It’s curious that I come across concerns about adoption and timewasting in equal measure. People seem equally worried that people won’t use social tools at all, or, they will use them too much. What if people spend all their time on social tools and not working?
One of the questions I ask people who say they don’t want or need a social collaboration system is to ask how their anti-social collaboration tools are working out for them. This idea that using social tools is ‘special’ or some kind of ‘treat’ misses the point. I don’t stop work, be social for a while, then come back and work again, more engaged since I had some fun during my break with social tools. I do my work using social tools. If my access to Connections at work is disrupted for whatever reason I cannot do my job. I live and work in Connections to get things done. I organise visits from our senior executives. I work on closing plans for our large deals with our sales reps. I collaborate on proposals. I find people who can help me with a problem (I’m lazy and selfish, any time I can get someone else to help me I go for it). I steal good slides from my colleagues’ presentations.
Rather than seeing social as somehow separate, we need to embed social working into our existing processes. What does it mean for HR’s talent identification processes? Or customer services? How can social tools help us speed up the innovation process? Can it transform that process by taking creative ideas from all employees, or even customers? Organisations like Threadless have completely reengineered their product development process, outsourcing the creative element to their customers. As my old Dachis Colleague Lars said the other day
“Show me a process and I’ll show you the social business ROI”
As well as using Connections as a destination point to work, we also push Connections functionality into our email clients, our intranet, and other applications. Many people end up using Connections at IBM without realising they are doing so – especially as Connections drives more and more of our intranet search results.
Seeing the use of social tools as timewasting only happens when they are not targeted at business problems. Remember, it’s Get Social, Do Business
Flickr Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpstyles/3091707912/