Social Networking Revolution

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"Social Revolution in the Workplace" on how social networking is changing the way we do business:

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Social Networking Revolution

  1. 1. Social Revolution in the Workplace Whitepaper www.siteforum.com
  2. 2. “Social Revolution in the Workplace” Introduction ....................................................................................................... 3 Social Networking is growing … and growing!........................................................ 4 Business Networking ........................................................................................... 4 Everyone is a Publisher Now ................................................................................ 5 Going Interactive ................................................................................................ 5 Customer Communities Rule! ............................................................................... 6 Enterprise 2.0 ..................................................................................................... 6 Virtual Social Networking ..................................................................................... 7 About SITEFORUM .............................................................................................. 8 Company Information.......................................................................................... 8 Online Customer Engagement Model .................................................................... 9 “Social Networking for Business” Architecture........................................................ 9 Contacts........................................................................................................... 10 www.siteforum.com Page 2 of 10
  3. 3. Introduction The rapid rise in the use of online social networking appears to mark a watershed in computing. Never before have so many people adopted new services so quickly. The numbers are vast and the timescales amazingly short. There is no doubt this is a cultural phenomenon which will make a lasting change in the perception and usage of online services. Many companies now realise that participation in social media is no longer optional if they want to connect with IT-literate consumers or business professionals. Less clear to these same companies is how they can exploit the new technology-based tools and techniques to boost their own business model. Gartner, the world-leading IT research and advisory company, recently published a report on Social Software in the Workplace. It states “Among Gartner clients, the level of awareness of the business value of social software is high. Trials, experiments and pilots have convinced many that there is value in social software deployment, mainly in terms of improving "connectedness" in their organizations (making it easier to find, approach, understand and connect with others), or in terms of capturing and organizing valuable formal and informal knowledge.” McKinsey recently reported an interview with Andrew McAfee from MIT entitled “How Web 2.0 (social networking web technology) Is Changing The Way We Work”. McAfee notes new trends in the workplace where employees themselves are introducing social tools for sharing knowledge e.g. using wikis and blogs to “narrate their work” and networks news, blogs and forums to “broadcast search” questions which they need answered. The SITEFORUM vision encapsulates all of these concepts and more in a single holistic enterprise model. Our delivery model is fast and cost-effective whilst providing a powerful and sophisticated capability suitable for demanding business environments. We believe the social revolution for business is an exciting opportunity. This white paper explains why. www.siteforum.com Page 3 of 10
  4. 4. “Social Revolution in the Workplace” Social Networking is growing … and growing! For many young people the internet is now almost exclusively about social networking. Across all ages, Social Networking is now the leading activity on the web and the fastest growing applications are those targeted in this space; Farmville, for example, has attracted 60 million users in just 5 months on Facebook, much faster growth even than Twitter (targeting 18 million users by end of 2009). This amazing consumer response is no doubt an entertainment phenomenen and some of these individual successes may be short-lived. It is clear, however, that we are into second or third phases of the social networking generation and almost certainly new applications will follow with similarly huge take-up. An online cultural phenomenon … Business Networking As might be expected, the usage of social networking in the business world is not far behind that in the consumer space and the leading online service used by professionals, LinkedIn, was launched as far back as 2003. It has now acquired 45 million users and is now used extensively by many professionals including recruitment companies looking for professional talent. Business networking online LinkedIn has added the Groups concept from MySpace and more recently added “newsfeed” capabilities similar to those on Facebook. It is aiming to become the global business directory for business and corporate professionals. Many business have looked at the exponential growth enjoyed by these start-ups and are asking themselves “how can we get some of this magic in our business” www.siteforum.com Page 4 of 10
  5. 5. Everyone is a Publisher Now The first reaction of many executives is that they are not in the entertainment or community businesses. That may be true but customers now expect easy and immediate access to information about products and services and their suppliers. They will use these as part of their buying decision and are likely to use them for future service or support needs. So every company now needs to provide good quality online content and documentation. It needs to be attractive, well-written, informative and, most importantly, up-to-date. In some situations you might want to provide personalized content e.g. for specific customers or valued business partners. A good content management and marketing system will provide all the capabilities you need to manage all of this professionally and cost-effectively. Online analytics and reporting will also inform which content areas are most/least used and appreciated. Going Interactive The social networking phenomenon has really been based on the peer-to-peer communications and there are a number of ways that these can be introduced to “socialize” a company’s online presence. In the first instance sites can be immediately brought to life by allowing users to rate (score) content items and to add their own comments. This immediately highlights other users presence, motivation and opinion which can be very powerful in reinforcing (or otherwise !) the credibility of the site. Recent research has shown that peer reviews carry much more weight with readers than advertisements. User Generated Content can quickly gain its own momentum and forums can be useful additions so that users can initiate their own topics and issues for discussion with others. This can create marketing and communications challenges for organizations but these should be addressed rather than avoided to support the performance and reputation of your brand. Wider audience engagement can be achieved by integrating your own online presence with larger communities such as Facebook and Twitter. Stimulating and topical content will attract interest and draw visitors back to your site where they can engage directly. www.siteforum.com Page 5 of 10
  6. 6. Customer Communities Rule! The ultimate goal for many marketeers is to create a brand or customer community with their products and services at the centre. This may not be possible, or desirable, for some organizations but where achievable this can be a valuable sales and marketing resource. Most communities tend to be based around strong beliefs, ideas or other areas of interest so this is where organizations will make their focus. If you are sports equipment manufacturer clearly you can attempt to build a community within the sport you supply. If you are a drugs company you may build a community of interest in the specific areas you treat – amongst medical professionals or illness sufferers or both. Communities develop as members connect and communicate and start to realise an additional benefit from their participation. Some members will be passive observers, a smaller number will be motivated to actively participate and an even smaller core group of members will emerge as the community leaders. All are valuable. Successful communities take on a life of their own and will set an agenda which aligns with the interests and needs of most of the members. Companies who are able to achieve this level of community building will find enormous value in the ideas and opinions of their members and will have built great trust with their members. Enterprise 2.0 Enterprise 2.0 has been used as short-hand to describe the application of social networking concepts inside the organization - driving new levels of information sharing and collaboration. Many of the personal aspects of social networking are perfect for helping staff to get help or information from the most relevant colleagues – even if they do not know each other. Employee’s can create and manage their own profile and control who is able to access information like contact details. Recent social networking “tools” like contact lists and newsfeeds will soon be common-place in many corporate environments enabling employees to have much greater awareness of their colleagues’ activities and the wider organization – even extending outside the formal boundaries of the organization. www.siteforum.com Page 6 of 10
  7. 7. The introduction of personalized blogging has opened up a whole new use of what was previously a purely public publishing tool. Blogs have been revitalized as the new “memo” or diary facility which can be shared with a personalized set of users … yourself, your contacts, friends, team members or entire company co-workers. Network groups can be used as dynamic team collaboration hubs which can be private or openly available to anyone who wants to join the “team”. Documents, discussion forums, blogs and more can be shared securely within the group and be completely invisible to all other community members. Network Events can be published by any community member and shared with selected colleagues who can in turn indicate whether or not they plan to attend. Personal, private and public events are all logged in the community calendar which provides a personalized view for every community member based on their interests and connections. One of the main reasons for the enthusiastic take-up of these tools is that they are simple to learn and fit more intuitively with the way that people actually think and work. Soon all business software will be this way. Virtual Social Networking One of the newer extensions to the social networking model has been a resurgence in virtual events. This has been helped by the tough economic environment making travel less practical or affordable but has also been re-invigorated by technical advances including reduced costs. The option to integrate virtual conferences and exhibitions with social networking and community-building facilities makes this an additionally interesting proposition for many event organisers and their sponsors and exhibitors. www.siteforum.com Page 7 of 10
  8. 8. About SITEFORUM Gartner, the world-leading IT research and advisory company, says “SITEFORUM is a well liked vendor with a functionally rich platform offering." and noted as strengths: • A scalable SaaS solution used both internally for collaboration and social networking and externally for customer communities and networks. • Once set up it is easy to use, and if necessary it can be customized with a flexible development toolkit (SITEFORUM Studio). The vendor is also willing to customize to suit specific customer needs (such as SAP, Active Directory and salesforce.com integration). • Positive customer feedback. • SITEFORUM offers an innovative application store for selling and distributing add-on modules developed by third parties or SITEFORUM, and has partnerships with Internet and Network Service Providers. Company Information Established in 1998, SITEFORUM delivers innovative web-based software and real-time web services. The SITEFORUM platform delivers powerful social networking, content management and online marketing capabilities as a fully customizable and scalable service. SITEFORUM delivers its unique platform via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and international clients include HR.Com with over 500,000 active users, AT&T, Ingenico, Microsoft, Arriva, VBL and OdgersBerndtson. With the worldwide headquarters in Europe, the company now provides regional presence, including offices in Germany, United Kingdom, USA and Canada (through partners), and Malaysia. SITEFORUM services are delivered in 70 countries, and are sold directly, as well as through value-added resellers and ISP/NSP service providers including STRATO, the number 2 ISP in Europe with over 1.3 million business customers. www.siteforum.com Page 8 of 10
  9. 9. Online Customer Engagement Model The SITEFORUM platform delivers true CRM from the moment a visitor arrives at your site through registration, transactions and customer communities. “Social Networking for Business” Architecture SITEFORUM delivers off-the-shelf applications which you can customise and integrate with other business applications. You can also build whole new applications. www.siteforum.com Page 9 of 10
  10. 10. Contacts For more information please contact Germany Dirk Schlenzig (CEO) dirk@siteforum.com SITEFORUM GmbH Walkmühlstr. 1a 99084 Erfurt Germany Phone: 0361 - 66 61 58 10 UK/International Bob Pike (COO) bob@siteforum.com SITEFORUM LTD The Business Centre Henley Business School Greenlands Henley on Thames Oxfordshire RG9 3AU Phone: +44 845 8724212 www.siteforum.com Page 10 of 10

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