Tapping the Advantages of Social

By Christian Buckley posted 04-10-2014 16:30


With all the industry buzz and competitive efforts to move organizations toward social platforms, many CIOs are still reluctant to fully embrace these tools. Social tools, simply put, do not come with the same controls as our document management systems --  and it is that lack of control that many CIOs fear. How do we tap into the advantages of social systems without increasing business risk?


Some of the areas that should be included in your social strategy:


  • Understand your business case.
    Compliance and governance controls across many social platforms can be very limited, so be as clear as possible on what you are trying to achieve by using these social features, and how your security, auditing, and other governance requirements will be met.


  • Map out the limitations of the platform.
    Beyond platform marketing, there are things your product of choice can and cannot do. Maybe I'm a bit too pragmatic when it comes to the promises of OEMs and vendors around what is coming in the product pipeline, but generally speaking, I tend to build my strategies around what the products I use can do today. If your basic requirements cannot be met (security, compliance, reporting, etc) then be aware of the tradeoffs that you are making.


  • Decide on how to move forward.
    Based on your requirements and the limitations you have identified within your platform of choice, you have some decisions to make about how to move forward. Weigh the benefits of increased user adoption and increased communication against real (or perceived) shortcomings in control and management, and figure out your strategy.


  • Automate governance when possible, manually fill in the gaps.
    This is where many of the social tools out there are still early in their maturity. Many of the tools we've become accustomed to using to manage our on premises solutions may simply not work in the cloud, much less against social platforms that were really designed for mass consumer audiences (traditional SaaS models, many of them). What this means is that you may need to manually manage your social tools separate from your other, more mature systems and applications. Just be prepared for the extra overhead.


  • Experiment with the help of your internal influencers, and iterate on your strategy.
    Social tools are a wonderful resource for helping an organization to figure out where your internal communities and collaboration are thriving -- and hurting. Tap into your influencers and try to better understand what makes them tick, and see what can be replicated from their successes.


The underlying technology of our ECM, ERP and CRM platforms are quickly incorporating the social fabric that permeates our information worker roles. Whether or not you have a social strategy in place today, you will need to have one in place soon enough. With these basic questions and issues covered, you'll be much better prepared to kick off that strategic planning.

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