Why get social? SharePoint 2013 social collaboration tools

We will be kicking off a series of posts about the new features of SharePoint 2013 shortly, but in the meanteamworktime, we’ve been fielding a lot of queries about one aspect in particular – and that is SharePoint 2013’s new social capabilities. So let’s take a look.

Enterprise social collaboration has been gaining a lot of momentum over the past few years, and certainly in the last 12 months, we are having more and more conversations with clients who are ready to introduce it to their business.

Far from being just a passing phase – as some predicted – social collaboration tools are helping businesses around the world unlock unprecedented levels of productivity and profit. According to The Social Business: Advent of a New Age study published by IBM, 57% of CIOs whose companies have invested in social media tools outperform their peers. The study also revealed that 55% of companies reported social networking played a significant role in the growth of their business.

SharePoint 2013’s social tools are a great start for companies who are ready to begin their social journey. In our experience this technology represents a much safer, more scalable option than free social collaboration tools like Jive and Yammer (incidentally now Microsoft owned), as it allows for greater integration with other systems, whilst providing a higher level of governance and control. Plenty of companies come to us reporting that their workforce are readily engaging through one of these free sites, having never stopped to consider lack of governance and security as an issue. In the case of one client, ex-staff members who were now working for the competition were still very much engaged in their old communities six months after leaving the business. We can only imagine how much IP and strategy walked out the door during this time!

In most cases, the free cloud based social platforms mentioned are not subjected to the internal de-provisioning processes which traditionally ensures ex-staff members can no longer access valuable information. As the aforementioned studies have shown, staff are happy to use social tools to collaborate with their colleagues – but the same rigor and security should be applied as with any other business application.

Through SharePoint 2013 you can promote an even higher level of collaboration safely within the confines of your own environment. More than this, conversations can be categorised using hash tags and keywords, which can then be easily searched for at a later date. This information can then form the basis of a powerful knowledge database for the future.

Consider all the IP that has traditionally sat within an employee’s email account. Insights, work arounds, problems solved, ‘how to’ conversations – valuable knowledge that dies with the end of an email thread and gets filed away out of your reach. Now imagine all of that knowledge been safely recorded within your SharePoint environment, available to your entire workforce at the click of a button.

From a user’s perspective, SharePoint 2013 also begins to understand what information they want. They can follow people, sites, content and conversation and receive activity feeds each and every day – and the best part is, they already know how to use this technology. Social media is more than just familiar, it’s how they want to receive information.

What could your employees achieve with hours of productivity unlocked? Feel free to get in touch with us for more information about SharePoint 2013 or social collaboration tools.

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