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Enterprise social network challenges & best practices


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There are inherent challenges in adopting Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) within an organization to manage organizational knowledge. However these challenges could be managed using certain best practices which need to be adhered to ensure adoption and smooth roll out.

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Enterprise social network challenges & best practices

  1. 1. Best Practices Challenges and Best Practices for Knowledge Management using Enterprise Social NetworksEnterprise Social Network Adoption Challengesand Best Practices
  2. 2. Best PracticesOverviewMost enterprises looking to deploy Enterprise Social Network Platforms are extremely cautious about adopting one. The mainquestions that emerge in their mind are: 1. What if this becomes a platform for grapevine or gossip instead of productive and professional activity? 2. How to control or monitor the enterprise social media conversations in a open and professional manner without invading privacy of an individual at work place? 3. Should we push the social collaboration or shall the business let the social conversations happen on their own and remain unseen without nudging the collaboration in the work place? 4. How will we control or report abuse as and when it happens? What if this snowballs into a contractual or political issue? 5. Can company secrets be leaked? Invite law suits or similar such events?The list goes on and on....In most cases these concerns are not as big as they are made out to be. However these continue toremain challenges for adoption of the Enterprise Social Networks within businesses as a means for Better Knowledge Management.ChallengesThere are several challenges faced by Management while deploying Enterprise Social Network patterns for workforce. Most of thesechallenges spiral into strong perception of deployment of Enterprise Social Networks being risky with potential to create unwantedchaos. The message around how it can dramatically change the Knowledge Management culture is often hidden in the variousperceptions that are formed around its adoption.Through this table below we have highlighted some of the challenges faced and why these challenges are more around theperception instead of real risks or concerns. Perceived Challenges Management may Why the risks/concern is legitimate but is more of a face while deploying Enterprise Social perception and can be mitigated by understanding it clearly Networks first before Best Practices are applied. Inappropriate content and abuse on the Internet is anonymous. One can be who they wish to be. This is social conversations enabled in the not the case with Enterprise Social Networks and conversations. enterprise 1. Identity is revealed in case of a Business social network that ensures that User identity is visible and managed correctly 2. Within the business community a form of "Self Policing" emerges and becomes the norm that allows offensive comments to not only be spotted by others but acts as a deterrent for any trouble makers. 3. In business social network the formal managers and leaders also participate. This automatically ensures that the followers are aware of being monitored and counseled in case they over step. 4. Younger workforce is social media savvy and learning
  3. 3. Best Practices slowly how to behave on social media. The same consciousness is carried over to social networks.Content is inaccurate 1. As long as the content put by employees and leaders on enterprise social network is open for scrutiny chances are that inaccurate content will be spotted much sooner and pointed out by other work force.Content that is put on social wallconversations even though it is 2. However it is important that some form of workflow or moderation is also put in place for document posts, audioprofessional activity and inappropriate and video initially so that the message is clear thatmay be inaccurate representation of inaccurate content is being watched.facts and can either confuse or misleadthe work force.Too much transparency 1. This is very much a legitimate concern but transparency can be managed well and can lead to a strong brand andThere are often concerns that too much perception of a open and transparent organization.about the company and its policies orday to day decisions is "going out" and 2. Educating the workforce clear non negotiable when it comes to posting company documents or information cancan lead to too much transparency and be outlined by HR teams.problems in workplace because of it. 3. Managers and Leaders are also part of the social conversations and can monitor any violations and raise and counsel over a period of time to minimize such occurrences. 4. On the contrary, the transparency and social chatter around HR policies or similar other events is a great input to Management provided this is reported, understood and responded positively.Insufficient Facilitation of Participation One of the main challenges is also that management is not(By Management) equipped to encourage or foster participation. Management needs to work with employees in terms of communicating that the Social Network deployment is not just a new technology development but also a new way or culture of doing daily communication and participation. Management needs to be involved much more heavily in declaring and nurturing Communities of Practices (CoPs) within the business.High Barriers to Participation (By High barrier for participation means that people do not easilyemployees) contribute to online discussions and share their knowledge publicly. There are multiple reasons for this kind of behavior: not being used to using one’s own name in online communities can cause shyness, and the communication culture of the organization may be too formal and hierarchical to allow for low-barrier contributions and unstructured participation. The most important reason for having a high barrier for participation, however, is the fact that the participation is not encouraged enough by the platform, the content or effective
  4. 4. Best Practices community management. Management must make sure that employees have clear understanding of their own rights and responsibilities as activeA users of the new systems. lot oftheconcerns related to risks of Social Media are legitimate concerns but these risks and concerns are actually on closer view muchunfoveral reasons for this: Best Practices Integrate Social Network into Business Ways of Working The Social Network should not just become a set of Wall posts and updates done by employees in their spare time. Actually the Social Network has ability to replace in some cases existing processes or move along with the other existing business processes to ensure better outcomes. One of the simple use cases for this best practice is move of email communication to the social network thus reducing clutter. For e.g. status meeting reports can simply be published as a announcement alert or wall posting to a large number of users instead of a select few. This will involve entire teams and bring in a culture of openness visible within the workplace. Make Reporting Abuse "Visible" One of the most basic practice is to make it easy for the community users participating in a social conversation to report abuse to moderators. This is done by ensuring that reporting abuse feature is visible and promoted actively by business marketing teams and actively talked about in the organization before the launch of the social network. For e.g. while showing nested comments of a conversation an access Web UI button to report abuse around the comment made with the Comment name attached will be very useful and give an impression that the business is monitoring and providing due weight age to practice of reporting abuse. Build a Abuse Monitoring Structure In parallel to have a reporting abuse feature it is also important to draw in user community champions and provide a more "Self Policing" flavor to monitoring abuse. Reported abuse features should regularly be monitored by the community champion members and offenders counseled or in extreme cases disciplined. 1. Keep the community of self policing moderators fully represented from the workforce itself. Avoid managers or senior staff that may not be actively participating in the social conversations in the first place. 2. Choose community moderators that can handle the issues with calm and have ability to counsel the staff if and when such event occurs. In terms of best practices any organization adopting Enterprise Social Network has to ensure following: 1. Make sure your organization is not only on board but knows where its going and gets the kind of participation that truly makes a difference in productivity, creativity, and collaboration. 2. Make sure the social media in your workplace has the same characteristics as social media in employee personal life
  5. 5. Best PracticesBuilding Communities of PracticesCommunities of Practices (CoPs) is a well formed Knowledge Management strategy.Research conveys that many of the exchanges of practical information and problem-solving happened during informal gatheringswhere experts of some topic of interest exchanged stories about their experience.In CoP environments, novices could also consult with experts in a non-threatening environment. Through this process, gaps in thepractice were identified and solutions were proposed.Individuals might apply the solution in their own practice, and the outcomes were fed back to their colleagues for furtherrefinement of the solution. Eventually these informal communications became the means for sharing information for improvingpractice and generating new knowledge and skills.Community relationships between different business practices should ride on the Enterprise Social Network Foundation. Followingconcrete steps are needed alongside the Enterprise Social Network: 1. Identify and Form Communities of Practices within the business. 2. Promotion of Workspaces as Communities of Practices on the Social Network itself. These Sites may exist across functional areas and reflect a particular interest area such as "Customer Service". 3. Enable automated wall postings whenever a new article has been added (as announcement feed) to promote the practice area 4. Use Groups and discussions as a means to spread awareness and learning around a Practice Area.Strong Moderation CapabilityA business should assign a team of moderators for the enterprise social network to sustain and thrive. Initially it will be a new toolfor the work force to form communities of interest and exchange ideas and suggestions. Lot of these features are new to theworkplace. We need a team of moderators that can shape the conversations and evaluate whether violations are happening.Also the moderation team can inject high quality content that attracts and encourages others users to contribute more to thisactivity.Linking with OutcomesUltimately the social conversations, blogs, wikis, posts to the social network in a business context must be linked to some outcomethat the business wishes to realize.Shaping this is quite a challenge because more social networks have emerged from a personal context and most users wouldnaturally be inclined to keep conversations at a personal level during social conversations.Shaping these conversations in such a way that they can be linked to a business event or an outcome requires moderators to alsotake control and guide the social chatter.Management can set goals such as "Implementing 5 ideas" this month from the workforce on better delivery of services tocustomers. These ideas are then collected and put into shape as actual actions by the management team.
  6. 6. Best Practices"Measure" and Report Social ConversationsManagement has taken a leap of faith when it comes to deploying enterprise social network within the business. Therefore amechanism to report social conversations and objectively view the insights that these conversations highlight for the business willcontinue to benefit the business and will also help value the social network in the work place as a strategic tool.The enterprise social conversations can be collected in the knowledge repository and using text and semantic analysis a betterreporting structure should be created.For e.g. total conversations of a month can be analyzed and the overall "Buzz" at the work place can be articulated in the form ofreporting that measures different grades such as "High Morale" , "Neutral Feedbacks", "Growing Angst" so that these reports canreflect the HR practices and influence any other decision making.Make it part of Regular Employee InteractionEquipped with better social network reporting, management and HR teams can engage employees in a very different manner astoday. 1. Collecting comments from audiences before a HR review cycle 2. Referring to specific posts or views expressed during Management catch up meetingsSuggest ToolsInfoAxon suggests following technology and tools to: 1. Assist in faster adoption of Social Network within the enterprise 2. Report Abuse and Monitoring of Social Network 3. Social Network Analytics Tools"Pull" Tools and TechniquesBuilding Social Network for enterprises can benefit from "pull" created through a much more personalized and "Public Social Media"look and feel. Employees that already access public social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr etc. are already awareof Social Network usability patterns and features. It is easier to adopt enterprise social network technology that is similar in lookand feel or derived from public social network design patterns.For e.g. 1. Interactive Chat can be added alongside Social Network to reduce the overall email traffic and create a major PULL factor allowing users to integrate with existing Social Network Platform. 2. Rating features provided to contributors to rate documents and content shared through social media. This increases participation and fosters self ranking of content by the community instead of through organizational workflows. These ranks can be attractively tagged as "X people rated this highly with ranking XXXXXX"
  7. 7. Best Practices 3. Provide attractive and useful personal productivity applications such as: a. Weather b. News c. Subscribe to external web sites. d. Links e. Discussion forums f. FAQ Knowledge BasesAbuse MonitoringEnterprise Social Network wall updates and conversations should be treated as "knowledge items" that contain snippets of textconversations describing a state of mind or event. This is precious data which can be analyzed further for measuring andmonitoring abuse on the enterprise social network sites.For e.g. using Web harvesting and Semantic programming techniques and open source tools it is possible to crawl a database ofthe conversation snippets and updates and report through special keywords whether abuse is taking place. If such a pattern matchis found the moderators are alerted.Using a rules engine and a "Abuse Dictionary" patterns will be matched and abuse reported and highlighted.
  8. 8. Best PracticesSocial Network AnalyticsSocial Network Analytics is a emerging science and analytical practice around data collected through social network patterns. Thereare several ways in which this can be done and InfoAxon can provide add on plug-ins to achieve this. 1. Using Open Source tools such as Pentaho, Social Network analytics InfoAxon plug-in can be used to direct "Social Network" activity feeds to analytical tools. Using these plug-ins these activity feeds are analyzed against a rules engine and: a. Abuse, usability patterns, social media metrics can be measured. b. What content is being shared and where (from which site and users) this is being shared with the social network. c. How many "abuse" patterns are originating from each site and which site users are most "abusive" on enterprise social network. 2. "Listening" platform and Dashboard that shows violations and activity feeds with such violations being trapped and shown real time to the users. The Dashboard will consist of a. Abuse reporting dashlets that allow administrators to view entire links of abusing content posted. Administrators can then moderate and flag comment as abusive and remove it from the social network.
  9. 9. Best PracticesOur Customer Showcase
  10. 10. About InfoAxon Technologies InfoAxon is a leading provider of enterprise services and business solutions powered by open source. We design, architect and support complete “Enterprise Solution Platforms” using Open Standards, Web 2.0 next generation technologies and Open Source Frameworks providing end-to-end solutions to business problems. India’s First Global Open Source Integration Company We are Indias First Global Open Source Integration Company providing business solutions in areas of Content & Knowledge Management, Web2.0 Collaboration and Business Intelligence powered by our unique open source ‘Platforming’ expertise.INDIA OFFICE: UK OFFICE:InfoAxon Technologies Ltd. InfoAxon Technologies UK Ltd.A-105, Sector-63, Building A, Trinity Court,Electronic City, Wokingham Road,NODIA-201307, U.P Bracknell, Berkshire RG42 1PL,India United KingdomPhone:+91 120 4350040, Phone: +44 1344 668048,Fax:+ 91 120 4350065 Fax: +44 1344 668148Website: | Blog: | E-mail: