Midmarket organizations charged with developing a social strategy are focusing on collaboration technologies to centralize the brainpower of their dispersed staff. As bring your own device (BYOD) and mobile computing become increasingly popular, colleagues are often not working in the same physical-office space, which makes tools aimed at collaboration particularly valuable for team assignments and project management. And it's up to the IT staff to provision these much-sought-after social strategy enablers.
In this social strategy and collaboration guide for SMBs, learn how CIOs and IT leaders can use social engagement and collaboration tools to improve their business approach to social networking on both the internal and consumer-facing ends.
This guide is part of SearchCIO-Midmarket's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.
Table of contents:
Why CIOs are botching their social strategy
Just a few years ago, skepticism abounded over the role of enterprise social media. Sure, it made sense to communicate with customers via social media, but what place did this sort of technology have inside the business? Today, one would be hard-pressed to find a business not providing a social networking platform, be it Yammer, Jive, offerings from Microsoft or IBM, or some type of homespun intranet.
The question now is how well these products serve the purposes of collaboration and business transparency. Deloitte's recent survey on corporate culture suggests executives and employees differ distinctly in their opinions. For example, in the survey of 1,000 workers and 300 executives at U.S. companies, 45% of executives said social media has a positive impact on their workplace culture, while only 27% of employees agreed.
Read our special report by Features Writer Karen Goulart on why some CIOs are failing in their social strategy efforts.
Social strategy and collaboration videos for SMB CIOs
Visual learners, unite. Get social strategy tips and advice from these video interviews.
Collaboration tools breathe new life into business
Imagine an enterprise computer system that can seamlessly integrate workers across departments and geographies, enable them to share documents and track projects, and give them insight into the availability and whereabouts of knowledge experts in their organization. Sounds great! Isn't that what social collaboration tools like Cisco's WebEx Social do?
Yes, but do you remember so-called groupware and "knowledge management" products from Novell and the late Lotus Development Corp.? Social collaboration was the dream then, but not exactly the reality. What type of value will this generation's products be able to deliver?
Read what CIO Matters columnist Scot Petersen had to say about today's crop of social collaboration tools.
Social strategy terms to know
Before leaping into social collaboration tools at your organization, familiarize yourself with these related terms.
Stay on track with virtual teams
Run properly, virtual projects have three advantages that nonvirtual projects don't: diversity, locale-specific insights and working time. These added advantages have a price, however. As you can imagine, the biggest cost of virtual projects is that they come with communication challenges. Mitigating these challenges will take not only additional resources but additional virtual-collaboration smarts as well. To mitigate the risks of virtual collaboration and to create a team that works, you must master the three biggest challenges of managing a virtual team: building a strong bond among your team members during the project kickoff, finding the right technology to foster virtual collaboration, and optimizing team coverage by organizing the project's leadership by geography.
The first step in building the best possible virtual team is to maximize the time when you're physically together. When your team is in virtual collaboration mode, the best communication architecture will still fall short of having a colocated team. A smart CIO will compensate with team solidarity. Unfortunately, this happens best when your team is in the same room together. To manage a virtual team effectively, you must closely manage the time its members are together.
Learn more in the full tip from columnist John Weathington on building virtual teams that will get the project done.
Collaborative technology and social engagement quiz for CIOs
Collaborative technology and social engagement tools allow individuals to work together on specific tasks and projects, maximizing business success and efficiency. Collaborative communication products enable both asynchronous and simultaneous collaborative communication; they allow employees to contribute on their own time or communicate progress, in real-time, from any location.
Is your organization taking full advantage of the products and services available to foster and engage a work community? Do you understand all the benefits of social technology tools? Take our quiz to learn how corporate social networking and collaboration tools can foster business success.