Special Section | The 3rd Pillar: The Enterprise Social Network
The team messaging and the intranet have already been analyzed in detail! It is now time to tackle the 3rd pillar: The Enterprise Social Network. A tool that has had difficulties in finding its ideal form but that has been able to adapt to the needs of the market to the point of making it an essential solution for collaboration.
The enterprise social network is the perfect example of the life cycle of a collaborative tool: hesitant beginnings, a relatively cautious perception by the public, then a slow but progressive adaptation that finally allows the tool to make a place for itself on the world stage. The enterprise social network (which we will also call "CSR" for Corporate Social Network) has been through all this. The transition between public social networks and professional social networks was appropriate at the time (given the popularity of the former), but this was not enough to make the ESN a must-have tool from the start.
Things have changed a lot since then, and the ESN has grown in stature! With its group system allowing to target the communication, its business applications and its communication at 3 levels, it is undoubtedly the collaborative tool which proposes the most transversal collaborative features on the market.
Why not let yourself be tempted and deploy it within your organization? A more detailed analysis is required!
Are you ready? Let's get started!
The Advantages of the Third Pillar
Communication at 3 Levels
As usual in our file, let's talk about the greatest quality of our pillar to get straight to the point! The enterprise social network shines by its ability to offer 3 levels of communication to its users. Put simply, this means that the 3rd pillar allows you to communicate with one of your employees, with a group or with your entire organization, depending on your context.
Team messaging does the same thing you said? Yes, but the greatest strength of the CSR is that it offers spaces designed specifically for each type of exchange. Are you talking to just one person? The team messaging is perfect to quickly exchange with them. You need to review with your team? Create your group with your collaborators to exchange without disturbing the others. You need to publish a video for ALL your collaborators? Publish it on your CSR activity feed!
In the enterprise social network, information is distributed and centralized with precision! Being able to shape the form of your communication according to the context and the need: this is the greatest strength of the corporate social network!
The intranet is not the only one to have this feature. The enterprise social network has customization options at two scales.
The first one is similar to the intranet: you can insert your logo, the colors of your corporate identity and customize the whole as you would decorate the interior of your living room (feeling at home is important).
The second level is more about content than design since the CSR offers you the possibility to choose the professional applications that will structure it from a wide range of choices. A calendar? A directory of your contacts? Your next missions? In addition to basic features such as the list of groups to which you belong or your profile, the 3rd pillar offers you the choice of applications that you or your collaborators wish to use. Such freedom allows you to create the ideal tool for your organization from scratch, but it also implies a slight disadvantage that we will discuss later.
Plenty of Uses
A large choice of applications that reflects the real goal of the enterprise social network: to offer an answer to all the business needs of employees. Whether you are there to manage a project, to exchange with your collaborators, to facilitate information sharing, to centralize structural communication, to centralize documents, to optimize innovation within your structure and many others, the CSN does everything to offer you the feature / application you need.
The Disadvantages of the Third Pillar
Meet Specific Needs
Offering a wide range of features for all types of professions is one of the considerable advantages of the enterprise social network. However, this advantage also presents a major challenge: the deployment.
While the benefits of the intranet and team messaging are obvious, the structure and uses of the CSR are more complex. Such a richness must imperatively lead the organization that deploys the CSR to determine for which uses it wishes to use the tool (and through these for which needs obviously). Deploying all of the tool's applications, or only a few that will not be used, represents a major risk, as it will make it even more difficult to appropriate the tool. A tool whose features and purpose are not understood is likely to be abandoned, which explains the inseparable link between CSR and change management, as we will see.
A More Limited Accessibility
Seeing your enterprise social network being put aside would be all the more annoying since acquiring one represents a significant cost.
This is not really surprising: such a large amount of features does have a cost. But the most important point to remember behind this high cost is the overall accessibility level of the tool. The 3rd pillar has two barriers that complicate its appropriation. The first is, as we have just seen, the financial aspect. The second is the support and animation of the tool. Have you identified the main uses that you want to see optimized within your organization? This is an excellent thing because it means that you know why the CSR will be deployed and that you see its utility.
Whether you are there to manage a project, to exchange with your collaborators, to facilitate information sharing, to centralize communication, to centralize documents and many others, the CSN does everything to offer you the feature you need.
Your challenge now? To share this knowledge with your employees so that they also see the deployment of the CSN as an opportunity. Accompanying the enterprise social network in its deployment is an obligation if you want to make sure that your employees understand its utility and the reason for its arrival in the company.
The same goes for animation: animating your CSR by sharing content, creating events and encouraging your colleagues to use it will reinforce its long-term adoption.
The tool has a lot of benefits to offer, but a human investment is essential to allow it to reach its full potential.
The Enterprise Social Network took a long time to find its way, but it was worth it! Already known by the general public before its arrival in the professional sector, the CSN now has strong arguments to convince users: a wide range of features, a communication at 3 levels, plenty of business uses...
These advantages also make the CSR a tool that is both less financially accessible than its peers and more complex to adopt if no concrete support is provided in its deployment and appropriation. Once these two obstacles have been overcome, collaboration can then deploy its full potential.
See you soon for our last article of our special file with the 4th pillar: The Digital Workplace! 😉