The Business of Collaboration – 8th November 2011

The Business of Collaboration – 8th November 2011

The last few years can be described as the age of social business and collaboration. The demands and expectations of today’s knowledge workers have been shaped by the plethora of social networks and social media tools.

Communicating and sharing information has never been easier. Staying connected with news and status updates from friends, family, or at work is real-time and no longer constrained to an office PC. This has coincided with the business realisation that a greater degree of interaction with customers, whether consumers or businesses, makes for a higher degree of customer retention.

Ironically, in many cases, workplace policy and technology constraints have meant that staff resort to using the technology they have brought with them in their pockets or handbags in order to remain connected with their networks. The ubiquity of mobile devices and ease of use of many web services means that almost anyone can originate or contribute to digital content, and information is increasingly consumed on the move. Recent analysis shows that we spend 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites per month, or 22 percent of all time is spent on-line. And the expectation now is that the tools that people use at work should be as easy and fun to use as the ones they use in their personal life.

But is this tsunami of data and information making us better informed? How do we overcome information overload and ensure the relevance and utility of the information we consume? Can we provide environments that tap into the collective intelligence of groups or knowledge domains that match our specific needs?


Enterprise Social Software (ESS) is the next generation of platforms that are built to manage high volumes of collaborative engagement and conversations among distributed teams, project groups or communities of practice. They build on the conceptual ideas of popular social networking platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, but with a host of enterprise-ready features to make them secure, private, collaborative and business integration-friendly.

As many organisations have discovered, implementing a technology solution by itself rarely results in more effective collaboration and knowledge sharing. Sustainable implementation of ESS requires:

  • Understanding of how and why successful knowledge-sharing communities and networks perform.
  • A system that implicitly acknowledges the constraints (time, process) and motivations (reciprocity, reward) that individuals experience within such networks.
  • A blended approach where technology seamlessly supports the behavioural characteristics that will encourage users to self-organize, collaborate and co-create.

But what about the investment in ICT systems that organisations have made over the past decade? The good news is that it’s not a matter of ripping out legacy systems, but extending what you have, adding new capabilities and integrating new applications and services.

The event will look at the developing landscape for Enterprise Social Software and the emerging role of “Social Business”, which blends and supports intuitive collaboration with business workflows. At the fundamental level, social business is as much about attitude as it is about deploying technology.

We will examine some of the potential benefits that can be derived by adopting ESS and applying social business practices. For example:

  • Leveraging social business tools and techniques to locate skills, improve learning, share knowledge and build relationships.
  • Increasing operational efficiency by connecting silo’d working practices.
  • Providing seamless connections between front-end services and back-end systems to reduce transactional costs and improve the customer experience.
  • Provide better decision support through access to on-demand business metrics and analytics.

For more details of the event please refer to PFI Knowledge Solutions

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