Digital Leaders Blog

The concept of Digital Operating Advantage is one of the key issues discussed during our ‘Leading Digital’ Masterclasses.

It refers to the way in which organisations can leverage the full potential of emerging technologies to streamline internal processes and systems, improve efficiency, reduce costs, building a more collaborative, cost efficient, agile, responsive, data driven organisation, ‘fit-for-purpose’ in a digital age.

The successful deployment of an Enterprise Social Media (ESM) platform is critical in this respect as highlighted in the video below.

 

The key term above is ‘successful deployment’. While ESM platforms have been adopted by many organisations as the cornerstone of their internal digital transformation, new research published in the MITSloan Management Review suggests that expected benefits in terms of knowledge sharing, collaboration and efficiency are seldom realised. The main reason for this is poor ESM implementation.

Key conclusions of the research are as follows:

  • Employees often ‘get lost’ during the implementation of ESM platforms because of the disconnect between technology and the cultural change required to leverage the full potential of these platforms.
  • ESM is too often introduced into workplaces as a siloed system. A more strategic approach is required with ESM becoming a core component of an organisation’s digital portfolio, fully integrated with and supportive of employees’ daily work.
  • Too often, ESM is added to an already tangled web of technologies meant to support communication and collaboration. The net outcome is that fewer than 30% of employees and only 8% of executives contribute to ESM on a regular basis.
  • As more organisations become attracted to the benefits of digital workplaces, IT departments are asked to equip employees with a rich and integrated digital portfolio including team collaboration software, project management tools, chat-based software, internal knowledge management systems, intranets and so on. However, in most cases, there is a failure to articulate and communicate to employees how they are expected to use these tools in their day-to-day, job-related tasks.
  • The failure to articulate and communicate runs the risk of employees becoming lost in the transition to a more social, collaborative way of working. Connecting to ESM platforms often requires employees to disconnect from existing patterns of communication and collaboration such as email. This is not easy to achieve and can create resistance to change unless managed properly. Weaning people away from their email comfort blanket is no easy task.
  • To increase adoption and improve efficiency, ESM should be established as the hub connecting multiple IT systems, business applications, collaborative tools and other digital platforms. With proper integration, using APIs, employees should be able to access all digital platforms such as the corporate intranet, email, directories, document-sharing tools, forums, blogs, wikis and third-party web applications seamlessly from the ESM platform. Most ESM platforms such as Salesforce Chatter, Microsoft Yammer and Teams, Facebook Workplace etc offer open APIs that enable interoperability between ESM and other information technologies.

In conclusion, the MITSloan research supports our own contention that successful digital transformation is not just about technology – it requires the effective integration of strategy, people, processes, systems, organisation, culture AND technology.

The failure to recognise these mutual dependencies is one of the main reasons why many attempted transformations will fail. The successful implementation of Enterprise Social Media within your own organisation is a cultural as well as a technology challenge.

Read the full article here.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

Take care.

Jim H

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