In a post I wrote last summer, I , which I described as "a sort of intranet on steroids" with collaboration features including blogs, forums, profiles, wikis and social bookmarking. A Booz Allen Hamilton executive said Hello.bah.com helps employees easily determine whom they need to contact to get the information they need. It reduced what the exec called "do you know" emails, blanket messages sent out to try to determine which colleagues can help solve a problem. Folks are "one thousand times more likely to respond" if they get a specific email or call addressed to them rather than a blanket message, he said in a short video on the Enterprise Irregulars blog. Hello.bah.com is searchable, scalable and, perhaps most important, it organizes information contained in existing BAH systems from an employee perspective rather than an IT perspective.
His points are further reinforced by results of the AIIM survey. Among other benefits mentioned by at least 20 percent of AIIM respondents: faster responses to queries and questions, fewer multi-copy emails with attachments, better cohesion and team-building, and better innovation from ideas and comments.
The squishiness of these benefits doesn't appear to be slowing plans for social technology investments. The AIIM survey found a net 15 to 20 percent of respondents plan to spend more in the next 12 months across all areas. The three biggest areas targeted for investment are social business infrastructure, social add-ons for Microsoft SharePoint and consulting services and training.
As Mancini told me in our interview:
Some organizations, because of culture or hierarchy or whatever, these social technologies won't work for them. But I think that group gets smaller every year. You have to figure out ways for people to work more collaboratively and productively together. People tend to be your most expensive asset, and if you're not putting these tools in their hands, you're ultimately shortchanging the company.