Enterprise Social Networking: Talk Is Still Cheap

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The Rising Social Networking Security Threat

End users are more aware of the potential threat, but awareness does not necessarily translate into a change of behavior.

The trouble with social networks in the enterprise is that they are generally not that well integrated with any process or activity that actually drives revenue for the business. The objective for deploying a social network should be to optimize the sharing of knowledge across the business. Most social networks in the enterprise today amount to little more than a less expensive way to provide real-time communications as an alternative to expensive, asynchronous email systems.

The future of social networking in the enterprise, says Tom Kelly, CEO of Moxie Software, a provider of enterprise social networking software, should be to provide a real-time communications system that is tightly coupled to the base of knowledge that drives the business. Using social networks as an alternative to email systems is a good first start. But the real business value only emerges when employees are able to instantly provide customers with answers to questions. Businesses are built to serve the needs of customers. It's only when social networking is tied to business activity streams that the real value of investing in that social network becomes apparent, says Kelly.

Kelly claims says Moxie is specifically designed to address that issue with Employee Spaces and Customer Spaces editions that make it easier for company employees to more readily access company knowledge repositories and subject-matter experts.

The degree to which Moxie can carve out a space in an already crowded social networking space that includes everyone from Jive Software to IBM remains to be seen. But the one thing that is for certain is that "communications" is cheap. Businesses need a framework through which workflow and the sharing of knowledge becomes more efficient. Just about every organization laments the fact that its employees "don't know what we already know." While that's an age-old problem, solving it is going to take a lot more than rolling out a new platform for collaboration that winds up being divorced from the processes that actually make the business run.

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Feb 9, 2012 3:12 PM Sara Sara  says: in response to milkmen

"It seems that most of the momentum in social media is driven by hype or by fear of being behind the 8 ball" - I couldn't agree more. If I had a nickel for every client who talked about "getting on the Twitter" or "the Google Plus", I'd be a rich lady.

I also would echo your comments about ROI - it baffles me that otherwise smart people would invest helter-skelter in such an unproven marketing medium.

Feb 9, 2012 5:53 PM Joshua Jarvis Joshua Jarvis  says:

Getting any ROI on Social Networking advertising is tough.  Consultants have a distinct advantage because they can engage potential clients socially on these networks and generate a referral type lead vs typical marketing tactics.

Feb 9, 2012 6:46 PM David Wachter David Wachter  says:

Enterprise social networking solutions like Moxie assume a majority of employees are proactive knowledge creators. And when provided with a "Facebook for the enterprise" solution they'll regularly provide status updates, comments about what they're working on, and other helpful pieces of information.

The problem, however, is that the majority of employees don't want and won't do this even if provided with a great new social solution. Most employees are reactive knowledge consumers that want easy and quick access to expertise to get their question answered and work done.

However, when combined with a knowledge-building solution, enterprise social networking can facilitate expertise identification and provide a powerful communication channel for the exchange of information. This combination would better meet the needs of a majority of employees and help drive an ROI for social solution investment.

David Wachter

CMO @Hivemine  

Feb 9, 2012 6:57 PM Patrick Hathaway Patrick Hathaway  says:

I agree, if social networking is not built into an overall workflow then it can be too interruptive to be truly efficient. There is an argument that some businesses should not even be trying to use social networks.

Will be interesting to see how this sort of thing develops over the next few years.

Feb 9, 2012 7:54 PM Clive Sanford Clive Sanford  says:

I disagree when Kelly says the only real value" is when employees are able to instantly provide customers with answers to questions". For example on Twitter the best way to interact with potential clients is to go to their search engine and type in queries related to your industry and then answer some of those questions. Build a network for yourself whereby you're adding real value. don't think too much of the instant ROI.

Feb 9, 2012 8:07 PM milkmen milkmen  says:

It seems that most of the momentum in social media is driven by hype or by fear of being behind the 8 ball.  Calculating the ROI for social is challenging to say the least.  I suspect that conversion rates are improved with the right social efforts but it is also difficult to measure and prove.

I have found it extremely challenging to organize the social vision and efforts in small to mid-sized organizations.  It seems that the challenge grows in parallel to the size of the organization. 

I wrote a post about software and tools available to measure micro & micro social conversions at http://www.milkmen.com/blog/small-business-guide-to-social-media-tools-analytics/

I'll have to look into moxie

Feb 9, 2012 8:54 PM joe p joe p  says:

Even if you are not directly engaging your customers you gain a lot by being socially active both because it's an effective means of communication and because your customers and potential clients see you as being current.

Feb 13, 2012 1:20 PM Martha Bruhl Martha Bruhl  says:

I will have to agree with David here. Most employees, from my own experience will not want to volunteer any information, or spend additional time sharing their insights, unless you make this their job. This is often a serious obstacle for small businesses, which cannot afford to create dedicated social networking departments, and can't make their staff to take on those responsibilities on themselves.

Feb 14, 2012 5:59 PM e-lites discount e-lites discount  says: in response to Martha Bruhl

social media is often used as some sort of quick fix for brands who are struggling. It should be seen as an extension of your customer services strategy and as a tool to improve the effectiveness of communication' but communication is a two way street: be prepared to deal appropriately with your customers complaints and handle them with care.

As foe ROI, then this is a brand building excercise,; if shareholders, stakeholders, and other individuals are better satisfied with you as a result of your SM strategy, then it's worked.. but don't hold your breath to track conversion rates for your traffic or anything!

Feb 28, 2013 5:55 PM java Split String java Split String  says:
It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary. Reply

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