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The State of Social: How to Maximize the Potential of Enterprise Social Collaboration in Today’s Redesigned Workplace
The State of Social: How to Maximize the Potential of Enterprise Social Collaboration in Today’s Redesigned Workplace
The State of Social: How to Maximize the Potential of Enterprise Social Collaboration in Today’s Redesigned Workplace
The State of Social: How to Maximize the Potential of Enterprise Social Collaboration in Today’s Redesigned Workplace
The State of Social: How to Maximize the Potential of Enterprise Social Collaboration in Today’s Redesigned Workplace
The State of Social: How to Maximize the Potential of Enterprise Social Collaboration in Today’s Redesigned Workplace
The State of Social: How to Maximize the Potential of Enterprise Social Collaboration in Today’s Redesigned Workplace
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The State of Social: How to Maximize the Potential of Enterprise Social Collaboration in Today’s Redesigned Workplace


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Collaboration is transforming the workplace: new technologies are challenging traditional approaches and changing the way we do business. Learn more about the impact that social collaboration has on …

Collaboration is transforming the workplace: new technologies are challenging traditional approaches and changing the way we do business. Learn more about the impact that social collaboration has on the enterprise at

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  • 1. © 2013 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1The stateof social.How to maximize the potential of enterprise socialcollaboration in today’s redesigned workplaceApril 2013
  • 2. The state of social: How to maximize the potential of enterprise social collaboration in today’s redesigned workplace© 2013 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 2Enterprise socialcollaboration is morethan just a platform.It’s a way oftransforming businessprocesses andreleasing the power ofyour data and humancapital by bringingconsumer-like digitalexperiences to theenterprise.In a recent global Avanade survey of4,000 business people, 98 percent whodeployed social collaboration havebenefitted from it, but are we missing outon the full potential of what thistechnology can do? Is our preoccupationwith technology getting in the way ofseeing social collaboration as somethingmuch more important: as a route toredesigning the way we all do business?This whitepaper is a guide to getting thebest from social collaboration, but beforeyou read on, leave your preconceptionsabout social collaboration ‘technology’ atthe door and think instead about yourpeople, your processes and how socialcollaboration can bring aboutorganizational change across yourbusiness units.Introduction: Why social?We’ve been sold the dream of smoother,flatter corporate hierarchies, enabled bycollaborative wonder-technologies. Firstcame the social networking revolution,starring Facebook, LinkedIn®, Twitter andhundreds of millions of consumers.Today, the dust has settled andemployees across the globe areaccustomed to a new way of working,one of instant status updates, easy-to-use interfaces and simple onlinecommunication.New technologies and trends aredisrupting conventional business norms,challenging traditional processes andchanging the way work gets done. Asenterprises become more digitized andvirtual borders diminish, new approachesare needed within the work place –Avanade’s name for this change in howenterprises operate is ‘WorkRedesigned’, and it is shaping the wayemployees go about their daily worklives, and in turn, changing the wayorganizations do business.But there remains a barrier in mostbusinesses. The barrier is between yourpeople and the knowledge they need toaccess. This knowledge could be indigital, analogue or human form. Yourpeople use, modify and manipulate dataevery day, but unless you are using asocial collaboration solution (and using itwell), a lot of crucial information could beleft unknowable.Here’s an example. A law firm’s contractexpert in Boston needs local advice onTelenor picks up the WoW factorTelenor is Norway’s largest telecommunications company, with operations acrossEurope, Scandinavia and Asia. With more than 200 million subscribers it is alsoone of the world’s largest mobile phone networks.Telenor uses an Avanade social collaboration solution known internally as ‘WoW’(Way of Work) to help it push down costs, share best practices, reduce itsenvironmental impact and better utilize its resources and time. With 93 percent ofall staff fully connected to the WoW solution and an impressive 1.7 million hits inthe first six months since launching, Telenor has achieved its goal of fostering a‘one company’ culture that connects employees and allows collaboration and opencommunication. So far, Telenor has achieved:• A 20 percent increase in knowledge sharing.• A decrease in travel by 20 percent, saving millions of Kroner in costs,200 days of travel and a 1-ton CO2 saving per employee per year.• Most importantly, Telenor has forged new connections across physicaland organizational borders.
  • 3. The state of social: How to maximize the potential of enterprise social collaboration in today’s redesigned workplace© 2013 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 3corporate regulations in Thailand from acolleague within the same organization –they can begin by contacting the relevantlocal office, but how do they begin theirsearch if there are hundreds or eventhousands of potential contacts to searchthrough? Social collaboration providesthe best way to leverage the knowledge,ideas and people-power stored up withinyour organization.The benefits corporate social networkingoffers — smarter, faster and easierinternal collaboration — would seem tobe highly desirable to most businesses.Yet, as we will see, a significantproportion of organizations are yet toadopt social collaboration solutions.Some cite time-wasting, with employeenotice boards and messaging systemsbecoming overwhelmed by opinions andtangential topics, as a principal concern.For others it’s a lack of focused andactionable results, or questions over ROIto prove the business case for greater ITinvestment in collaboration.Looking at the greatest myths ofenterprise social collaboration, most arerooted in the technical aspects ofdeployment. In fact, social collaborationis much less a technological pursuit andfar more a ‘people’ initiative. Ultimately,this technology is a way to get youremployees working together better. It’sabout helping you transform yourbusiness processes into something muchmore effective and, in doing so,harnessing your human capital andtransforming your business processes.Adoption: The state of social todayLet’s look at the current status. InFebruary 2013, Avanade, together withresearch house Vanson Bourne, asked4,000 business people fromorganizations of 500 or more employeesabout their social collaboration usageand attitudes. The sample included everylevel of employee, from board membersto graduate trainees.One of the immediate findings from thesurvey is that social collaboration is apopular solution. When asked ‘has yourcompany adopted enterprise socialnetworking technologies?’ 68 percentrevealed they had, while only 32 percenthad not. However, when analyzing thedata platform by platform, we find onepossible reason for this higher-than-expected adoption rate. Facebook is themost popular social platform used forcollaborative purposes. However, theworld’s most prominent social networklacks many crucial collaboration features— including file-sharing and subjectmatter expert search — so it isreasonable to question whether it cantruly be classed as an enterprise socialcollaboration tool. The organizationswhich solely depend on Facebook (43percent of those who have adoptedsocial collaboration) could be missing anopportunity to harness the power of theirpeople as effectively as possible.So who is driving social collaborationimplementations? Perhaps surprisingly,it’s not IT departments. Corporateinitiatives (54 percent), marketing-ledadoption (41 percent) and user-driveninitiatives (32 percent) all ranked aheadof IT department-led pursuits. Ofparticular interest is the percentage ofrespondents that indicated demand wasdriven by users, showing that employees’needs are being listened to in certaininstances. From Avanade’s ownexperience, the driving force behindmany social collaboration solutions isoften from the corporate side, with seniorexecutives looking to improve businessefficiency and collaborative brainstormingand team working.Those that do use social collaborationare already very happy: the survey found83 percent of those who use socialcollaboration want more of it, and 90percent of C-suite executives think it willhelp them achieve their business goals.The benefits of social collaboration,highlighted in the next section, are bothdiverse and marked. Intriguingly, thosewho do not use social collaboration sufferfrom the very same problems that aresolved by social collaboration. This initself suggests that, once educated aboutthe potential benefits, more organizationscould be interested in social collaborationdeployments.Benefits: Faster, more productive, andmore enjoyableThe headline finding of our survey showsus that 98 percent of respondents haveexperienced real, tangible benefits fromusing enterprise social collaborationtools. Most excitingly, our survey hasshown that the majority of socialcollaboration adopters complete theirwork faster (55 percent of adopters).Fifty-four percent report their employeesare more productive, while others saythey enjoy work more (51 percent).Finding subject matter experts issomething that most businesses need todo regularly and the ability to do it evenfaster and more easily is a criticallyimportant benefit of social collaboration.
  • 4. The state of social: How to maximize the potential of enterprise social collaboration in today’s redesigned workplace© 2013 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 4The contract law expert in New York, theeditor in Sao Paulo, the wholesalemanager in Singapore – how do you findthem? How do you even know theyexist? Avanade’s social collaborationsolutions hold the answers. Take a lookat the box opposite to find out howAvanade can help you take advantage ofthese benefits.Enterprise search is also a vital part ofmost social collaboration solutions. It’sthe tool your employees need to find theinformation and skills to complete theirtasks quickly and efficiently. As such,social collaboration is more than justsearch; it is the place to go to get thingsdone.Brainstorming, ideation, innovation –whatever the term, creating ideas is aglobal currency bankable in anybusiness. Social collaboration makes theprocess of generating ideas easier:• 39 percent of those who haveadopted social collaboration sayit helps teams and departmentsfoster ideas in a directed andpositive way – no treading wateror lack of decision-making.• 45 percent of those who haveadopted social collaboration sayit enabled them to locate subjectmatter experts faster, allowingthem to obtain the informationnecessary to innovate.• 55 percent of those who haveadopted social collaboration sayit allowed them to work on arange of projects, large or small,with external partners, vendorsand customers using slick andprofessional workflows.Redesigning collaborationSo what exactly is Avanade’s social collaboration offer, and what does it do sowell? We use three powerful and complementary pieces of software – MicrosoftSharePoint, NewsGator®and Yammer – to create one cohesive ecosystem.SharePoint is the de facto collaboration and sharing tool for the enterprise, in factit’s likely you already use it in your business or have purchased licenses.NewsGator was born in 2004 and has grown to be a leader in knowledge sharing,collaboration, and enterprise-class social business software, with more than fourmillion paying users across the world. Finally, Yammer, the popular internalmicroblogging service for corporations, adds the social side of the equation.Together, these powerful tools provide everything an organization needs toharness the power of social collaboration.Why Avanade?Why choose Avanade for your enterprise social collaboration project? We have aunique viewpoint on social enterprise technology and implementations, formedthrough our proven expertise with all Microsoft products and our deepunderstanding of business processes. Together they take us a clear step ahead ofour competitors.We have industry-leading change enablement skills, helping companies throughthe complex process of transformation and re-adjustment. We can confidently callourselves experts because we have more than just IT technology knowledge, wehave the business acumen to understand what makes organizations tick. Ourexperience design and user interface teams then bring the all-important usabilityelement to help social collaboration systems work for your people. It’s clear ourclients love what we do: we’ve earned a 97 percent customer satisfaction score.62%55%47%45%39%Find information fasterEasier collaborationGenerate ideas collaboratelyFind subject matter experts fasterFoster innovationbetween departmentsBenefits seen by those who haveadopted enterprise social networking
  • 5. The state of social: How to maximize the potential of enterprise social collaboration in today’s redesigned workplace© 2013 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 5With two-thirds of all Internet usersconnected to social networking platforms,expectations and demands fromemployees have dramatically changed.Dull intranets and stale collaborativetools only serve to create unproductivenoise, which is often ignored. In this newsocial world, employees want immediacyand usability. Take onboarding as anexample: helping new hires get up tospeed is a balancing act. Introducepeople too quickly and they’ll beoverwhelmed, too slowly and you’ll belosing productivity. Thanks to socialnetworking tools, 36 percent of surveyrespondents said they were able to helpnew employees get up to speed in theirrole more effectively. That’s just anotherexample of how social collaborationhelps keep the balance inside theenterprise.Barriers: Non-adopters and thecollaboration contradictionsAs has been identified earlier, 32 percentof survey respondents have yet to adoptany type of social collaboration. It’s truethat adoption of relatively youngtechnologies is rarely straightforward, butwhy are these organizations yet toembrace enterprise social networking?Thirty-seven percent of non-adopters saythey have overlooked social collaborationuntil now because they ‘do notunderstand how it would help them dotheir jobs’, lending weight to the idea thateducation may help increase uptake (orat the very least raise awareness of thepotential benefits). Furthermore, 52percent say it ‘does not fit their corporateneed’. When we consider the impactgreater awareness could have (aroundhow social collaboration can helpcompanies achieve business goals andenable individuals to perform moreeffectively) it is feasible that many non-adopters could be persuaded toreconsider social collaboration.It might be tempting to suggest that fearsover security are preventing manyorganizations from considering socialcollaboration deployments. However,when it comes to enterprise socialenvironments security is very much abalancing act: organizations must weighup the need to govern with the demandfor an open, democratic space.Indeed, governance is just one of themany challenges holding back the use ofsocial collaboration tools. Our surveyfound lack of budget, lack of training andan absence of support from seniormanagement to be the biggest barriers,while resistance from employees to adoptsits in fourth place.The framework to steer yourcompany to social success1. Decide what success lookslike. What problems are youlooking to solve?2. This isn’t social, this isbusiness. Get buy-in fromyour board level andC-suite executives.3. C-level support can onlytake you so far. Plan acompany-wide campaign ofeducation and awareness.4. Understand your company’sdemographics. One sizedoes not fit all.Notice anything about thesefour steps? None focuson technology.Has adopted enterprisesocial networking23%28%22%19%19%21%Lack of training to explain how to use the toolsLack of support from senior managementLack of IT department resources to implementResistance from employees to adoptLack of budgetIndustry specific regulations
  • 6. The state of social: How to maximize the potential of enterprise social collaboration in today’s redesigned workplace© 2013 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 6To remedy many of these obstacles,Avanade has created its own frameworkto help engage employees and buildawareness of any potential newenterprise social collaboration system.Take a look at the four points on theprevious page. We believe in thetransformative and business benefits ofsocial collaboration, and that’s why weuse it ourselves here at Avanade.As a company of some 17,000professionals located across multiplecountries and continents, weimplemented our very own socialcollaboration system, called the AvanadeFabric. We’ve learned from our ownexperience and we want to pass on thisknowledge to help you make the most ofyour new or existing social collaborationimplementation, from day-to-day use tocompany-wide adoption and winninghearts and minds of your keystakeholders.Demand: The future of enterprisecollaborationUp to this point, we’ve established thatalmost seven out of ten businesses usesocial collaboration, and of this groupnearly all of them benefit from thetechnology. But what does the future holdfor this new way of working? Have wereached saturation point or is there stilldemand for social collaboration?The answer, as you’d expect, is aresounding ‘yes, there’s more to comefrom enterprise social collaboration’.Eighty-three percent of socialcollaboration users want more of it, risingto 93 percent among C-suite executives– there can be fewer more powerfulendorsements than this.This section of the survey also makes aclear case for further education of userson the benefits, as demand for moresocial collaboration decreases at thelower ends of the business hierarchy: theC-suite want it most, recent graduatesleast. This need for better understandingis further supported by the 38 percent(the largest single group of respondents)who don’t know if they would like to adoptsocial collaboration tools or not.When asked ‘do you think socialnetworking technologies will improve howyou work in the future?’, 74 percent of allrespondents and 90 percent of boardlevel and C-suite respondents said ‘yes’.Furthermore, three-quarters believesocial collaboration technology willimprove how they achieve their businessThe redesigned workplaceWhere Avanade’s enterprise social collaboration solutions really excel:Customer & Partner CollaborationWe integrate customers and partners directly into business processes and valuechains through customer-driven support portals and integrated communicationsstreams.Knowledge ManagementWe help capture knowledge wherever it is hiding within an organization; making iteasy to find, use and qualify.Innovation LifecycleLet’s get social, let’s get ideas flowing. Wherever your people are located, oursocial solutions lead to more creativity and better decision making.Expertise LocatorIt is the best way to find the right resources for a new project, and identify andreward experts across your organization.Employee EngagementFrom executive blogs aligning employees with organizational cultures and goals tocommunities for employees to share thoughts with others, get your new people onboard quickly and easily.Social LearningAvanade helps you integrate information with community interaction to providebetter knowledge transfer and teamwork.
  • 7. The state of social: How to maximize the potential of enterprise social collaboration in today’s redesigned workplaceAbout AvanadeAvanade provides business technology solutions andmanaged services that connect insight, innovation andexpertise in Microsoft® technologies to help customersrealize results. Our people have helped thousands oforganizations in all industries improve business agility,employee productivity and customer loyalty. Additionalinformation can be found at©2013 Avanade Inc. All rights reserved. The Avanadename and logo are registered trademarks in the US andother countries.North AmericaSeattlePhone +1 206 239 5600America@avanade.comSouth AmericaSao PauloPhone +55 (11) 5188 3000latinamerica@avanade.comAfricaPretoriaPhone +27 12 622 4400SouthAfrica@avanade.comAsia-PacificSingaporePhone +65 6592 2133AsiaPac@avanade.comEuropeLondonPhone +44 0 20 7025 1000Europe@avanade.comgoals in the future, nine out of ten amongthe C-suite.The figures reveal potential demand forsocial collaboration from those who don’tuse the technology. Our survey suggeststhat approximately half of the 32 percentwho don’t use social collaboration appearto be considering the move. The story ofsocial collaboration is far from over.The key takeaways: Driving-off intothe sunsetSocial collaboration brings benefits thatare best measured not bydecontextualized statistics, but instead bythe invaluable social impact of helpingyour employees work together in asimple, immediate and fun way – furtherclosing the gap between personal socialnetworks and professional ways ofworking.The implications of enterprise socialcollaboration run deeper than knowledgesharing or quick communication. ForAvanade, we believe that the wholefoundation of how work is conducted is influx, driven by a perfect storm ofsmartphone adoption, tablet uptake andthe prevalence of social networks.Remember that today, people andtechnology go hand-in-hand.ImplementEnsureSustainabilityMeasure andAdjustAlign forDesignAssessIdentify & deploy theright tools for youImplement enterprise-wide trainingSet a benchmark;constantly evaluateDevelop guidelines;align leadershipPrioritize yourbusiness objectives