SharePoint to Integrate Our Business Life

Loraine Lawson
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Strategic Integration: 10 Business-Building Tips

SharePoint continues its push to be the Facebook of its enterprise, and that’s very clear from the 2013 release, according a recent TechTarget article by Scott Robinson.

Robinson is an enterprise architect with a background in social psychology. His recent write up about SharePoint 2013 (registration required) shows it, too, with a discussion of how Facebook “de-siloes” our lives.

The impact of all this integration of selves is that social media integration forces a certain honesty about who we are, argues Robinson.

“When I'm on Facebook, the people who know me best—my family—are watching and reading alongside the people I work with, the people I play golf with, the people I grew up with,” he writes. “I can't get away with being someone I'm not: Too many people would immediately notice and call me on it.”

I would challenge that people have some darn good reasons to not want that integration, none of which have to do with avoiding the truth. For instance, I use Facebook groups to limit the audience for certain humor and political posts. It’s not that I’m trying to get away with being someone I’m not—it’s just that I don’t want to fight about politics with my uncle or explain my sometimes edgy humor to my mom.

SharePoint brings this integrated life approach to the enterprise, he writes. For instance, it now includes a community site feature so you can create groups across organizational boundaries.

This raises a less theoretical question:  What, exactly, is the business value of integrating our life silos?

It’s all about social psychology’s “wisdom of crowds” theory, argues Robinson. SharePoint now includes a Community Site feature, which is basically a template loaded with methods for creating groups that include other departments. These groups can generate interest, attract expertise, and create ideas and discussion from across the enterprise, he points out.

“Ideas, good and bad, pour forth in individual news feeds all day long, from a broad and randomized group of contributors—and this flood of ideas kicks off discussion, triggers the spread of memes, heightens awareness of content, and generally amplifies ‘smart’ and ‘stupid,’” he writes. “Some consider Community a plus, because it increases connectivity, not just between information sources but between people and information, in familiar ways and places that connectivity in the hands of the people who use it, rather than under the control of IT staff.”

That flow of ideas has value, he says, whether you’re discussing on-point business issues or debating which action film will be the summer blockbuster. It creates a community that’s open and willing to reach out for ideas and input, and it creates a “relaxed atmosphere of debate,” he contends.

It also creates a place to capture all these ideas.

“Great organizations are built on these things,” Robinson adds.

Camaraderie, proper debate and a bounty of ideas are good. Then again, social media integration may have downsides other than the potential time loss due to idle chatter. Integration of our separate selves sounds good in theory, but it’s also played out with some dire consequences on Facebook.

What happens when these tussles come to our jobs? I don’t know, but Microsoft is certainly doing its part to help us find out.

To read more about SharePoint’s new social media integration features, check out Robinson’s article or this more news-oriented article, “SharePoint 2013 mobility boosts the bottom line, expert says.”

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