Various case studies have shown that much of the business value from knowledge management comes from stronger “people-to-people” collaboration. While document and content repositories still play an important role in most knowledge management initiatives, shorter business process cycle times and the shorter “shelf life” of information drive the need for more rapid (and even spontaneous) human interactions. In addition, the need for collaboration and knowledge sharing today extends beyond traditional organizational units and formal teams, and often includes interactions with external customers, suppliers, and partners. This emphasis on the “flow” of knowledge, not just the “stock,” is one of the most significant knowledge management trends over the past several years.
Collaboration has grown beyond the longstanding concepts of “communities of interest” and “communities of practice.” Organizations have invested heavily in these new social collaboration tools and platforms. Virtually every large enterprise has adopted Yammer, Jive, Tibbr, Chatter, or any one of the many social platforms.
Today, collaboration approaches and tools are literally transforming the ways people work. Social collaboration is used to radically transform how people and teams can tap into the latest insights, solve problems, and make decisions. By taking the place of e-mail, some organizations report countless success stories about how their collaboration platform has helped them win new business, innovate, and reduce costs in ways their traditional tools never could. And executives tout these efforts because they provide their staffs with newer, more modern electronic workspaces.
Unfortunately, these successes are not the norm. For most organizations, their hopes for dramatic business impact remain unrealized. Typically, after an initial wave of buzz and excitement, the social collaboration platform becomes viewed as merely a chatroom for nonbusiness-related topics and perceived as a waste of time. The platform and program then take a backseat to other projects. A winning program requires the organization to view social collaboration not as a tool, but as an entire business capability built around their people and teams. “Build it and they will come” is not a strategy.
Iknow helps its clients across all phases of designing and implementing a successful collaboration program, from selling the business case through program implementation.
Iknow helps our clients across all aspects of a social collaboration initiative, including:
- Use cases and the business case for social collaboration
- Proofs-of-concepts to capture tangible testimonials and success stories
- Software product selection, installation, and configuration
- Governance roles and process
- A cultural change management program
- Metrics and reporting
- Social collaboration program renewal.
A successful social collaboration initiative has the potential to dramatically improve the efficiency and quality of work, accelerate innovation and new business generation, and build stronger employee engagement.