Enterprise social networking (ESN) and business communication tools are important in improving UCC ROI. Forecasts predict that the global enterprise social software (ESS) market will grow to $8.14 billion by 2019, representing a compound annual growth rate of 11.3% in this period. ESN redefines traditional collaboration by bringing in a social edge to it and are not longer confined to traditional email and online meetings but also to social networking functionality such as micro-blogging, wikis, profiles, tagging and feeds. Social components on the intranet are not a new concept, but are beginning to gain traction as more and more businesses come to appreciate how they can improve collaboration, and in turn, productivity and revenue.
ESN software includes:
Collaboration – allows employees to share and distribute information with others including, documents, email, IM, online meetings, video conferencing, webinars, screen sharing.
Content – documents, video and images can be shared via the social network.
Communication – search engines, bookmarking, news feeds, profiles, commenting, photo-sharing, favorites, polls and ratings.
These are some of the functions of an ESN which is similar to a corporate version of a consumer social networking platform such as LinkedIn. Similar to consumer networks, employees and executives can create profiles and blogs so that the organization has a simple yet effective way of discovering the people they need to relate with. While the intranet has been used for simple sharing for some time now, ESN goes beyond this especially when it comes to departmental and cross-department sharing. With ESN, employees can quickly and easily identify other workers who have a particular skill, share knowledge and work together on projects. Some research suggests that there is twice as much potential value using ESN, collaboration and knowledge sharing across an enterprise.
This value can be achieved with social networking; for example, on average a knowledge worker spends around 28 percent of the working week managing email and almost 20 percent looking for internal information, or tracking down colleagues that they need to help with specific tasks. Yet when social networking is used, up to 35 percent of the time employees spend searching for company information is reduced.
ESN allows employees to quickly identify those with individual expertise, avoids duplication and improves best practices within the organization. These all affect key performance indicators within a company that relates to almost every business process such as sales, customer management, HR, knowledge management and improved productivity across the board.
All of these factors affect return on investment, making ESN a profitable tool to invest in. VARs can ask customers questions about issues they have with collaboration and goals they wish to reach. By quantifying the information provided by the customer, VARS will be able to present cost-justifiable details and reasons for customers to invest in ESN. This will result in long-term, valuable customer relationships, ongoing revenue, maintenance and professional services revenue and a template that can be used to approach other customers who may have the same issues and needs.
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