Delivery of enterprise social software is a journey that involves a process of analysis, implementation and support. This framework is often forgotten as is the pyramid of organisation components which have equal weight on each leg to ensure that it doesn’t tipple over.
Each component, equally dependent, requires attention during the integration framework. Successful integration therefore requires understanding of the process and people to introduce new tools.
Process can refer to the current knowledge and communication management systems that are incorporated into business-as-usual activities. This is influenced further by company policies/standards and organisational culture. These can be measured through empirical research. This is a suggested method to help see where integrations issue could arise and could require attention. Mitigation strategies are common in for managing change but importantly, a perceptive that adoption requires support to alter old perceptions and reduce resistance to new structures and business processes.
People are part of the process and without tying to be too bias, they are the crucial element to successful adoption. Although they are evenly distributed in the pyramid, people are crucial because they are commonly forgotten in the implementation process. Sometimes management have a mindset that if the right process and tools are in place, the people will just adapt. This misconception will cause failure and resistance to changing processes. Therefore, continual support is necessary and should be delivered incrementally throughout the life of the project.
Finally technology suitability is important. This should be acknowledged in the analysis stage of the implementation framework. Common problem with introducing new technologies is that they’re introduced without removing old or redundant tools. Adding another tool or introducing a system because you can doesn’t mean you should. People are an important element of the business, if not the most important. If they are supported by excellent processes and tools, the work production will flourish.
Technology – Social Office
Consider this, a technology with features that can be easily integrated into the work flow of an organisation and its employees. Sound good? Well then, meet Social Office. What is unique about Social Office is that it has supports the implementation pyramid in many ways that other tools choose to ignore. This is demonstrated by a few key aspects I see as fundamental to the introduction to enterprise 2.0.
- No new email system
- Email is one of those tools that some employees are very touchy about. People want to keep using email but what people don’t often realised is that email is a excellent communication tool but is overused by people for misguided purposes. For example: sending out a company wide message, or even a group message, or newsletters, could be more effective on another platform and reduce the overload of static email/ pushed information. Social Office relies on the Pull system of information, whereby people in their own time read about the company or their team’s process. This means it’s more transparent to the company and important information is not lost in the inbox.
- Integration with the current company systems factors into the effectiveness of the implementation. Social Office has an excellent integration capability including Microsoft Office software which is fundamental to the systems document versions control, formatting, and efficiency to upload documents to the portal (Uses WebDev). Further integration can be seen SOAP, REST, RSS and other proprietary AIPs. These can be fundamental to the transfer of data from different platforms and allows for current data layer to remain rather than redesigning the entire system protocols.
- Access controls
- Fundamental in hierarchical organisational structures. Different information and content producing privileges can be allocated and this can be useful in avoiding employee spam or information sensitivity issues with clients.
- The GUI has very simple design making it easy to navigate and effectively complete an activity.
- The social networking paradigm has raised some eyebrows across enterprise. Employees could leverage off these online networks and collaborate more effectively.
- Auditing Performance
- As it is important to monitor activities on these platform the auditing abilities of Social Office is a helpful feature. There is great importance for implicit leaders to advocate social networks. Being able to recognise who is a leader and who is lagging in adoption is fundamental. Auditing not only can help the organisations see strengths and weaknesses, it provides management with the opportunities to connect weak adopters with strong leaders to enhance their experience and motivate them to improve. Monitoring these opportunities to link leader with slow adopters is fundamental to the support process.
- Search/ tagging
- To have an effective system it needs to be searchable. The tagging method is used in many areas but this could be a weakness as it is not scalable to large organisations. Tagging is more about trending topics. If the system could allow for custom tags for co-worker that is part of your network, this might provide more value. However, for a larger international company, this feature is unlikely to be consistently helpful unless users were clustered into divisions.
From this quick overview, it’s hard to put anything wrong by Social Office. This tool has acknowledged the knowledge pyramid and many of its features support the organisation people and the processes. The feature complemented with the support and end-of-life agreement (migrating future risk of cancellations) makes Social Office my pick for the semester for enterprise software most likely to succeed.
For an introduction into Liferay’s social text, watch the video below.