Dont Launch a Social Business Collaboration Solution Unless

During the work week, I have the pleasure of actual quarterbacking for business collaboration, in partnership with customers and clients -- not to mention my own team. What I've seen is that the philosophy you bring to the table makes a real difference to your success.

If you don’t espouse a certain philosophy, your approach is all wrong, you won't bring the project across the line -- that line being the business goals you set out to accomplish. Or, worse yet, you don't set those goals in the first place.

Which is why you should not launch a social business collaboration solution -- because it isn't going to bring any benefits to your organization -- unless you bring to the table these four things:

1. Prioritize Sharing of Business-Critical Information

This may appear obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often an enterprise prioritizes information that is easy to share, over that which is fundamentally driving the productivity of a given individual, project team or department. Information should be timely and relevant.

There’s something of a snowball effect to this. According to the Aberdeen report from January 2014, “Social Business Collaboration: Four Best Practices, Three Market Trends,” the leaders in social business collaboration improved their average time-to-information over a 12 month period and “reported 83 percent greater improvements in operational efficiency and in the time required to make key business decisions.” Those are some impressive numbers.

2. Enhance Connections to Highlight Subject Matter Experts

In many enterprises, a gap still exists between a need for information and those who have that information. Employees are human, and relationships matter. Providing an intranet that allows subject matter experts to self-identify -- raise their hand and volunteer themselves to share their expertise -- can facilitate sharing and start to create more subject matter experts.

Create a culture in which that is shared and encouraged, whether you do that through gamification or an executive team that sets an example -- a team of executives who “walk the talk.” Ideally both. You can set your organization up for not only greater productivity, but also as a great place to work, where knowledge-sharing is rewarded and employees feel empowered.

3. Provide Mobile Access

This one, more than anything else, is a no-brainer. If you’re not giving workers mobile connections to your business collaboration solution, you need to sell your Edsel, put away your quill and join the rest of us in using your devices for everything. The mobile vision must also account for the security measures that your organization needs. In the Aberdeen report above, leaders were more than twice as likely to be providing mobile access to their collaboration platform -- 27 percent versus 13.

4. Provide Project Tools

Tragically a lot of companies are still using their intranets purely for information broadcasting or document sharing. However, a core of real utility (read: return on investment) comes from the project management aspects. So that the intranet can help shape (depending on your business or industry) the experiences of your customers -- for bad or good.

Given the importance of creating a customer-centric culture in today’s competitive world, this can deliver real value to your solution. Just over half of all leaders say social business collaboration provides support necessary for meetings and discussions among team members, and 40 percent say it improves productivity through communication and teamwork, according to Aberdeen.

It’s Kickoff Time

Doing something poorly is going to be worse than doing nothing at all. So if you don’t have the complete playbook, stop what you’re doing and take the time to build it. Schedule a meeting with the key players who can help you solve for these things, or at least give the confidence you that you’re on the right track, and provide the all important buy-in so there’s support throughout your project.

After that, by all means, carry on with your plan for expanding social collaboration in the enterprise. A complete solution is absolutely essential, and when you do the right things and capture the trends, your company’s success can rely on it. Now … #gohawks

Title image by Michael Chamberlin /