Enterprise collaboration tools are growing by leaps and bounds, and one set of tools that is changing rapidly is social media communication tools. Enterprises are interested in adopting these tools not only for employees who work in the office but also for remote and mobile workers. Social media tools have been evolving over time, and if that is any indication, 2016 should be a year when enterprises begin to really follow and adopt this technology. In fact, analyst firm Gartner believes that the enterprise social collaboration market is worth an estimated $840 million and is growing rapidly.
The goal in using Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) tools is to allow employees to access overall business intelligence in order to increase efficiency and improve profitability. Well-planned access to these tools will provide better teamwork through collaboration. Corporate business issues drive the deployment of ESN tools and include the need for employees to build relationships, cut costs and increase revenues, creatively identify new opportunities, maximize the intelligence base, and connect teams in different locations. Let’s take a look at some of these drivers on a deeper level.
Employees typically start their relationships with co-workers, suppliers, customers, and partners in simple ways—for instance, through LinkedIn, trade shows, and conferences, as well as through friends or peers in the same field. These relationships can be strengthened through blog posts, personal meetings, sharing trends, and providing updates. ESN tools are a perfect way to elevate relationships by providing an emergent collaboration site that everyone can access.
Reduced Expense/Increased Revenues
According to a recent survey, respondents stated that enterprise social media tools contribute 32 percent to corporate revenue and 26 percent to cost-cutting efforts. Revenue generation comes from collaboration and introduction of new ideas, whereas cost-cutting is related to having a social database to search as opposed to searching multiple Internet sites, trading emails and phone calls, and being able to access crucial information using mobile devices.
Develop New Opportunities
New opportunities can be created using ESN tools. Examples include responding to new trends and responding to them in a timely manner; tracking the competition and understanding the changing landscape; and gathering ideas and feedback on business processes, products, and solutions.
ESN tools allow workers to quickly gain information from knowledge workers and experts, saving them time. Because ESN tools store intelligence, there is always a central repository of knowledge available for different projects. As more employees add their knowledge to this store, intelligence grows and is saved for future reference.
Teams need to collaborate regardless of where they are located. ESN tools make this a reality and include team-member availability at any given time. Being able to collaborate across locations around the world is the number-one driver for ESN capabilities. Employees work from different physical locations, on multiple devices, and, frequently, with other employees they have never had the chance to meet. Organizations need to provide a way for those employees to collaborate and share information. In today’s business environment, a company’s location is not as important as its competence in connecting information and employees with each other.
As ESN tools mature in 2016 and beyond, these social tools will become embedded into core business processes and proficiencies. Social media tools will be used with customers and to share knowledge with suppliers, business partners, and co-workers on not only desktop platforms but on mobile devices as well. ESN tools will also be more readily available in the cloud, which will allow companies to scale as needed and improve ROI. Value-added resellers that can identify the cost and value benefits to clients will find success in 2016 selling ESN tools to improve their customers’ competitive edge.
Does your company use or sell ESN tools? If not, is this something your business will consider due to the growth of this market? Please comment below.