In the last 2 years we have seen many companies setting up projects for “Enterprise 2.0” or “Social Collaboration”. Where does this trend come from and why should the economic crisis be the right point in time to invest in internal projects?
The answer is quite simple: Social Collaboration increases productivity. And productivity is crucial for mastering the crisis – the goal being either to suffer only a minimized amount of loss or even to gain strength through the crisis.
But how does Social Collaboration increase productivity? We can approach this question by looking at the definition of productivity: Productivity is the amount of output per unit of input. If we now look at what Social Collaboration does in terms of the input-output-ratio, we can disclose its secret: Social Collaboration accelerates output while it reduces the necessary input.
If you look at all the Social Collaboration benefits that various online resources are citing, ultimately it all comes down to this. To further increase our understanding of the social collaborative mechanisms that increase productivity, let`s take a closer look at the different Social Collaboration benefits:
- Easier to keep up to date and reduce the number of eMails:
A large share of the communication formerly carried out via eMail is transferred to the Social Collaboration platform`s own message systems, where incoming information is automatically and individually filtered for relevance and clustered by topic, thus enabling a structured and time-saving way of keeping up to date as well as very quick processing of the most important information without having to scan the whole inbox.
- Easier and faster access to knowledge and other kinds of resources: Through open virtual libraries all kinds of resources are made accessible to all employees across department and location borders (apart from confidentiality restrictions). All resources are tagged by their authors and can be further tagged by their readers so that finding specific information becomes quick and easy.
- Easier and faster access to internal experts:
Employee social profiles contain tags on expertise and experience. Employees can tag their own profiles and profiles of colleagues. The tags-based search enables employees to quickly find colleagues with specific expertise or experience.
- More efficient project management:
Collaboration tools like shared calendars and shared tasks lists allow project managers to set up an efficient team work around virtual meetings.
- Process streamlining:
Social Collaboration improves the accessibility of colleagues and supervisors on different levels and introduces online tools that help to simplify and streamline many processes.
- Reduced communication costs:
As Web 2.0 communication tools are often less expensive than classic communication tools and as communications are simplified through collaborative tools communication costs can be reduced.
- Reduced travel costs:
The usage of web-conferencing tools reduces the frequency of necessary business travelling.
- Reduced operational costs:
By reducing time to market and creating more virtual and flexible workplaces, operational costs can be cut.
- Easier and faster team creation and interaction / collaboration:
Based on the expertise and experience tags in the employees profiles, expert teams can be put together very easily in a virtual group. The collaboration tools enable effective team interaction and with this accelerated high quality output creation independent from department or location: Documents can be stored in the shared library, presentations and brainstormings take place via web conferencing (incl. screen sharing), several employees can work simultaneously on a document via co-authoring or use structured workflows to gather feedbacks and approvals.
- Avoidance of double work:
Due to the easier access to experts and resources, employees can easily check on available resources before creating new documents.
- Faster problem-solving and decision-making:
Fast problem-solving and decision-making is made possible by streamlined processes, direct access to experts on all levels and sharing of experiences throughout departments and locations.
- Higher employee satisfaction and engagement:
By simplifying working processes (e.g. search for resources) and reducing major annoyances (e.g. eMail overflow), employee satisfaction is increased significantly. Increased employee satisfaction is the key to higher employee engagement rates.
- Reduced time to market for more successful products / services:
Simplified processes, easy accesses and efficient communication save a great amount of time that can be invested in core product and services development. Collaboration between experts on all levels and throughout different departments and locations increases the quality of products and services at the same time.
Conclusion: Often Enterprise 2.0 projects are treated solely as software evaluation and implementation projects. But even more important than finding the right software is the cultural change that needs to take place in order to generate the benefits mentioned above with the help of Social Collaboration software. This means that Enterprise 2.0 cannot be the solution when ad hoc productivity increase is needed, but it is the very basis for mid- and long-term productivity lifts. The mid- and long-term potential is huge and it becomes bigger with every step a company takes in its Enterprise 2.0 implementation. This makes it all the more important to take the first step today!