MAD Perspectives Blog

 Getting Social Behind the Firewall

Peggy Dau - Friday, August 07, 2009

A lot of Buzz

There is a lot of buzz about social media, social networking, social computing, whatever term you want to use.  We all understand that these solutions, which allow for connections to friends, colleagues or groups, emerged and became widely popular in the consumer space.   Now enterprises are jumping on the bandwagon and figuring out how to leverage the power of these technologies.  Initial success has been achieved in the business to consumer (B2C) space in a variety of customer support related models.  

Now, companies are seeking strategies to utilize social platforms, behind the corporate firewall,  to connect employees, increase product innovation, enhance knowledge management and more.   A key thought, to keep in mind as you consider social media, is these methods of communication are inclusive, not exclusive. 

Social Media solutions are a good fit when:

  1. You want to broadcast your thoughts to a wide audience. 
    You may not know who will receive your message. You are open or eager to obtain feedback from anyone who can view the content.  For example, An executive needs to share his thoughts on the company’s position in the market or the company wishes to update its customers on new products.

    Blogs and micro-blogs enable these capabilities.  Blogs allow the author to express their thoughts in a concise manner with supporting facts or links to additional information.  Micro-blogs require the author to be even more concise due to the character limitation of most micro-blogging solutions.

  2. Gathering information from a wide variety of users or consumers. 
    You may seek to create a catalog of key facts or it may be useful for customers to understand the nuances of certain products.

    Wikis allow users to contribute content with being censored.  This brings unbiased thoughts and definitions together for common review.  Customer forums or reviews are open to any user of a product or service.  They allow the users to comment freely on their experience with the product or service.

  3. Collaboration across business groups, skill sets, or geography. 
    It is often necessary to reach out across the enterprise to find relevant resources and share project files.  Social networks (or perhaps a better term with in the enterprise, is collaboration network) simplify an employees ability to find, connect and communicate with the necessary resources.
Social media solutions can enhance existing platforms such as SharePoint or LotusNotes with features such as micro-blogging, embedded internal or external RSS feeds, employee profiles, employee networks, or status & activity updates.

What are your goals?  Can social media help you achieve them? 

What's your perspective?