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Social Business Collaboration a.k.a Social Business/Social Enterprise

What is it?
Social Business Collaboration enables companies to use social computing interactions to exchange thoughts and ideas in a way that is integrated with business processes. By utilizing social media-based interactions, users are able to leverage knowledge and collaboration at work just as easily as they casually communicate using social media in their personal lives.

Social Media
– Connect with friends and family.
– “Had fun partying with friends this weekend!”
– Collaborate on a time for an lunch date with friends.
– Photos, viral videos, trending fashion/sport/entertainment/world news…
– Manage hobbies, interests, etc.

Social Business Collaboration
– Connect with co-workers, peers, suppliers, customers, etc.
– “Just got a great idea for the new product design! See my message to the team.”
– Collaborate on a client proposal with your work team.
– Business documents, creative files, industry discussion topics, routings, workflows…
– Facilitate communication between workgroups, departments, external partners, etc.
– Share files only with an intended audience, keep private files private and restrict access to those colleagues and groups you want to share with.

Numbers speak volumes
– 52% believe that social business is important or somewhat important to their business today.
– 86% of managers believe social business will be important or somewhat important in three years.
– By 2016, 50% of large organizations will have internal Facebook-like social networks, and 30% of these will be considered as essential as email and telephones are today.

Buzz Word: Millennials – Millennial Generation in the workforce
today 25% > 2020 50% > 2030 75%
“[Millennials prefer] using the latest social technologies and innovation platforms to communicate and collaborate on-the-job. In fact, the ability of an employer to provide on-going opportunities to share openly and collaborate came up as the 4th most frequently mentioned criteria for seeking a best of breed employer…”
– 90% of people under 30 in the U.S. are on a social network.

Steps to implement social business collaboration in your company
1. Create a strategy and clearly define your goals
There are very few things we do in business without first developing a strategy. Social Business Collaboration is no different. Make sure you take some time to establish a strategy that will allow you to successfully achieve your pre-defined goals. For example, if you want Social Business Collaboration to replace email, detail a plan for weaning employees off email and show them how they can use the new Social Business Collaboration tool instead.

2. Inform Employees
Before deploying a Social Business Collaboration tool within an organization, it is important that you
a) inform employees who will be affected by the tool’s implementation and
b) explain the difference between social media and Social Business Collaboration. This creates realistic expectations for use and helps users understand how they can directly benefit from a business perspective.

3. Let your employees help set direction
As an extension of the informing employees step, when you introduce Social Business Collaboration to your organization, turn the introduction itself into an opportunity for collaboration. Get employees’ buy in by engaging in conversation and let that collaborative process help set direction.

4. Train where needed
Not all employees will be familiar with the social media based computing environment Social Business Collaboration tools use. Provide the opportunity for employees to participate in educational discussions and demonstrations to create a level of comfort and familiarity with newly deployed tools.

5. Empower employees
Social Business Collaboration is a great way to give your employees a voice and to foster ad-hoc innovation and collaboration. Make sure they know you want to hear what they have to say! Don’t miss out on this key benefit by failing to communicate that the tool is not only a means to transform the way work gets done, but very importantly, that it is a sound box for productive business ideas. Create a work environment that enables the new worker and the “new productivity.”

6. Get involved
Lead by example. If you’re involved, other employees and business partners will follow suit.

7. Review and tweak
Even the best laid out plans have weaknesses. Conduct a quarterly or bi-annual review of your strategy and goals for Social Business Collaboration and improve as necessary. If you are noticing other benefits from the tool you didn’t initially expect, add a goal for capturing that activity(s) as well.

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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