Till about ten years back if you thought about software used in offices, you thought of drab, boring, email systems. These systems were quite complicated and an outsider could hardly expect to be able to understand it without days of training. Even then, this was fine and accepted by all as they did not know that there could be something better. Then came the onslaught of social media that has totally changed the way we connected with others.
Orkut, Hi5, Facebook, and now, Google+ have totally changed the Internet. Connecting with others and collaborating with them has become so easy that the perfectly acceptable enterprise system now seems difficult to use and boring.
People wanted something better, and since necessity is the mother of all inventions, the social enterprise collaboration tool was born. A “social” enterprise collaboration tool is, as the name suggests, a mix of social media and enterprise collaboration tools. In recent years, many players have entered this field. While some are very popular among users and others are fairly well known, there are still many new players introducing their tools. The current popular ones are Yammer and Sharepoint. Some of the newer ones are Huddle and Jive. There are also newbies like uKnowva and Exo that are still finding a foothold in this segment.
Though most companies still use the older legacy systems, the ones that have shifted to social enterprise collaboration tools have found the move to be a wise one that has certainly benefitted them. Before the integration of the social aspect into enterprise collaboration tools, all collaboration took place mainly over emails, telephonic conversations, and face-to-face meetings. This has now largely changed. Social collaboration features like messaging and instant messenger have greatly increased the speed with which people communicate with each other.
Getting answers to your queries was a long procedure in legacy systems as you would probably email 4 or 5 of your colleagues who would in turn ask some of their colleagues for help if they can’t help you. This process is so twisted and long that you could forget what you asked in the first place. In the social collaboration tools, however, you do not have to wait so long for a solution. If you have a query, you can check the Knowledge forum. There is a very high chance that the solution to your problem has already been discussed there. If you don’t find a suitable answer there you can always use the IM feature that allows you to connect with colleagues in real time. Start a chat and ask your query. This considerably reduces the time taken to solve a problem.
These tools also come with a document repository that can be used to park important files and folders. They can be protected with access rights as well. All these features make them the perfect replacement for emails. With social enterprise collaboration tools, employees are always updated about others’ activities. They have been found to become more active and participative in the company’s events. They can also be a part of the decision making process as the management can take the employees’ opinions into consideration through the Polls. Interactive calendars allow users to remain organized at all times.
Some of these platforms are also extremely customizable. You can either add new applications as your needs demand or you can link your applications to the platform and use them seamlessly. With such flexibility, the operations in companies have become streamlined, the productivity has increased and the overall connectivity has improved. This keeps the employees, employers, partners, clients, stakeholders and everyone happy. Social enterprise collaboration tools are the future of corporate intranets, CRM, ERP, etc. Many companies have realized this and have switched to such networks and many more are expected to shift very soon.