Many social collaboration platforms contain lots of features. And most marketing material designed to sell those platforms often has a list of features lined up on top of each other. Potential customers can simply tick off their required features, compare how the vendors stack up against one another, and choose the platform with the most features that meet their needs.
A neat, practical process. Only...it's not.
Offering a laundry list of features is nice, but is each of them essential for your organization? Are some of them "nice-to-haves" rather than "must-haves?" How do you know what's essential and what's not? Did people in your organization weigh in during the evaluation process? Do they know which features are essential in an enterprise social network?
Everyone should have questions about the process, including some that aren't about features but about the expectations and the vision of your enterprise social network. These questions should help shape the vision of how you would like your organization to connect, communicate and collaborate.
And that vision has very little to do with features and everything to do with overall company goals. In short - you need to know your communication and collaboration challenges before you evaluate an enterprise social network.
So, what is your collaboration challenge?
Is it files? Do you need to get a better handle on file management? Are there too many file sharing apps cluttering your desktop suffering from platform fatigue? Are you struggling with a messy SharePoint installation? Or is your server bogged down and unmanageable? Do you have old files on an intranet that nobody ever uses?
What about synchronization?
Or is your main obstacle getting two or more departments to work more closely together? Are they geographically spread out, on different continents and in different time zones? What, exactly, do these departments need to collaborate on? What is the current work process, and does everyone do things the same way?
These are just a few of the questions to ask and get your team or department thinking about the organization's bigger collaboration vision and needs. Identifying your challenges and goals is the first step in choosing the best enterprise social network platform and collaboration tools.
Without a specified and very precise collaboration challenge, it's difficult to pick the right tool and identify the best way for your entire organization to work together. Many intranets - even social ones - stay unused because no one knows exactly what problem they're solving. Or how - that huge list of features is somewhat useless unless you know what to use them for.
So, the first step to adopting an enterprise social network is nailing down your collaboration challenge; then it's time to start looking for a collaboration platform that best matches your needs. And once you've identified a tool that might be a good fit, then - and only then - start kicking the tires. Take the technology for a test drive; give the features, the extras, the technology and other stuff - the "nice-to-have" stuff - a try to make sure it solves your challenge.
A feature list is nice. A road plan is nicer. But a clear vision of where you want to be is the nicest of them all.
Have your collaboration vision clearly mapped out and decide if your organization needs a enterprise social network to help get you there.
Not sure if you're ready for a enterpise social network and need more in-depth prompts and specific questions to help you assess your readiness? Download our free checklist.
Incentive is a leading provider of a complete, socially powered enterprise collaboration platform for mid-market organizations and enterprise teams that want to achieve improved profitability, increased efficiency and accelerated business results. With an easy-to-use interface, Incentive’s platform enables businesses to capture, collaborate and secure knowledge all in one place by tapping the power of their employees – the collective brain trust – to be better, stronger and faster than their competitors. Designed for organizations using Microsoft apps, architecture and services, Incentive allows users to take advantage of existing workflow apps, storage systems, and document management tools such as SharePoint in one central location, with single sign on and intelligent search. Its features include wikis, blogs, micro blogging, document collaboration, file sharing, instant messaging, video conversations, social behavior UX and API-based platform for app development. Founded in 2008, Incentive has helped thousands of customers worldwide accelerate positive business outcomes through improved collaboration and communication. The company has headquarters in Los Angeles and Malmo, Sweden. For more information visit www.incentive-inc.com and follow on Twitter @IncentiveInc