How many systems do you access in a day to get the information that is critical to accomplish your job? I can think of a MINIMUM of four without even spending more than a moment. I navigate between systems to get communication from my co-workers, clients, and to review information. How much time is spent flipping between systems to get to this information? Think about the amount of time it takes for you to log in to each of these systems to review, create or update the information and make business decisions. Wouldn’t it be nice if the business critical information was at your fingertips? It can be, with social integration.
- One location means less places to hunt for information
We effectively only work 3 days a week. Statistically, we spend the fourth day searching for information and the fifth day inefficiently dealing with data, such as reformatting, updating, versioning, copying, pasting and getting data out of one application to put it into another. Integration with social can help reduce both the searching for information as well as moving information between systems. Social feeds can be integrated with ERP systems to display important transactions, reporting tools, and CRM systems. Instead of opening Salesforce to view the latest sales information, new sales leads can feed into your social news feed. Not only will the need for additional licenses be reduced, but in addition to your sales team knowing what’s in the pipeline, your sales support members are also in the know before they get that invite to help with and RFP they didn’t know was in process.
- Sharing Knowledge – Information that may once be unavailable is now sharable
Consider this…you have a question on a report that was recently released via email and you respond via email to a few key members on your team that you think can help and wait for a response. Instead, you reply to the feed post with this report with this same question, mentioning those team members that you think can help with your question. Not only do those users see the post, but anyone following them does as well. You have now increased the knowledge base that you are tapping for the solution. In addition, you may have now helped someone who had the same question.
- Driving users to social – Social is more than just posting & hashtags
I often get the question from our clients about what the point of social is. Isn’t it just posting random stuff? No, it’s not. Social can be successful in your enterprise environment. Integration with your other systems brings social to light as a business tool and not just a “social” tool. Your business information can benefit from the social features however. When that report shows up in the newsfeed, it can be tagged with topics like the system it came from and the topic of the report. People who are following these tags will instantly have the report show up in their feed. Also, when people are searching on these tags, the report will be returned in the results. It’s social metadata if you will.
- Keeping up to date on other information because they’re going there for their job
You integrate your first system, let’s say CRM, with your social platform. You have told the sales team that they will get their sales updates via the newsfeed and not an email. The team begins the transition to going to the newsfeed regularly to get their information, when they may not have in the past because they had no reason to. Now, while perusing the feed and looking at the information tagged with #Sales, they also notice comments about a recent meeting a partner had with a client that may turn into a sales lead and a project that is ending at another client that may turn into another phase. The sales team may not have known about these events and there would have been missed business opportunities.
So how do you get started? What systems do you integrate first? My suggestion here around getting started is think about who in your organization has started to adopt the social platform the most, but also who hasn’t. If there is a team in your organization that you think has missed opportunities from not participating, maybe it makes sense to include some of their data. Drive them to the platform with their business critical information, and allow them to reap the benefits of the other information that is shared there.
User Experience & Social Collaboration Evangelist – Senior Manager
 Feldman, Susan, Hidden Cost of Information Work: A Progress Report,‖ International Data Corporation (IDC), Framingham, MA, May 2009.