Good collaboration isn’t accidental

Collaboration is the mainstay of social use in the enterprise. But over the years, it’s evolved from being about email and messaging to part of a holistic engagement strategy. A recent IBM Center for Applied Insights social adoption study revealed that many organizations start with collaboration to accomplish specific business goals including employee productivity and increasing customer loyalty and advocacy.

But getting collaboration right doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in an ad hoc fashion. Social pioneers have a deliberate approach to investing in key tools to optimize knowledge exchange and enhance internal and external relationships.

  • Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 2.35.54 PMCollaborative applications: Mobile and web-based tools such as web conferencing and instant messaging allow businesses to access, share and work on projects online at anytime with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Enterprise social networks: Collaborative capabilities allow users inside or outside an organization’s firewall to communicate with one another. Examples include activity streams, communities, forums and blogs.
  • Social media marketing: Social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can reach customers and promote content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks.

Where eclecticism breeds collaboration
In the enterprise space, great examples abound of collaboration done right. But outside the corporate realm, educational institutions have been good test beds for best practices in collaboration. Colleges and universities are forced to be open to diverse technology because of the varying needs of an inherently social student population. And beyond technology, they’ve needed to be open to a change in mindset. As the breeding ground of future disruptors and emerging techs, universities are the type of place where innovation happens. And it’s fueled by collaboration.

fidmA good example of how social collaboration has changed the way students, faculty and administration engage is the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). California-based FIDM offered role-specific services catering to the needs of various communities, from mobile-accessible class schedules to faculty-shared class materials for students. Ultimately, FIDM was able to increase engagement and productivity across its colleges through a multi-channel digital experience that combines classic communication tools with sophisticated analytics and personalization capabilities.

This deliberate approach to collaboration is a trend that many pioneering organizations are embracing, en route to more sophisticated capabilities for community engagement including personalization and behavioral analytics. In turn, these organizations are also establishing a benchmark of best practices for collaboration.

Learn more about best practices for social adoption in our latest podcast It’s not what you know…It’s what you share.

Re-published on Forbes on August 20

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