This article is aimed at human resources and communication professionals interested in better ways to inform, communicate, align and engage their staff using new digital solutions to replace the intranet. It is also intended to help IT professionals understand how intranet and enterprise social networking (ESN) technologies are evolving and why neither traditional intranets nor traditional ESNs no longer meet the challenges of modern collaboration.
Your work methods have evolved
Today’s fast-paced and unpredictable business environment places increasing importance on an organization’s ability to adapt its strategy, offerings and processes to a rapidly changing market. Work is becoming increasingly unstructured, with employees having to solve an ever-changing set of challenges.
Often multi-disciplinary, teams work remotely (teleworking or different locations) on common projects. However, neither email nor traditional ESNs, nor intranets, with their rigid structure and focus on “cold” content, are helpful. On the contrary, they’re rather constraining.
Existing conventional solutions are outdated
Today, too many companies and employees are overwhelmed by aging intranet tools that offer only static content and one-way communication with little or no collaboration.
Originally designed to manage and control “cold” content so that it’s accessible by all employees at all times, the intranet offers only one-way communication—not the fluid, two-way interaction required by modern collaboration. The publication and curation of content is top-down, preventing the free flow of information. Often difficult to update and modify, the intranet strictly limits improvements and explodes costs, making it impractical for the current needs of digital businesses.
Faced with this far too rigid intranet, traditional ESNs pose the opposite problem. Invented to facilitate spontaneous networking and conversation, they perform these functions well but are often poorly structured and organized, and the information is hard to digest. Conversations—often far removed from professional issues—proliferate endlessly, overwhelming users with “noise.” Conversations take place independently of real projects, business processes and content to which they apply, and for one simple reason: these classic ESNs were not intended for collaborative work, but were designed to simply connect people and facilitate communication between them. As a result, hundreds or thousands of communities/groups, compartmentalized and not very streamlined, create confusion instead of supporting real business processes and objectives.
“Latest generation” tools are inadequate
At the same time, organizations are struggling with overly chatty and chaotic communication generated by new collaborative applications such as Rocketchat or Slack that vow to revolutionize collaboration by making communication more fluid.
It’s time to move beyond these tools and find a more balanced solution combining both communication and collaboration, with the objective of nurturing and facilitating new work habits that are not just faster and more productive, but healthier.
Why you should consider a collaborative ESN
As the intranet and the classic enterprise social network are not designed for collaborative work, it’s clear that neither is sufficient to equip digitized organizations wanting to work more fluidly and efficiently. For their part, collaboration applications have certainly brought a lot of fluidity, but also new nuisances that have ended up making collaboration more complex—sometimes downright aggressive.
Their nature and complementary functionalities require a different integration within another tool. This tool would be a single platform that would centralize both static content and collaborative features (i.e. conversation, networking and the ability to work in a structured and organized way). This is the goal of a collaborative ESN such as Talkspirit. It’s a target tool whose name (“collaborative ESN”) is a challenge because the initial terms (intranet, social and collaborative network) have been too overused.
Also read: The Top 12 Enterprise Social Networks
What is a collaborative ESN?
A collaborative enterprise social network brings together the best of the intranet, traditional ESNs and “latest generation” collaborative applications. It provides a single, consistent environment for communicating, collaborating and sharing knowledge across the enterprise. Moreover, it supports multi-directional communications: not only top-down, but also bottom-up and cross-functional. The ESN stimulates collaboration at all levels: team, department, company and even beyond. What’s more, Talkspirit‘s “guest” functionality allows you to invite your external partners to your platform to collaborate in real time.
A tool designed for business and open to your company’s ecosystem
Certainly, a collaborative enterprise social network allows fluid interactions and networking (like a traditional ESN). But this time, communication and networking are at the service of the activity. Conversations and content are an integral part of the projects to which they apply. Employees no longer scatter content over dozens of threads disconnected from the business. Everything needed to get the job done is gathered in convenient spaces focused on the company’s processes and projects.
The same applies to activity and content from external tools: integrated via APIs or webhooks, this external information is shared in the common environment, eliminating the frustration of working on several disconnected applications. Thus, Talkspirit natively allows the integration of more than 1,000 third-party applications: the latest tweets, CRM updates, new Trello cards, Google documents, etc. Thanks to these integrations, all this information automatically feeds back into your collaborative ESN, allowing everyone to have easier access to this data, in real time and in full transparency.
A collaborative enterprise social network is a profitable investment. Tangible benefits include lower operating costs, greater organizational productivity, improved customer satisfaction, more engaged employees and higher overall performance.