A Look Ahead: How Social Intranets Will Empower Business Operations in 2017

Teamwork.jpgIncreasing global competition demands that businesses take a proactive approach to their operations. Many already are, and they’re turning to collaboration technologies and tools, such as social intranets, to do it. Through these tools, businesses generate operational excellence and business performance improvements.

highfive.gifAccording to a study from Avanade, 77% of decision makers already use enterprise social technologies. Of businesses with collaboration tools, 82% want to use the technologies even more in the future.

The reason is simple: through social intranets, businesses deliver improvements in not only sharing information and communication, but also better results, greater innovation and higher efficiency and productivity. However, Forrester finds that 64% of executives believe their organizations are only seeing a fraction of those potential benefits.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can transform and empower business operations with a social intranet. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios where that’s possible.

Intellectual Property

Business leaders are rightfully concerned about intellectual property (IP). Hacks and malware do happen. Employees don’t always think about the dangers poised by putting company information on a personal flash drive.

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 A social intranet with the option for on-premise hosting offers protection. Company information is housed behind an organization’s firewall. Employees don’t need to put data on a drive or risk an email attachment; they have secure access to the resources they need. In addition, companies can offer security best practices, trainings and education, further decreasing risk.

Business Processes

Routines, or processes, are good things—to a point. They stop working well when they aren’t evaluated. “We’ve always done it this way” doesn’t work anymore. Processes have to become more efficient for the company to compete and remain relevant in the marketplace.

One of the best ways to unearth inefficiencies is to embed social collaboration technologies within business processes. Employees will quickly report when a process isn’t working. They might even give suggestions for improvement, particularly if the workplace’s culture is open to employee feedback.

Everything in One Place

McKinsey reports that employees spend up to 28% of the workweek managing email. They spend another 20% looking for internal information or tracking down coworkers who can help with a specific task.

A social intranet can cut these percentages considerably. McKinsey notes:

But when companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35%, the time employees spend searching for company information. Additional value can be realized through faster, more efficient, more effective collaboration, both within and between enterprises.

In addition, some enterprise social technologies, including Incentive, can integrate other tools and applications. Employees thus save more time because they aren’t managing multiple tools – they have a single dashboard where they can access everything they need.

Productivity

Efficiency is one part of business performance improvement; the other is productivity. By wielding both, organizations see greater costs savings and profit margins.

Says McKinsey:

Twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing and collaboration within and across enterprises. MGI’s estimates suggest that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have the opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25%.

As noted above, the social intranet can uncover inefficiencies in processes and workflows, while also increasing productivity. Combined, they become an unstoppable force of good for business performance improvement.

forcebewithyou.gifInnovation and Results

Innovation is highly sought after, but hard to find. That is starting to change as businesses move toward flattened hierarchies. They have learned that silos don’t do anyone any good – not the employees, not upper management and certainly not company valuation.

Because of that, they’re turning to collaboration – not simply collaboration within teams or across departments. They are exploring collaboration across corporate hierarchies, functions, companies and geographies and overcoming boundaries through social technologies.

The subsequent results of this collaboration delight businesses. Decision makers are more informed and better able to think strategically, not only about business objectives, but also about the technologies used to achieve them. They map employee efficiency and productivity against company performance. They examine the tools, structures and cultures in place and refine accordingly. Continuous improvement to affect operational excellence is the goal, and the only way to do that is through analysis, measurement and response.

Enterprise collaboration isn’t just a buzzword – it’s a critical piece of proactively managing your business in today’s competitive marketplace. Through collaboration, powered by the social intranet, you can empower business operations, protect intellectual property and outperform the competition.

 Want to learn how your business can create a culture of collaboration to improve performance? Download the “Making the Transition from Email To A Socially Powered Collaboration Platform” whitepaper today.

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