The uptake in use of Enterprise 2.0 tools can largely be attributed to the following factors: cost-efficiency; size and simplicity; complex deployment and maintenance is not required; they are user-friendly and don’t require IT professionals to operate them; and because programs are easily expanded and a small internal program can be increased incrementally and eventually opened up to outside participation.
Global giant, IBM, has adapted the integration of social media tools in the workforce. IBM is one of the world’s most prominent and successful companies and most people have heard of them, but fewer are aware of their use of social media, such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook, to network employees globally towards a centralised online presence. This initiative has achieved some fantastic results.
According to Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at IBM (case study 2012). IBM has successfully created:
- IBMers submitted over 170 short videos to demonstrate, in their own individual voice, what IBM means by “Innovation that Matters.”
- Approximately 300,00 IBMers on LinkedIn. This number is growing at 24% per year.
- IBM has the largest employee presence of any firm on the platform.
- Over 50,000 members of alum networks on LinkedIn and Facebook
- Blog Central now has more than 20,000 registered users in 73 countries (+100% since launch)
- More than 400k Sametime instant messaging users, resulting in 40-50 million instant messages per day.
IBM uses a variety of databases, including blogs, which enables employees from all corners of the globe to engage in online discourse and collaborate and share information. By building an extensive global knowledge network, IBM has decreased the time required for research by employees that in turn frees up more time to be spent on sales and product and service improvements, thereby enhancing productivity and efficiency. IBM has also developed their own software, such as SocialBlue, for employees to utilise and exchange information and ideas online within a secure and controlled environment, thereby protecting the company’s business information as well as enhancing staff engagement through improvements in internal communication.
Another strategy successfully utilised by IBM is crowd-sourcing, which has resulted in excess of $100 million generated in new businesses. IBM has used the power of social media to seek financial contributions, skills, knowledge and ideas from the masses for IBM projects.
The key profit generating benefits of implementing the use of social media into IBM’s core business strategy has been: increased employer knowledge and education; increased efficiency; and improved communication skills. IBM invested in the creation of social media tools and has been receiving a return of investment by monetising those tools as part of their product portfolio.
IBM does have a formal policy for employees utilising social media. However, as a general rule of thumb, employees are responsible for content created and they are prohibited from releasing private information about the company. One of the greatest risks with using Enterprise 2.0 technologies is security, and an accidentally made comment can go viral within a matter of hours, whereas older methods of communication, such as snail mail, gave the company more time to implement recovery strategies. Another problem encountered with the release of information is the accuracy of the information and the information may not be reliable. Individuals in breach of security policies are held solely responsible for any content released.Implementing Enterprise 2.0: Free Chapter 4 – Key benefits and risks