Member to Member: Open Social Collaboration: A Must-Have for Business in 2013

Written By:

Sarah Evans, Chief Evangelist, Tracky

Here's a brutal fact and a tough pill to swallow: The majority of businesses aren't run efficiently due to lack of priorities, poor communication and ineffective meetings. Studies show that employees are increasingly emotionally disconnected at work, lacking the tools and strategies necessary to communicate well, be productive and work towards clear-cut priorities. Why? Many times it's because leadership lacks a fundamental commitment to launch an entire culture overhaul. But delaying the shift will only serve to encourage employee disengagement and slow the company's success. It's time to change the WAY people work individually, collaboratively and publicly.

A big part of the answer is utilizing an open social collaboration platform. Open social collaboration platforms allow organizations to:

  1. Work better (not more) internally;
  2. Collaborate as needed with clients, contractors and customers; and
  3. Share public information and publish content (when it's time).

All this from one place that inherently makes people accountable for communicating and getting their work done.

Social networking is now the norm. Their ability to connect people in a visually pleasing way is a welcome daily escape for most people. Social networks invest an amazing amount of time, money and resources in the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Your business platforms should have a similar feel to the networks that consume so much of our time. For instance, social networks involve an element of fun that shouldn't be feared by the enterprise. Fun is a productivity feeder. In fact, a lack of passion at work is affecting more than 70% of workers who feel disengaged due to communication issues. This equates into 17 hours a week of lost productivity and lost revenue.

As you pick your open social collaboration platform, look for features like:

  • No desktop software. Say no to software. Use a platform that is browser and app-based.
  • Easy on boarding process. All productivity platforms have a learning curve, but it shouldn't be so complex that it deters you from using it.
  • Open. Allow for contributions even from those not using the platform. If you can't freely and easily bring people into collaborate, there's no sense in using the tool.
  • Custom notification settings. In order to reduce email, your platform should send regular email updates and allow you to respond on your time.
  • Real-time document editing. If you're working on a project that has many rounds of edits and various documents, the right platform allows you to easily create or upload, comment and edit — together.
  • Public and Private. You should be able to create both public and private tasks and groups in order to work seamlessly within in one place. Once you finish your project and want to share it with the world, you can share it publicly in the platform and via social networks direct from within the platform.
  • Publishing. People become authoritative by sharing what they're getting done. Platforms should allow for direct publishing to your blog or website and sharing via social networks.
  • Schedule meetings and reminders. A basic feature for any collaboration platform should allow you to add tasks to shared calendars.

Making the shift to a social collaboration platform can improve communication, simplify workflows, engage team members, provide an element of fun, reduce email overload, increase real-time collaboration, decrease unnecessary meetings and connect you with your external audience. It's a decisive business decision that can bring your company into the age of collaboration and ensure that you're competitive for the long-haul.