We Collaborate #3 – Social Workers

No less than eighty percent of modern knowledge work is about collaboration and knowledge sharing, while the dimension that is still most frequently getting optimized is the area of business processes. Enterprise social networks leverage our ‘consumerized’ affinity with social tools to help organizations reap new benefits and improve their innovation power, also decreasing costs and driving top-line growth. It’s fun too for anybody involved.
Enterprise social networks provide a different way of selecting what platform will be used in your organization. It is not the IT department that is leading the initiative; it is the users themselves. It is not based on a feature list compiled as a checklist; it is an honest selection by the user based on one criterion: Does this help me doing my job better? This could mean that you end up with a multitude of platforms (such as Yammer, IBM Connections, Spigit, Salesforce1 Chatter), since not every user group has the same demands or will get the same toolset. This is where the CIO could play a role, because this is about application rationalization and it requires a broader view than looking at just a single silo.
Although work has changed over the years, don’t make the mistake of transitioning work and processes one-on-one to the enterprise social network. Take a step back, focus on what the outcome should be and then redesign your process with social in the center and the enterprise social network as an enabler. Otherwise you end up with a suboptimal solution: a situation with 19th-century processes run in a 21st-century environment – and just waiting for things to break down.
Still, rationalization – as always – make sense. Do not focus on a single enterprise network to be used by all. Different roles have different needs and therefore it could make sense, depending on the size and diversity of the organization, that you end up with two or three social networks. The link between these networks is what integrates best: employees.

Employees connect with each other and therefore are the integration layer between different social networks. They are indeed becoming Social Workers.

This contribution by Rick Mans  

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2014 update series. See the overview here.