What are Enterprise Social Networks?
My best, and humble, attempt to describe it in a simple way is “a social network with collaborative capabilities running inside your organization”. From this starting point you can imagine a lot of workers interacting, sharing and working in common documents, well that wasn't too difficult to imagine. But since the “Enterprise” noun gives the whole name the sense that has been created for a business purpose, then you now may be thinking. “uhmm this thing might help me with my work in my organization”.
How you actually do your work
Now that you have an idea of what a ESN is, let’s go deeper and find out what’s for and its benefits. But first let´s see how you and your work teams manage daily in your Job:
You and your workmates use different tools to get all your job done, from email to skype to coordinate and send and receive files; copy-paste to update the last minute changes maybe in your intranet or dropbox; G+. facebook or twitter for communication with outside parties or virtual work teams, each tool provides its own strength.
These real-world scenario highlights two important things:
- Social media's undervalued impact within and between organizations.
- The extended use of these platforms to improvise and organize new ways to get the job done.
The problem using external platforms
Now, what’s the problem with communicating, coordinating and sharing ideas using this platforms?.
Since people inside organizations use external platforms to facilitate their work, they expose and leave sensitive information in others’ storage different than yours. Another one is that most of the employees send themselves files to their home emails or use other ways to share important documents. and finally the time consumed (wasted) using unauthorized platforms like dropbox, facebook, twitter, G+, etc
What are the benefits for employees and the organization?
We can finally talk about ESN benefits and I’m going to split them into the ones for workers and the ones for the organization.
- They now have a common hub where they find everything they need
- They can do their work faster and with more efficiency
- Have a controlled, secure and easy platform
- Have a way to collect, organize and share corporate knowledge in a managed environment
- Reduce hidden cost from time spent in different platforms and tools
- Provide not just a communication and collaboration tool but also empower the individuals and teams to achieve faster decision making and foster innovation
I´d like to emphasize that these last benefits are rarely mentioned, but are from the ones that manage the organization or business point of view even as important as the workers's benefits
The bottom line:
ESN are not just about communication, coordination, collaboration and transparency but about empowering individuals and teams, also about securing and managing corporate knowledge.