Optimising Digital Collaboration from the Inside Out
Fad or Fundamental?
When Andrew McAfee, now a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), coined the term,“Enterprise 2.0” in 2006, he called it, “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.” More simply put, it’s all about companies using social media, collaborative tools and social networks to connect people, information and company assets in more effective ways.
Companies have come a long way since those early days, with many seeing significant improvements in operations, people satisfaction and bottom line results. Among the lessons learned is that it’s not just about technology. Determining digital collaboration’s role, how it will be used and how to incorporate it into company culture are what really matters.
The Focal Point: Improving Internal and External Interaction
Smart companies use digital collaboration technologies to improve interaction within their ecosystems of employees, stakeholders, customers, partners and prospects – all of whom use various applications to network and streamline processes. Usage is growing, with 89% of top managers believing digital technology has a major impact on their companies.2 This is far from a fad, but rather a fundamental response to a world where the pace of work, change and collaboration continues to accelerate.
Technology Expectations: Target vs. Truth
We all know the world is moving faster and faster, decisions must be made quickly and employees must be able to find the right information, right now. What companies need and what they’re getting, however, are two different things.
The truth is, companies must substantially increase knowledge worker productivity, the same way management increased manual worker productivity in the 20th century.3 Employees today waste about 5.3 hours per week due to inefficient processes. Two-thirds can’t find the help they’re looking for. Sixty percent of employees in European organisations spend at least an hour a day duplicating other employees’ work.
Digital technologies and collaborative processes help significantly by creating links between people, information and resources. 77% of networked organisations have increased their employees’ speed of access to knowledge, 63% have increased their marketing effectiveness and 45% have increased supplier and partner satisfaction.
Technology certainly helped achieve these results, but it takes a change in a corporate culture to inspire employees to behave differently. Collaboration is the first thing CEOs seek from their employees; 75% consider it critical.
New Business Models Spur New Behaviours
There’s nothing particularly new about Enterprise 2.0 or “social business” concepts. What’s new are nontraditional competitors who are changing the playing field by interacting with customers in nontraditional ways. These may be pure players or companies from completely different sectors adopting new approaches. Free of the usual constraints and expectations, they are reshuffling the cards and redefining markets.
This change is occurring at a rate that traditional businesses struggle to follow. Uber in transport, Amazon in commerce, Airbnb in hospitality and Google in any number of areas are designing a networked society. There are endless examples in every sector including energy, telecom, transportation and so on.
The shift may motivate you to rethink your business model, not just because of new competitors, but because it shows customers’ habits have changed. They accept and demand an increasingly digital culture based on interaction, sharing and commenting.
There’s no question the new environment calls for technologies to improve your supply chain, customer service and employer brand. The biggest change, however, comes in adjusting your culture. These models require engagement among internal and external stakeholders to improve the experience and user pathway. Otherwise, “uberisation” awaits you,8 primarily because:
- Social ties, mobile technology, real time, new web applications and digital tools make this requirement even more important and necessary.
- The relationship with the outside world and specifically your customers and prospective customers is driving you toward this change so you can meet these new demands effectively.
- It is not the technology that’s important, but what it provides and the new culture it spawns.
This article is a part of MSLGROUP’s Optimising Digital Collaboration from the Inside Out , for more information contact Anthony Poncier T +33 14482 4648 M +33 62334 0881 or Sébastian Faure T +33 14482 4565 .
Anthony is an expert in collaborative strategy. He helps companies and project teams set up internal social networks and specialises in digitising customer relations. He is on the Enterprise 2.0 All Star List, the author of ‘Enterprise Social Networks: 101 Questions,’ and ‘Enterprise 2.0: the White Paper.’ Connect with him on Twitter @aponcier .
Sébastien is a consultant in digital communications strategy at Publicis Consultants in Paris and helps design and develop digital relationships between organisations and all their stakeholders. He is responsible for social network strategy, content strategy, social media, community management, analysis and reporting. Connect with him on Twitter @faureseb .