5 Ways Social Enterprise Apps Are More Than Just Talk

by ashleyfurness@softwareadvice.com

This is a guest blog post written by Ashley Furness from Software Advice. She focuses on various topics related to CRM software, sales, customer service and marketing strategy.

 

Until recently, I might have called Microsoft crazy to drop $1.2 billion on social enterprise app vendor Yammer. The business case for replicating popular social networking functionality in a corporate environment seemed dubious at best.

But then I talked to some corporate Yammer, Chatter and Jive users, all of whom claimed measurable gains from these tools in a variety of areas. Here are five ways they derive value from social enterprise applications.

 

1. Streamline Project Management

These platforms provide all kinds of shortcuts that streamline workflow. Users repeatedly mentioned these advantages in the context of project management.

The hashtag for example can be used to tag related projects and topics that can then be recalled all at once just by typing #keyword in the search bar. Users can also delegate tasks to others with the “@” symbol. With Jive, users can also employ shortcuts such as an “!” to pull information into the thread from CRM and other enterprise systems.

 

 2. Augment Transparency and Accountability

Since conversations are hosted in the social platform rather than trapped in someone’s inbox, management has continuous insight into the team’s progress.This also prevents work duplication and redundancies because everyone is literally on the same page.

This also drastically cuts down on the need for emails, calls and meetings. Salesforce surveys show Chatter reducing email 30 percent on average and meetings 27 percent.

 

3. Better Leverage Videos, Information and Insights

Social enterprise vendors have invested heavily in social and adaptive intelligence. These sophisticated algorithms suggest articles, files, videos and experts based on the user’s position, connections, group memberships and resources they’ve previously accessed.

“Chatter knows what you care about based on your activities, making it’s value immeasurable,” King says of Chatter, the salesforce.com social layer. As a result, employees are better informed and can answer questions before they even know they have them.

Videos in particular have a perfect home in socialized business. They are fantastic conduits for relaying complex information and processes, and people love to share them. Since social enterprise platforms provide myriad tools for quickly passing digital assets with co-workers, it’s the perfect platform for making the most of your videos.

A company could, for example, create a group for job training. That group might house all of the videos needed to train that employee, so they could get completely up to speed without ever taking time from an employee. Plus, the new staff member will likely be more engaged than if they were just reading a employee handbook.

 

4. Generate More, Better Ideas

Yammer provides several means for employees to contribute ideas–from responding to queries and surveys, to posting ideas in a group discussion threads. Users receive gratification when co-workers and leadership “like” their contribution. Then, they are continually rewarded as they watch project teams bring the idea to fruition.

 

5. Boost Employee Recognition and Engagement

In the four years since Deloitte AU implemented Yammer, the turnover rate for active users has fallen to two percent annually–about 10 times less than for employees who don’t use it.  Leadership attribute change to employees feeling more engaged and recognized for their work.

“In a company with 180,000 people, most employees rarely interact with leadership,” says Frank Farrall, national leader for Deloitte Australia’s Online Consulting Practice. “Yammer breaks down those barriers.”

Deloitte leadership uses Yammer to pull reports that identify employees with high engagement and positive feedback. The more a user interacts with groups, downloads articles and responds to queries with the same keywords, the more they are distinguished as thought leaders on a subject.

 

How do you derive value from social enterprise apps? Join the conversation with a comment below.

 

Ashley Furness has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. She joined Software Advice in 2012.