Over the last five years or so, more organizations have used social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with customers. Now many organizations are taking a cue from those sites to deploy more socially minded communication and collaboration tools. Does taking a more social, collaborative approach work?
"We all work virtually, spread over three states. Email can be cold, and we miss out on water cooler conversations. Social networking allows us to get to know colleagues as people, with kids, pets and interests beyond business requirements."
CIO.com: How have Facebook and Twitter changed the way organizations, like Vanguard and HBA, look at collaboration?
John Marcante, CIO, Vanguard: Employees now expect companies to provide the same kind of collaborative technologies they experience at home. Providing the tools that enable employees to share, connect and collaborate is something new for many enterprises.
Embracing this from a technology perspective is important. Quite often, the company's culture needs to change as well--to embrace the ideas of sharing information, connecting virtually with people you don't know and collaborating on documents in a virtual space outside of email.
CIO.com: Why is social networking within the enterprise important? Has it helped you improve communication and collaboration?
Carol Meerschaert, MBA, RD, Director of Marketing and Communications, Healthcare Businesswomen's Association: We all work virtually, spread over three states. Email can be cold, and we miss out on water cooler conversations. Social networking allows us to be social... to get to know colleagues as people, with kids, pets and interests beyond business requirements [which helps build a sense of community].
Marcante: Social networking provides the opportunity to increase internal collaboration, productivity and crew engagement. All of these benefits eventually translate into increased business value. Our social networking initiative is referred to as enterprise collaboration.
Vanguard continually looks to improve its process, reduce costs and provide innovative products. Enterprise collaboration is an opportunity to leverage the crew's knowledge, by connecting crew to crew and crew to content. Enterprise collaboration increases the crew's effectiveness by providing a platform to share and grow their knowledge. It is becoming the new normal for how we do business.
Also, as Vanguard has expanded globally, enterprise collaboration has enabled [the company] to maintain its unique culture. It helps keep [employees] connected and engaged, and increases our ability to share and capture knowledge.
CIO.com: How did you go about implementing social networking? Did you have a pilot program?
Meerschaert: We jumped in. It takes time to build a following so we got staff involved, then our members and corporate partners. [We encouraged employees to] follow and like [so] then others will follow and like you back.
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