Collaborative Working

Marissa Mayer is Wrong - Employees Can Be Productive Remotely

Today, with mobile devices and ubiquitous wifi, we are connected to each other like never before. Whether you are at 30,000 feet in a plane or on a camel in Dubai, you can connect with your friends, your family, your coworkers and share your thoughts and experiences.  There is no more waiting until the evening news or “wait until your father gets home…” for action to transpire. 

Everything is instantaneous.  Ideas, opinions, questions, solutions – all communicated in real time from anywhere.   One can argue that this is not necessarily a good thing, but it is certainly the reality in which we live.  The ability to get our jobs done and manage our increasingly complex lives is in “the now” and technology is the new air we breathe.

But how do we successfully integrate the need for being more social and open in our personal lives, to being more transparent in our work environments?  How can we become as engaged in work, as much as we are engaged outside of work? 

In their 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, Gallup Research shows that companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS) and seem to have recovered from the recession at a faster rate. In a recent study, Gallup examined 49 publicly traded  companies with EPS data available from 2008-2012 and Q12 data available from 2010 and/or 2011 in its database and found that organizations with a critical mass of engaged employees outperformed their competition, compared with those that did not maximize their employees’ potential.

Nurturing and developing a social business through the use of collaboration technology, such as enterprise social networks (ESNs) is the way enterprises need to engage their remote workers, bringing conversations into the workplace and sparking new instances of innovation – regardless of where those workers are physically located. ESNs look and feel like the platforms we use to be social outside the enterprise and because of this, they are more likely to be adopted in the office as an engagement tool.

According to a recent paper by MIT’s Sloane School of Business Management, Social  Business: Shifting out of First Gear, leadership support, measurement capability, content, and appropriate processes are must-haves for social business success. To spur and maintain the adoption of social, companies are systematically nurturing it. Company leaders are driving a conversational culture in very hands-on ways, including using social media themselves.

Successful social business efforts can change the way work gets done, and processes need to be designed to assure its adoption and success. While the discipline of measuring the effects of social business are evolving, there are tools which provide a basic understanding of an enterprise’s social environment; who is collaborating and on what, who the key influencers are, and where there may be pockets of success that can help form best practices and increase overall adoption.

ESNs like Yammer, Jive, Chatter, and Tibbr have changed the way we work.  Adoption of these social collaboration platforms correlates with increased innovation, improved employee engagement, faster times to market, and overall strides in innovation.

To date, it has been difficult to measure how workers are using these technologies, which groups of workers are benefiting from the increase in the connectivity of ideas provided by these technologies, and how to create repeatable instances where the technology is working and indeed thriving in a group, department, or across the entire enterprise.

Many Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) have rudimentary analytics, if any at all and they are always platform specific. In other words, they look at one platform at a time, not across the enterprise.  For example, Yammer will provide basic user statistics for Yammer users only. But, most organizations are using three to five collaboration tools across their enterprise; say Yammer for general company communications, Chatter for their Sales team, Tibbr for accounting and finance, the list goes on.

The reporting functionality to understand what is going on across the enterprise often means the time-consuming process of converting raw data from one or more of these platforms  into a spreadsheet or other business intelligence tools to be effectively consumed and understood.

So when you think about your New Year’s resolutions this year, bear in mind that measurement  will be a key driver for enterprise acceptance of these networks – because if it can’t be measured, it can’t succeed.



Claudine Bianchi is CMO at ViewDo Labs




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Claudine Bianchi

Claudine Bianchi is CMO at ViewDo Labs

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