Why invest in an enterprise social network?

IC pros – are you ready for your moment of glory?
Virpi Oinonen @voinonen (pictured) writes for my blog to guide us through investing in an enterprise social network and the role of internal communicators – which she describes as being “a moment of glory.”
She’s the author of  a brand new practical guide book Internal social networks the smart way, which I had the pleasure of reading before it was published, and I recommend checking it out for lots more advice and guidance.

Over to you Virpi…

IC pros – are you ready for your moment of glory?

Are you planning to introduce an enterprise social network (Yammer, Jive etc) in your organisation? If so, I have news for you.

You are not just creating another communication channel. You are introducing a new way of working.

A new way of working. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

This means that before you schedule a meeting with a senior executive to sell him or her the idea of an enterprise social network, you will have to sit down and think about the project from a slightly wider perspective.

In fact, you will have to think about it like a business strategist.

ESNIt’s not as hard as it sounds. Ask the following questions: What is the organisation trying to achieve?

What are the current business challenges? (Entering a new market? Launching a new service or product? Saving costs?)

The next step is to find out whether there is a project or programme devoted to these challenges.

If so, contact the project/programme manager(s) to find out whether they would be interested in using an internal social network for their internal communication (see the presentation for a list of benefits of an internal social network).

If the managers resist the idea, move on to the next project or programme – don’t waste your time on people who resist the idea.

When you find a project that ticks both boxes (addresses a business challenge/opportunity and has managers that are open to a new way of working) you can finally approach the senior executives.

Tip: if you use the presentation as a template for your own presentation replace the slide that says “What are your current threats or opportunities” with the potential pilot projects. This way you show the senior executives that you’ve done your homework and can move forward with your project right away.

These pilot projects will hopefully become the Trojan horses that will usher in a new era of collaborative working in your organisation. How great is that?

But.. what about internal comms?

ESNThis business problem/challenge based approach doesn’t mean that you can’t sell the tool as a universal tool for solving the communication woes of the whole organisation.

You should do that, too. But chances are that you get your executives’ attention if you say the magic words: I can help you solve this particular business problem.

It creates urgency and momentum much better than a generic, organisation wide change management initiative.

You are the star of the show

You as the internal communication professional should position yourself as the facilitator of this change.

The pilot project teams will need someone who will help them use the internal social network. This might mean training sessions, nudging people behind the scenes to use the network in a smart way (this can be a lot of work!), posting exclusive killer content in the network to drive traffic, recruiting and training champions and facilitating information sharing between different teams.

With this approach you are moving away from the traditional internal communication approach towards internal community management.

So, are you ready to play your part in business transformation that will affect almost all organisations in one way or another?

In other words: are you ready for your moment of glory?

P.s. Feel free to use the presentation on this page with your senior executives. Or use it as a template/planning tool for your own presentation.

Post author: Virpi Oinonen

Thank you Virpi, you can read more from her at www.businessgoessocial.net/blog.

What do you think of what she’s written? Does this fit with your experience? What questions are you facing in your company around collaboration?

If you’re in the process of rolling out an enterprise social network, what is your role? I’d love to hear your thoughts – you can comment below or Tweet me @allthingsIC.

collaboration research by Rachel MillerIf you’re interested in reading more information about enterprise social networks, you can read other articles I’ve published via my blog here:

Want to get in touch? You can find me in various places online including Twitter @AllthingsICGoogle+LinkedInStorify,SlideShare and Pinterest and can contact me here.

Rachel Miller.

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