Social Media Tools for Internal Collaboration

The other day, I was asked a question by a recruiter about my experience with bringing social media tools inside the company firewall and how did that go. You want to talk about an open-ended question that could go on and on. So, I thought I would add this to my web notebook…

When I think of social media tools and capabilities for the enterprise, I am thinking about better communication and collaboration capabilities. What are the important factors that your enterprise is trying to accomplish? Global company trying to improve collaboration within the team? Knowledge capture and management? Better communications? Finding experts? Cool new tools that others are using? What is it that makes you want to change what you are doing today? Get your answer(s)… Since this is not “new” anymore – there is plenty of information (and suppliers) to help.

Here are the items that I believe need to be done to make this transition successful…

  • Pull in your HR, IT and business unit teams to spend the right amount of time drafting and finalizing your social media policies. Nothing worse than going down to the path of implementation and then being hit with the IT Security or HR policies roadblocks. They are there – just include them right off the bat.
  • Make sure that you are looking at tools and capabilities that integrate together. Don’t be looking for another stand alone solution. Of course, don’t be looking at that potential one-size fits all model either. Look for a platform that you can build on. You can add “best in class” solutions or the platform supplier does. Either way – you win!
  • Gauge how supportive your senior management team is with this endeavor. Are they receptive to changing how things get done? Do they feel okay with more challenging of the status quo? How thick is their skin? How about the ROI monkey? Leaders are supposed to removed roadblocks, but sometimes they like to leave the speed bumps in.
  • Start small and move fast. Goes back to an earlier comment. Don’t try to find the one-size fits all. Making a huge change will not go over well. Start small, start with the capabilities that are most often lacking (by listening to the user base). Get that in, make it work, make it fit within the normal workflow and go fast.
  • Take advantage of the “evangelists!” You know, the folks that jump at a chance to use “new” capabilities, that adopt early and really see how to make things work. Get them from the individual departments to help train and communicate success.
  • Stay your course. It is too easy to get distracted by upper management, a shiny “new” capability or feel progress is moving slower than you want. Once more people get into using and adopting these tools the better off your company will be – you will see.

I know this is not new to many folks… Those folks and I have had plenty of war-story discussions together. I felt like I had to take that interview question and writing it down – As I thought I gave a pretty good (not 100% – did not mention suppliers) complete answer.