Enterprising Developments

3 Ways Social Networks Can Deliver Business Value

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, October 10, 2012

By now, we've been hearing about social networking and social media (originally called “Web 2.0”) for at least seven years. But the question needs to be raised: Is it really a part of the enterprise? Or, more specifically, is it really part of insurance enterprises?

Sure, the folks in marketing tweet and retweet, and some of the C-level executives have Facebook accounts, and many people are collaborating over Sharepoint servers. But has social become pervasive yet?

In a recent post, Burak Bilir of Unisys proposes the ways social computing can finally make the move up the “corporate value chain,” to deliver more to the business than tweets and wikis. Social networks can serve as the binding force that will keep organizations and employees in sync with one another.

Here are three ways enterprises can get serious about social:

Introduce social into the workflow. “Socially-enabled daily workflow can spark a new burst in office productivity by automating highly-collaborative, improvisational tasks and inject social collaboration into the flow of everyday work,” Bilir says. “Today, these tasks are hardly addressed by office productivity tools, email or enterprise applications. Social workflow can bridge simple to-do lists and complex, rigid business process management systems, bringing value to an unaddressed functional space in the middle.”

Provide relevant and contextual content: “Today, in most cases, knowledge workers are either overloaded with a large amount of out of context data or cannot have timely access to relevant information to do their work. Enterprise social networks have the potential to become the prime distribution channel for highly relevant and contextual content, providing the much-needed tacit context for business transactions. This context is derived from the user’s identity, intent, history and environment—core information found in social networks—and is used to filter and route information enhancing the effectiveness of traditional enterprise content management systems.”

Build the enterprise social layer: “Some organizations still see social computing as just another standalone platform for collaboration—an oxymoron by definition. What is worse, there has been a proliferation of siloed social computing solutions since most of the new ERP, CRM and ECM applications have started to come out with their own social capabilities and various departments around the organization adopt different social computing solutions. Enterprise social computing should be seen and developed as a true horizontal business capability which can integrate collaborative tasks across business units and functions.”

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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