Emergence of social networks has been huge! They have influenced our world in unimaginable ways. They have also changed the game plan for enterprises.
Today social media is a marketing channel. It’s a way of sharing information. It’s a tool for developing and managing customer relationships. More and more companies are already using social networks to collaborate with their customers, contemporaries, and peers.
And now the ‘social’ component has crept into the internal workings of enterprises as well. Today, we have something called enterprise social network solution also popular as ESN. So what exactly is enterprise social network?
Enterprise social network solution is an enterprise’s interactive internal network with social networking features. ESN is an internal communication system used by enterprises to share information and improve cross-departmental collaboration. ESN allows members to view information, post questions, leave comments, and create enterprise knowledge base.
Gartner predicts social networking services to replace e-mail as primary vehicle for interpersonal communication for 20% of business users by 2014. This means ESN most certainly has a bigger and better role to play in enterprise communication strategies.
So what exactly can enterprise users do in ESN?
Like social networking websites, ESN users can create communities based on similar interests and requirements. They can create and/or join groups and communities that suit their interests. What this does is it helps employees connect better with each other. Your people get to know each other a little more personally. They develop cordial intrapersonal relationships at work. And a happy employee is a productive employee.
ESN allows employees to exchange messages amongst themselves. They can send messages to each other and create an internal communication channel. This again fosters healthy relations between employees. The employees stay connected to each other. Formal and informal communications keep the enterprise buzzing. Information deadlock becomes less of an issue. These exchanges also make your enterprise a happy working place for employees.
Just because ESN has a “social” element to it, it does not mean that it is good for personal networking only. In fact, enterprises and employees can better manage tasks using ESN. Employees can create tasks with task descriptions and due dates. They can assign and re-assign tasks with relevant documents, track progress, and review them. Employees can also make regular updates and comments on tasks assigned to them. This way, project management can be carried out through ESN.
Manage Profiles, Directories, & Contacts
Like social networking websites, employees can create and manage their profiles on the ESN. They can create their own directories or contact books. These contact books can display details like name, designation, address, phone number, email, address and much more. They can even upload their personal photos. They can have their own image gallery as well.
All enterprises have data. But just having data is not enough. One needs to manage data properly in order to make it useful. Through ESN data can be managed at enterprise level. ESN allows users to manage, filter, and personalize data from an easy to use interface. Users can follow people, groups, and content and monitor it effectively.
For any enterprise, managing its business documents is very important. And this can be done through ESN. The ESN users can store and manage business documents in a centralized and secure manner. ESN also allows versioning, tracking file history, categorization of business documents. But more importantly, user level access can be controlled as well in the ESN. Not everybody gets access to all business documents. Access rights can be defined and only limited rights can be granted to users.
ESN users can further share information through blogs, microblogs, wikis, forums, polls, and even surveys. This keeps everybody updated on what’s happening in different departments. Special achievements and notices get communicated faster. This also makes knowledge management easier. New ideas can be generated through such information sharing.
Users of social networking websites bookmark pages and content of their choice. They can do the same thing in ESN. They can bookmark information that interests them. This way they can easily access required information without going through an elaborate search process. Users of ESN can create bookmarks in both public and private mode.
ESN users can also share multimedia components like photos, videos, animations, presentations, etc with their coworkers. They can post these items through blogs or microblogs of ESN. Once again, these multimedia components can be shared in public and private mode. ESN users can also set privacy levels for these things.
Furthermore, ESN has moved beyond the traditional desktop platform. Today, ESN can be accessed via mobile devices as well. So users can post and receive real-time updates on different things. They can collaborate better on various important projects from off-site locations. They don’t need to be present in the office for it. Reporting progress on different aspects also becomes easy and fast.
Custom Themes & Layout Designs
ESN is not all about work. It also allows users to have some fun. ESN users can select a theme and layout design that they like. They can be given multiple themes and layouts that reflect enterprise branding as options. Users can set them in their communities, profile pages, private wall, etc.
ESN can most certainly contribute to the growth of an enterprise. Enterprises can use it to better engage its workforce, to create social ecosystem for employees to connect, to generate ideas on how to improve its products and services, to manage innovations, and more. And with all this enterprise can use ESN to create a happy workplace for its people.
At Radix, we undertake enterprise portal design and development.