Riding the Enterprise Social Collaboration Wave

By Arindam Banerjee posted 05-03-2012 08:45

  

The major trends emerging from the industry are the intrusion of social media in the workspace, erasing of the boundaries that divide typical content management, portals from Social collaboration solutions and services, apps that can be served on the fly. Let me substantiate this with a few observations:

  • GEN-Y workforce are coming in large numbers especially into the BRICS’ emerging economies and they are bringing trends of openness and more social collaboration in the workplace
  • The inclination is towards moving away from the work station, going mobile and being able to ideate through “crowd-sourcing”
  • Over 50% of enterprises will use activity streams including micro blogging by the end of 2012 *
  • 42% of workers spend time working from locations outside of the corporate firewall from home or at client locations *

Thus, from both the IT and business perspectives, it makes sense to converge social collaboration with existing enterprise solutions, ensuring that the investments made in the current platforms serve the “social” needs of the younger work force and other stakeholders. Additionally, the challenge is to ensure that enterprise social collaboration addresses the business benefits of the organization and provides substantial ROI without sacrificing the sometimes business-divergent social needs of the users. In such a scenario, the vexing question to the CIO’s office is how to manage the social collaboration in a productive way – measure it, foster innovation, strategize a roadmap, simplify key business processes and identify the ROI from investments made in a social collaborative platform.

And the answer to that is to come up with a structured approach or a framework for collaboration that can address the strategic needs from the CIO’s office while providing vital governance guidelines and support to IT and implementation teams towards execution of a collaborative solution. Such a framework would ideally:

  • Measure collaboration state of the organization and compare it with peers in the same industry
  • Measure collaboration maturity and determine gaps in the collaboration strategy
  • Identify opportunities for innovation arising out of collaboration
  • Provide TCO for a collaboration platform and the expected ROI
  • Assist in implementation of a social collaboration platform in a given technology based on the study of the enterprise application ecosystem.
  • Provide governance towards key implementation activities like deployment, security, content strategy, upgrade and other related activities in line with industry best practices.

Additionally, since typically 80% of collaboration is tied to people and process and “adoption” is a challenge from the people perspective, a systematic approach to adoption would make perfect sense in realizing the strategic collaboration goals. The framework would:

  • Foster adoption of collaboration by measuring gaps from the organization culture perspective and identifying Collaboration Success Factors
  • Suggest communication plan, hierarchy and roles to imbibe collaboration across all stakeholders in an enterprise

The benefits from this framework would be twofold.

From the strategic side, it would foster social collaboration and increased communication across teams, leading to critical information flow and faster decision making, increased engagement with employees possibly leading to lower attrition and disruptive innovation – “The next Big Idea”! It would also provide justification for the investments by offering concrete measurements of TCO, ROI and a collaboration roadmap aligned with the enterprise’s strategic vision.

From the operational side, it would provide key governance and implementation guidelines to help in the rollout of social collaboration while also providing an approach for typical enterprise architecture concerns such as content strategy, deployment strategy, security policy, training Policy and product upgrades and migration.

Thus, enterprise social collaboration is expected to be the next big wave in the workplace and a framework-driven structured approach towards managing it is clearly a win-win proposition for the business, IT, employees and other stakeholders in an enterprise.

HCL – a global IT services major, has come up with a framework that does all of the above and provides a systematic and structured approach to collaboration adoption incorporating the key elements of people, process and technology. Enterprises can benefit from this framework by measuring and managing their social collaboration and in getting implementation assistance for a collaboration solution using the governance and guidelines imbibed from HCL’s rich experience in solution delivery and from industry acclaimed guidelines such as COBIT 4.1 (from ISACA). For more enquiries, please drop an email to caf@hcl.com or tweet @CAFtheIDEA. HCL’s collaboration experts will respond to you within two working days.

(* - From Global360 Surveys and various analyst postings – e.g. Gartner, Forrester, AIIM, Mc Kinsey etc.)



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