What is social collaboration?

Making the most of your existing business resources – be that skills, knowledge or information – is a necessary focus for every organisation; it’s no surprise then that social collaboration has achieved a high profile among business leaders in recent years. But what is the reality behind the buzzwords, and how can it really make a difference to your organisation?

Top takeaways

Organisations are turning to social collaboration to address fundamental business challenges

While social collaboration has been caught up in a wave of hype stemming from the explosion of public social media, successful social collaboration initiatives in business are not pure vanity exercises (as is sometimes assumed) but are driven by fundamental challenges that affect organisations of all sizes and from many different industries. Globalisation, increased competition sparked by the growth of the web, and economic pressures are driving a new perspective on the way our organisations work and organise themselves, sparking a shift away from the traditional view of the team and towards a less-hierarchical, more open and transparent business.

The benefits of social collaboration are well understood, yet it’s still early days for widespread adoption

Through technologies which enable an open, interactive and networked working environment, social collaboration can help organisations share knowledge and expertise more effectively, drive innovation, and overcome the challenges of an increasingly distributed workforce, in order to build better relationships with customers and partners, and ultimately create a stronger and better-differentiated business. However in practice, the majority of businesses are still at the very beginning of their journey to take full advantage of this trend, with the challenges only now starting to be recognised and addressed.

Technology is a key enabler for social collaboration, but technology alone is not enough

By capturing the conversations that take place in our day-to-day activities, and providing an open, interactive platform where every individual is identifiable and therefore accountable, social collaboration platforms can help support an initiative to build a more collaborative culture. Through analysis of the relationships and interactions that take place, the software can become increasingly proactive in recommending content to users and further drive adoption efforts. However, new technology will not change people’s behaviour by itself; you need to invest well in the business change efforts needed to endure widespread adoption across the organisation.

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