Understanding the Value of Social Business Software

By Billy Ingram, Director of Lean Product Development, Interface

Billy Ingram, Director of Lean Product Development, Interface
Billy Ingram, Director of Lean Product Development, Interface
The use of social business software (SBS) within an organization has many advantages. Social connectivity, the inclusion of diversity and the availability of information are some of the major benefits. Understanding the advantages and what you want to get from social business software will help you get the most from it.
Social Connectivity
Social relationships are one of the most important and complex components of effective organizations. They are also the hardest to grow and maintain. SBS enables users to grow their relationships virtually without the need for extensive travel. Meeting people in person is always preferred. But when that isn’t possible connecting with them virtually is the next best option.
The value of this new connectivity is hard to quantify. But the ability to create and reinforce the collective purpose of an organization simply and easily is priceless. Almost everyone wants to be a part of something larger than themselves and contribute at the highest level possible. After sound deployment, SBS effectively enables just that.
The availability to contribute at a higher level can enrich remote collaboration and move it to another level within an organization. Taking advantage of this opportunity requires a strong sense of purpose and clear goals. Organizations who can articulate both a sense of purpose, clarify what they are trying to accomplish and leverage SBS successfully can move to the next level of engagement, the effective inclusion of diversity.
Diversity Inclusion
The smallness of the digital world is key to the effective inclusion of diversity within an organization. If you’ve ever lived in close quarters with others you can appreciate why. To be successful living near others physically, you must be willing to work together for the greater good. You may not always agree but you can always work things out. This agreement to look out for self and others eventually builds trust. Out of this new respect and trust comes the free exchange of thought.
There have been many examples of the free exchange of thought through the ages. The renaissance and the library of Alexandria come to mind. Both examples began with the gathering of people in a relatively small geographic area who were tolerant of others and their very different ideas. They shared a common purpose to expand their own understanding and that of others. This same opportunity exists today in social media and SBS. Creating a virtual environment where unique voices can be heard, challenged, debated and absorbed is paramount to aspiring learning organizations.
Creating this space and gathering these unique perspectives and their derivatives has never been easier. It all begins with shared purpose, tolerance and sharing a small space. The value organizations generate as they leverage this new capability is as varied as they are. Here are some examples to get you started.
Hoshin Kanri (Strategy Deployment)
The alignment of an organization’s people and resources with its short term and long-term goals can be difficult. However, answering the ‘Why?’ has never been easier. Once the requirements of trust and transparency are met, the solutions nearly provide themselves. The key is to clearly articulate and communicate a few common goals, listen, carefully evaluate the options presented and act on the best ideas. The facilitation of the process is crucial and should not be overlooked but SBS removes the geographical hurdles in short order.
Leveraging Geographically Diverse Knowledge
There are many things that influence one’s perspective of the world. One of the great untapped areas of potential in most organizations is getting them all expressed and given unbiased consideration. SBS has the potential to enable this capability. The only constant in the world in which we live is change. Either you are the change, or you react to it. Leveraging all your global knowledge and diversity is a hedge against change severe enough to cause disruption. The same harnessing of collective knowledge can also serve to inspire those who want to expand their understanding and share that wisdom with others.
Supercharging Global Project Teams
The geographic diversity of many global project teams hinders their effectiveness. The proper use of SBS enabled project management can transform these projects with passive notifications, increased individual visibility and transparency. Also, the enlistment of willing volunteers who are geographically diverse creates a larger pool of available resources. When used together, SBS can create an environment where difficult projects become more palatable. The ability to create a way for ideas to be heard and grow is paramount to organizations who want to make a difference.
Taking advantage of the many benefits of SBS is not for the faint of heart. But it is a relatively easy way to create environments which have the potential to transform your organization. Providing an effective way to build stronger relationships, preserve diverse thought and align the individuals that are the strength of your organization make for a compelling case.