The 21st century is marked by the so-called enterprise social networks that help employees to engage, connect, share, and collaborate with their coworkers in a productive, timely, exciting, and efficient way. We are still on the early stages of these collaborative tools but they are already transforming the nature of our work.
These two-way conversation platforms work in different ways but have a common goal: facilitate information sharing and content collaboration among employees inside the organization, with the final aim of increasing business value. By helping people connect more easily, they drive bigger ideas and turn them into smart decisions faster.
We’ve taken a look at the main innovative ESNs and knowledge sharing platforms that are shaping the workplace – Yammer, Sitrion, SharePoint, Salesforce, Knowledge Plaza, Zyncro, and FoKo. Read on to find out about their benefits and limitations. Tell us, which ones do you use?
* What Yammer, Sitrion and SharePoint2013 have in common is that they are all operating within the Microsoft ecosystem.
Currently one of the most popular platforms for knowledge sharing and management. Used by more than 200,000 companies (including us at ZN!) with more than 9 million users worldwide. Has great communication capabilities that bring together a single social experience for everyone.
- Integrates with Microsoft SharePoint
- Share conversations and data across different business units and get quick responses on specific questions
- Creation of polls, groups, events, tags, and translation
- API could be an option
Sitrion (formerly NewsGator)
An enterprise social interface with a rich history and millions of users. Known for “making work better and simpler” through its knowledge sharing and management platform.
- Integrates with Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook
- Ideas easily shared with Idea Stream and knowledge-based units
- Uses Microsoft SharePoint to adapt look and feel
- Multi-tenant cloud, community building, and spotlight capability
Content management platform aimed to drive internal communications processes and facilitate access to work tools. Offers new social features that allow IT departments to manage costs, risk and their time, allowing users to access applications and files from virtually everywhere.
The enterprise cloud-computing CRM leader with over 100,000 customers. Its social and mobile cloud technologies help companies connect with customers, partners, and employees in entirely new ways.
- Integrates with Salesforce Chatter (social network)
- CRM capabilities, top-notch customer support (reach new customers easily), social media built to connect with customers and employees
- Web based application can be customized to meet customers needs
KP is a Belgian company with offices based in Brussels, Paris and Geneva. Highly social and mobile-friendly social intranet solution. This knowledge sharing platform has 150+ European clients and over 100.000 users. Specialized in building and growing interactive and efficient knowledge bases among identified experts.
- Integrates with Google Drive, DropBox, and SkyDrive
- Fast search system, personalized look and feel
- Ability to capture and save emails, add attachments and web pages, categorize content using tags. Option to define open or closed access spaces
- For social analytics, it connects to this French tool
The first European Enterprise Social Network, launched in Spain in 2009 and one of the key players in the market. 250,000 users in 28 nations across Europe, America, and Asia (where China is a growing market). Its “white labeling” feature offers seamless branding and customization design options.
- Integrates with Chatter
- Glocal customer service
- White labeling
The “Instagram for enterprises.” An internal photo sharing app for employees to internally share pictures in real time and in a simple and fun way.
- Images are stored on a cloud management system
- Power of the hashtag allows users to follow real-time discussions that are important
- Strong visual communication
- Photos are not shared publicly on the Internet (i.e. Instagram)
Key takeaways on ESNs
As companies aim to capture employees’ feedback from the social web, collaborating in real time and supporting some work processes with social tools will become essential to building a more productive and dynamic organization.
Although ESNs will never outpace email, they complement it and make us save time and work better. After all, good companies know that the most valuable knowledge is gained through employee collaboration – involving everyone, from the very bottom of the organizational chart to the very top.
According to McKinsey and Towers Watson, when employees are highly engaged, companies are 200% more innovative, 18% more productive, and 12% more profitable than their competitors.