Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
15 Sep 2011

Cloud formations - digital employees

15 Sep 2011 • by Changeboard Team

Word of mouth recommendations

As a nation of ‘social shoppers’, we don’t think twice about purchasing the latest gadget from Amazon, tapping up reviews on TripAdvisor before booking a hotel, or ordering our weekly groceries on the internet. Born out of online social consumerism, we now peer with strangers, post our customer queries and use word of mouth recommendations found on the worldwide web.

Social enterprise and connectivity

In January 2010, Infosys – a provider of IT and enterprise cloud solutions – decided to look closely at the online life cycle of consumers to see if they could mirror this social behaviour and interaction within a business context. After carrying out research to confirm there was an appetite for business-ready apps, Infosys unveiled its iEngage employee engagement platform in June this year.

“With organisations facing increased pressure from a competitive marketplace and not much capital to spare, multimedia allows you to put your employees at the centre of your enterprise,” argues Sunil Senan. 

“It’s about fostering and promoting innovation. Employees can create online profiles and build up a professional network of their own, as well as join other recommended communities. they can also ask questions, float ideas, create debate, chat, share, rate, co-author and recommend documents, get hooked up to mentors or put themselves forward to volunteer for projects they wouldn’t have heard about before.

Career growth

As employee activity and contributions are tracked, the platform helps individuals take ownership of their own careers by allowing them to promote their expertise and get noticed for their innovation. HR and managers can build in social reward against ideas that contribute to the success of the business, as well as spot new talent and identify future leaders. Senan explains that as an employee of the business, I could use this tool to get associated, interact and work with experts in my field.

I have access to non-intrusive mentoring and can be recognised for my online contributions. “This is what enterprise is about − capturing conversations and allowing employees to collaborate, which leads to increased engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity,” he explains.

As an organisation grows, knowledge is shared across the business. Small-company mentality is retained, employees become more connected and reach out to one another, and a positive cycle of value is created for both the business and the workforce.

Social enterprise networking

Founded in 2000 at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILa) is a consortium of researchers and practitioners who are leaders in the field of organisational learning and change. The consortium explores emerging models of collaboration to give its members a rich environment with robust social tools to connect and share knowledge in real-time. By leveraging research findings from neuroscience, psychology and organisational behaviour, with developments around collaborative technologies, it identifies new practices for supporting successful collective action in organisations facing increasingly complex operating environments. 

Last year, Harvard LILA started to share experimental work and emerging thinking to generate effective new practices. With the input of academic experts from a variety of disciplines, it become a ‘learning lab’ for the exchange of knowledge about the contemporary challenges of human learning and innovation in organisations.

Harvard LILA chose to use Moxie Software’s Employee Spaces, social media software for the enterprise – a cloud-based workspace that connects employees, customers and partners. With the Employee Spaces platform, Harvard LILA members can easily determine who their fellow members are and their expertise within the organisation, connect and network on an ongoing basis, explore issues in small and large group formats, and report on their progress. This represents a huge leap in the way members within organisations can interact to achieve their goals, which are often defined around creating social impact, crafting intellectual insights and having a practical effect.

User experience

(Source: Moxie Software)

The way people work

1. Use software designed specifically for the enterprise and its needs. this means presenting it in a way that allows people to work as they would naturally – with people, in groups and on projects.

2. Create a compelling user experience

The user must be pulled in and rewarded for participating. Incorporate the most current social networking and Web 2.0 technology to create an appealing, easy-to-navigate interface that stimulates collaboration and ideation.     

3. Add a social layer to existing applications

Companies need not abandon their investments in current tools. Existing applications, databases, email and systems – including HR, CRM & ERP – can be leveraged in one streamlined system that drives cross functional programmes.