I’m starting to understand what it means to be work in the new way and not just do the old way better.
The Root Matters
I believe that the starting point of a social platform matters because that is where the core strength and focus lies. I’ve seen many different collaboration platforms and many are very good at what they do with different starting points and focuses. If you’re trying to get people onboard and participating on a shared global platform, people need to know what’s in it for them and what the core strength of it is.
Companies are rushing into the social sweet spot but you can tell by using and experiencing their platform on where their core strengths are. This collaboration sweet spot has three large starting points: Social (Relationships), Content (Documents) and Portals (A Single Integration Place). When looking at a platform, it’s always good to ask, “Is this platform focused on people and relationships or is it more about content or a single place of integration?”
I believe in “connecting people to people and people with information” but sometimes, that is not what people are really saying. What they’re really saying is “The new way sounds good but I need to do things the old way better.“ Or more specifically, “I want to do email, expose business applications and tack on some collaboration.” What part of that is really about the kind of collaboration that leads to discovery, innovation and ultimately back to our shared goals? Are you merely just giving people a place to do their current jobs in one place or you really changing the way they work? Because of the realities of the firm, the answer probably lies somewhere in-between but I still believe we should focus more heavily towards the new way than the other way around. People will change.
The Real ROI
The real ROI of social collaboration platforms comes when you can tie the new way back to your community’s goals, which then ties back to your business unit’s goals which finally ties back to our company’s goals. There is a purposeful way of getting work done in the new way that leads to not just incremental gains (doing things the old way better) but exponential gains. That’s what the new way is all about.