurrier and blurrier all the time, with cross platform integration making switching between them increasingly seamless. This means you can find a PowerView report embedded in a SharePoint team site, and through presence jump straight to Lync and call the author to discuss.

Why does the Enterprise want to get Social?

Let’s not be naive – the Enterprise wants to do this because it improves the bottom line. There are a fistful of reasons how it does this and their impact is sometimes subjective, sometimes objective. I’ll pull out some key ones below:

  • Innovation – sharing of knowledge and ideas
  • Productivity – less time looking for information and expertise
  • Mobility – being able to engage with employees in the field
  • Cost – the ability to enable remote working allows for reduced office space

Aside from the cost component, the majority of benefit comes from being able to connect people and teams when those people aren’t sat next to each other. In a large organisation it’s very easy to become a collection of departments with minimal cross-functional activity, and collaboration tools act as a countermeasure to that.

How does a Social Enterprise benefit you?

There is an upside for this to employees as well. Much of it is crossover from the benefits above in terms of simply being able to do your job better:

  • Flexibility – freedom from shared drives and easy communications makes working from home simpler and more effective
  • Productivity – finding information and experts who can add context to it is much easier
  • Engagement – connecting with your employer and fellow employees is much easier

Having worked previously in an organisation that tried very hard to get social right, I can honestly say that as an employee, it paid off. Finding help and support, being able to give back, breaking information out of silos – it all worked and made my life as an employee much simpler, and enabled me to connect with people I may never have been able to before those tools were in place.

Are you ready to get social?

If you are keen to find out more, and want to improve how employees communicate and collaborate, here’s some good starter articles:

Enjoy exploring an area which is going to change the way all off us work!



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