Saturday, September 8, 2012

Facebook in an Enterprise: Weird thought or an untapped potential?

I was in a meeting with my existing ECM customer last week and during the course of our discussion we picked on a very interesting subject, Social Media in an enterprise. The CEO of this multi-billion dollar company had assigned the task to his IT manager to study the possibility and adaptability of implementing social media solution in the company.

For a moment i thought the CEO wants to increase social media presence of the company, since though he runs a large company, but that enterprise is not very known to people outside the industry domain and naturally a CEO would be interested to increase the brand value of the company by putting-up a brand building campaign on social media networks which might help him to increase the share value of company (that's the only thing every CEO is concerned about all the time :)). But I was wrong, the CEO wanted to bring a social collaboration culture within the organization, which doesn't just rely on information exchanged through email or posted on the intranet portal.

So what does the modern day CEO wants?
Well, he wants a true social collaboration culture within the organization just like we use Facebook to keep in touch with our friends. He knows that today a working professional spends maximum time of his life at work, with the colleagues in office and we need to socialize at work. So can the organizations allow professionals to socialize the same way, they socialize in their personal life? Or it has the risk of decreased productivity?
There is enough push from collaboration solution vendors for the use of social media in an enterprise and there is enough resistance/opposition from within the organization. Microsoft has been increasingly making noise about the social media features in the upcoming SharePoint 2013 and I just happen to attend a webinar from HP on Autonomy social collaboration features. So what does an organization really wants? Do they just want people to be more proactive in sharing information with each-other and communicate more effectively, so there is a 'social' angle to it as well.

If it just about the communication platform, I am not sure how is it going to be difference from various intranet portal which organizations have developed over the years which also provide features of blogging and an internal Wiki. But if its about the 'Social' angle, then I am wondering as where does SharePoint or Autonomy provides a 'social' platform, just like the one provided by the super-successful Facebook.

That's where my weird thought takes place. Why don't we think or Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg think that Facebook can be a great social media platform even for enterprise. In short, any organization's expectations from an internal social media platform would be the same, wherein the staff can post the information and people interested in that information can 'like' it to build their own cluster. People can create discussion threads and they can be archived as a corporate records. Organizations can build and deploy various apps for the users to support various business processes, and the list be long.

One of the greatest challenge faced by organizations today is poor response from end-user for the new technology deployment. This is the universal truth that the human-being is naturally resistant to change and managing change can be really painful exercise. But  do we think that people will resist in using Facebook at work? Well, if the answer is NO, then there can be a big YES from many organizations in the world, who would like to contact Mark for building a "enterprise version" of Facebook :)


  1. I would say there is a clear need for business community i.e enterprises to socialize and network through a Enterprise Networking/Social Media platform for B2B and B2C needs, not just a collaborative sharing and communication platform with internal and external portals.

    Using the enterprise networking and collaboration/Social Networking technology, the registered members gets platform to collaborate in a secure vertical network that connects people around a focused task or goal and a specific need. For example, as
    enterprises try to find new partners, suppliers and end customers for their products and services from variety ways and means. This platform enables enterprises to network with the partners, suppliers and end customers/clients specific to the domain, products/services category.

    Using "Enterprise Social Networking" platform an enterprise can tailor made their personalized homepage to receive content, leads on specific business need, task or goal , join groups and leverage online resources. Users can also select other experts from their specific group/enterprise to collaborate on an upcoming project to share quotes, proposals and negotiations. For example, they can create an activity that invites others to join, devise, accomplish the business need. Where in an individual can also find business entity for the specific need. As a result, the enterprises has gained terget customer, partner, supplier with out the overhead of advertising with multiple channels to reach the target stakeholder. It's a new trend set, can establish new relationships and generate a marketable deliverable with effective partnering through enterprise social networking platform with secured collaborative platform. This new network of enterprises/individuals can also recommend each other for future projects for ongoing business needs and collaboration opportunities.

  2. Great post! You cleared up a lot of questions I had about ECM. Keep up the good work here!


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