Social Business: the New Social Media
Since the birth of Facebook a few short years ago, it appears as though Social Media is around every corner you turn. While we are inherently social creatures, the truth is that we are now increasingly more 'social' than ever before. From the way we interact, communicate, and make decisions- social interactions has somehow made its way into our everyday life- and most significantly, in the way we work. While we once relied on subject matter experts in "silo" roles to solve business issues, smart companies now favour the collaboration of ideas and the sharing of tacit knowledge among a team of people.
As we move towards an increasingly more social workplace, companies that embrace this concept of collaboration that comes from group sharing may benefit from a greater return on investment than ever before.
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What is Social Business?
While there are different variations of what a 'social business' is, the definition discussed here is a business that thrives on the collaboration of knowledge and ideas from a collective group of people, making the sharing of findings and ideas essentially the cornerstone of its business processes.
Simply put, business goals are achieved primarily through the collaborative efforts between a team of people as opposed to a single champion. In order to achieve this, social businesses strive to deeply engage their human resources and draw from their vast pool of knowledge and experiences to drive business results.
Benefits of a Social Business?
The decision to adopt Social Business processes into your workplace can be a beneficial one. Here is a list of the top three reasons to consider making the change:
1) Strength in diversity of ideas
Through social collaboration, businesses are essentially creating a massive thinktank of ideas between individuals and subject matter experts. By facilitating free dialogue and exchange of information among a team of people, businesses benefit from the strength in the diversity of ideas, where the potential for breakthrough ideas are promising, and no 'bad ideas' are left off the table.
2) Efficient utilization of human resources
Just because John is good in sales, doesn't mean he isn't good at something else. In fact, he may be even better at another skill, if provided with the opportunity to shine. Take a look at the members of your business unit. Could there be potential to leverage their existing skill sets or unveil some hidden talents that have not been capitalized to this point?
3) Time efficiency
Business managers may be surprised to find that the time required to complete a project, identify a problem or make a decision may be significantly reduced when adopting social business practices.
What to look for in a social business tool
Businesses hoping to get their feet wet in the area of social business will find that there is a large spectrum of Social Business Tools available in the marketplace.
According to Forrester Research, total spending on social business tools are expected to grow by 61% through 2016, where the market for these products will reach $6.4 billion, compared with $600 million last year. As the potential of social businesses are vast- so are the types of tools available, with differences ranging in purpose and capabilities. Alas, here are a few things to remember when choosing a Social Business tool for your business.
1) Understand your business purpose
In order to begin shopping, you must have a clear understanding of what the business purpose and end goal is. For example, if you find that communication suffers when your sales team are on the road- you may want a tool that will allow your team members to communicate effectively when they are out of the office.
2) Tool selection
Once you have narrowed down what type of tool you are looking for, take note of the additional capabilities that products in this category may offer. Keep in mind that you also want a tool with functionalities your business can grow into.
3) Ease of use
Most importantly, ensure you choose a tool that is easy to use. The purpose of the tool is to help your business unit collaborate effectively in order to work efficiently- not to generate additional work. Take the time to review the product to see if it is something that can be leveraged in your business. Ask yourself questions like: Is this tool too technologically advanced for my team?
How Can Point Alliance Help?
Whether you are just beginning to adopt social business practices, or looking for something to compliment your existing tools, Point Alliance can help in choosing, implementing and executing the right tool for your business needs.
As experts in IT consulting and development, Point Alliance has experience in social business tools, specializing in collaborative custom solutions in the mobile and wireless solutions field. Being long-standing business partners with both IBM and Microsoft, Point Alliance can also leverage existing tools, such as the industry-leading products listed below, to any organization. In addition to supporting the implementation of these products, Point Alliance also offers their very own fresh new social business tool, MobileXtension.
Microsoft SharePoint is defined as a business collaboration platform for the Enterprise and the internet. Simply put, it is a collaborative tool that allows people to easily work together.
IBM Connections is social software for business that lets you access everyone in your professional network, including your colleagues, customers, and partners.
MobileXtension allows you to securely upload and access your spreadsheet style of data so it can be readily available on any of your mobile devices and shared with as many people as you like. The best part about MobileXtension? Your freshly uploaded data is automatically synched to your mobile device so you can start using your data to make phone calls, open url links and maps and send emails with a click of a button.
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We hope that you have found this month's edition of Point of View to be helpful and informative. Look for our next instalment in May, as we continue to deliver Point Alliance news, and explore additional IT opportunities.
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Point Alliance Team