It’s obvious that we need to interact with our peers for the majority of our daily tasks at work. It’s hard to imagine a single job today that could be done in isolation, with the exception of maybe being the host of the Golden Globe awards this year .
With the need of working in groups comes the need to collaborate and do it effectively, something the new technologies all aim to do. Social networks are amongst those solutions but one question comes to mind about the effectiveness of such ones inside an enterprise environment. How do we make sure these social collaboration tools allow for true and productive group working? How do we avoid the “noise” and maybe the not-so productive conversations and interactions that might arise from deploying a social collaboration network in our company? How then we make sure we make the most of the time we have to achieve our goals?
From my experience as a user of social networks and also as a worker in a company that depends heavily on getting the right people to collaborate to get the work done, I believe every system, solution, or product designed to accomplish useful interactions must have two features: presence and identity.
Presence allows you to see who is available when. If available, it also tells you what’s the best way to get in touch with that person. That alone is a good enough reason to deploy some sort of solution that by itself saves quite some time when doing a task that involve others. How much time you usually spend trying to speak/talk/chat to someone that can help? And how much time you spent first looking for that person? Presence is one of the first things I need today to work more efficiently.
Identity gives you the assurance that the person you’re talking to is indeed that specific person and no other. But the point about trust and security is not the one I’m focusing on. Identity drives also accountability as someone’s contribution can be traced back to the person for good or bad. Sometimes there is the concern that social communities installed in an enterprise environment would produce some negative effects and drive people away from goals and objectives, deriving conversations and interactions into chit-chats rather than productive conversations. Being able to hold people accountable for their contributions not only solves this problem, but also ensures that credit goes to the ones that contribute the best (and often the most), which is another potential problem some people argue against social contribute environments.
So, to resume, what I think are two features that will make your enterprise collaboration recipe tasty for users are first being able to check who can help you at a certain time and second, being able to ensure people are who they say they are. Of course, main ingredients are not in this picture, but with these two you can at least make an eatable meal.