When it comes to Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) which promises to increase an enterprise’s productivity, my experience has been pretty bad. As a result, I didn’t believe they added value but Elena Luk’yanenko who is a Customer Success Manager, APAC,Microsoft,Productivity Cloud Solutions proves me wrong in this cafe chat.
Before we begin.. What is Enterprise Social Network (ESN)?
“ESN, is like any other social medium today which helps bring people and information together and is used to connect people working towards common goals”
Here is what we chit chatted on and how Elena changed my mind over a coffee in a cafe…
Anjali :Tell me about a time when you have felt most frustrated and unproductive at work?
Elena : It was a few months ago, one of the customers I was working with was very keen to buy a Microsoft Solution and had requested for a case study before making the final decision to purchase the solution. I remembered coming across a conversation on Yammer ( Yammer is an enterprise social software) about a case study on that solution. So, I started looking for it but the search was leading me to so much information and the process of trying to find it was tedious and frustrating. My meeting was in 30 mins and I left for the meeting without the case study. I wasted time, did not get what I wanted and felt it was a highly unproductive process which left me thinking we have so much information but for what?
Anjali: Tell me about a time that you have felt very productive at work?
Elena: I am lazy, very lazy ( Elena giggles here and I knew why? I have seen her in action and she is no where near lazy) . So, if I can find something that is already done I happily take it and change a few things to make it right for what i need. ( I corrected Elena here and said she was not lazy but productive and smart ). It was a few weeks ago I had to present to a client. So, I thought the first thing I am going to do is to ask on Yammer if anyone has worked on something like that. I asked and within a few mins I got a few responses that led me to getting what I wanted. I changed a few things and with in mins,what seemed like a big task of preparing a presentation was done. I felt super productive.
Anjali: What is interesting in both the stories you told is that Yammer is making you productive and unproductive. Can you please elaborate on what is going on?
Elena: What you have to understand is that Yammer is a place to have conversations and collaborate not dump information, it’s not a server and its not Facebook. You may put out great information there but there is a hygiene issue you have to understand around that. More on hygiene in enterprise social networks later.
In the first story I am looking for information and not asking anyone if they know anything about the case study. In the second case I am asking someone and they are responding, which is like I am having a conversation and someone is collaborating.
You may have wonderful information that you would like to share but people don’t pay attention to that until there comes a time when they need that information. So, what is the point of that great information?
Anjali: This explains why I have not seen any value in the enterprise social networks because I have not used them correctly! I am sure somebody could have told people how to use this software!!!!
Elena: Yes absolutely, I often tell people technology, Yammer in this case is only 20%. The culture you build through the introduction of these great platforms contributes towards 80% of the success. We are focussed on enterprise social networks and technology is just an enabler.
I go to corporates who have taken our product and then I ask them, ” how will you manage this change? People don’t like change so what are you going to do?” I get an answer like, our corporate team will send an email to make them aware of the change then we will have a training.
At this stage, I get very frustrated because they have not thought about basic stuff like how will you create a desire to want to change and how will you reinforce that this it is an important change to make.
You need to tell stories of people who are successfully using the enterprise social network. In those stories, is the motivation to change and information on how to change. Basic change management principles are not followed which leads people not believing in the value of the software.
There are many more amazing insights that Elena shared which I will be sharing with you in my upcoming blogs but by this stage I was convinced that enterprise social networks work but they only work if someone is telling me how to use them properly and that teaching has to be via storytelling and secondly, someone must create a desire in me to want to change and that too can only be via storytelling.
1) To be productive, have conversations and collaborate on enterprise social network . Do not dump information there.
2) Have a good change management plan in place when you introduce enterprise social networks that will make you productive which involves storytelling as well.
So, Storytelling passes the productivity test and Thank you Elena for such amazing insights and of course changing my mind.
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