Many companies now use social networks like LinkedIn, Xing or Twitter as standard communication channels. Many users adopted them as integral parts of everyday routines some time ago. And systems that work externally can be just as useful in an internal setting! Increasing numbers of companies are addressing the issues of Social Intranet and the Digital Workplace. Thino Ullmann shines a spotlight on the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 and explains the role that Microsoft plays in all of this.
An article by Thino Ullmann , Senior Technical Presales Executive at COMPAREX
Anyone taking a tentative look at this issue will initially be swamped by a whole range of buzzwords. Work 4.0, Enterprise 2.0, Social Collaboration or Social Software, to name just a few. The term ‘Enterprise 2.0’ was coined by the Harvard professor Andrew McAfee in his article “Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration ”. Here, Enterprise 2.0 was derived from the concept of ‘Web 2.0’ and is applied to the methods of using Wikis, blogs and social networks. The focus here is placed on staff members and their user behavior, for instance interconnectivity between virtual teams, projects and the associated rapid availability of knowledge – the “wisdom of the crowd”. Alternatively, it also investigates the optimization and acceleration of workflows within an enterprise. Ultimately it is a question of ensuring the ideal utilization of the potential offered by each individual employee.
Why should companies exploit the benefits of Enterprise 2.0?
This question can only be answered on a meta-level, as it involves a large number of factors, for instance industry affiliation, company size or location. There are plenty of studies on the subject. The authors of the current centrestage.de study “World of Work and the Transformation of Organization” have made an initial attempt to document the organizational change processes from a holistic perspective. They managed to identify ten key driving forces:
Increasing significance of knowledge work
Availability of Enterprise 2.0 technologies
Structures in an attractive, sustainable world of work
Increase in global collaboration
Implications of demographic transformation
Rise in the volume of relevant information
Increasingly fierce competition
Growth in the significance of social media within customer management
Greater importance of external collaboration
Rise in innovation capability
What must companies take into consideration in practical terms in order to achieve progress in Enterprise 2.0?
Unfortunately it is not enough to give the company intranet a new lick of paint. Instead you should provide your employees with the communication mix that best suits their needs, spread over a broad variety of communication media. In addition, you should also introduce suitable rules of engagement (keyword: Social Media Guidelines).
The “Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace” by Gartner can provide initial assistance in making decisions. There are also other market research studies that offer a suitable overview: Forrester and the “Wave Enterprise 2.0 Social Platforms”, Ovum with its “Decision Matrix: Enterprise Social Networking” or IDC’s “MarketScape Worldwide Enterprise Social Networks Vendor Assessment”.
When selecting the right tools, it is important to focus on mature, integral products. They need to slip seamlessly into the existing IT environment and prevent the emergence of any data silos. Many companies already use scalable and expandable software solutions. Examples include Microsoft SharePoint , Exchange or Skype for Business . But there are others as well like IBM Lotus Notes or Domino.
Microsoft is a provider for Enterprise 2.0
Decisions on which technology to choose are particularly essential for mid-sized companies. After all, the selected solution needs to be deployable without increasing the workload for the IT department. It must also provide employees and the company itself with a recognizable – i.e. measurable – value added. The aim is to stimulate the value chain and to improve collaboration within the organization.
Microsoft has managed to create individual products that fit together like cogs in a wheel while at the same time assembling the tools in bundles. This reduces the complexity of the various projects. The aim is to facilitate digital communication within the company and not to confuse users with a whole stack of new interfaces (GUIs). Employees should be able to use new features while still remaining in their accustomed environment.
Established solutions like Microsoft Office or SharePoint are easy to integrate in an Enterprise 2.0 strategy that also includes additional solutions. Microsoft has more than enough to offer here, starting with Yammer as a solution for social networks, Skype for Business as the holistic Unified Communications (UC) solution, Office 365 Teams as the alternative to Slack, and even Office 365, which – depending on the license – already contains these products and allows for the addition of further technologies.
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