As the digital media landscape evolves in the enterprise, clearer definitions and similarities are surfacing to elaborate on the social technology so that users have a thorough understanding of the intent. It is natural for the general perception of employees to equate enterprise social networking (ESN) with the social media networking platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) but the key concept of both are fundamentally distinct. Social business networking (i.e. jive, yammer, sap jam, etc.) enables professional collaboration within the internal organization while social media networking offers channels to communicate information across public domains — keep this in mind when actively engaging on enterprise social networks.

ESN lends itself to the cutting edge communication that all generations can immerse themselves into in the workplace. Through the customized spaces and groups, employees and teams can manifest news, information, videos or pictures across the platform at any time of day — thus narrowing the collaboration gap between remote teams.

This takes on a fresh new concept of how employees can adopt social engagement within their teams. There are numerous options to incorporate discussions as well as share knowledge through socialistic hubs and customized enterprise social networks provide an array of channels to do so — here’s a few companies using ESN effectively:

  • IBM created Beehive — an internal social networking site that gives IBMers a “rich connection to the people they work with” on both a personal and a professional level
  • HP created OneHP — employees are finding it easier to collaborate, communicate, and share knowledge
  • Telus rolled out SAP Jam — between the launch of Jam and present day at Telus, engagement rose to 85 percent

The Rise of the Enterprise Social Networks report not only outlines the evolution but also identifies the value:

 

An average 3% to 5% return on social engagement. The most engaged businesses
are reporting a calculated 7.7% business impact. The lowest performers achieved
a 1.9% estimated return.

Improved marketing and sales effectiveness. The top two areas where executives
thought social engagement had real value were improved marketing and sales
effectiveness (84%) and increased sales and market share (81%).

New ideas for products. 57% realized big returns either by crowd sourcing new
products or letting customers know new products will be derived from future
social engagement.

Learning the functionality of the organization’s ESN will drive online interactions to create trust, foster group dynamics, build connections and influence positive experiences as well as develop leadership transparency. But why?  Companies are shifting from the ‘static intranet’ to a new ‘social business tool’ — the world is moving toward transparency and openness combined with ease of accessibility to information. To draw in on the evolution of communicating, organizations are redesigning and filtering out complexity —  it will take time for employees to adopt and reap the value but the benefits will begin to reveal an increase in workplace productivity and virtual collaboration.

In closing, McKinsey & Company, states:

By following a few simple principles, leaders can realize the vast potential of social technologies to engage employees and transform organizations.

 

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