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Companies and social networks, do they mix?

September 20, 2010 1 comment

Social networking in businesses

Social networking tools have become very popular over the past few years. Facebook and Twitter have absolutely boomed and transformed the meaning of having a social life. They have become the means of quickly getting in contact with your friends and staying updated on what is happening to the people around you. This method of exchanging information has allowed for news to spread extremely rapidly.

With this in mind, why wouldn’t an organisation want this as a means of workers to communicate, stay up-to-date with projects that are happening around them and increase the overall productivity of the company?

The issues with allowing employees to use social media tools like facebook and twitter is that more often than not it will be used for socialising, not work. Using these applications during work will ultimately distract the user and therefore reduce their productivity.

Yammer has the answer to this! “Yammer is a simple real-time communication tool for organizations. Yammer was created by people who wanted a better way to connect and share with people at work.”[1]

Yammer has been used successfully by a variety of companies as a corporate social network and a knowledge-sharing tool. With microblogging, user profiling and collaboration tools inbuilt, this is a truly a fantastic application for companies to use.[1]

One of the companies using Yammer is Suncorp. With over 15,000 employees, Suncorp has an asset of a tremendous amount of knowledge and Yammer has started to help harness this. With a user base of over 1,700 users the company has over 10% of its employees using this tool, and the results are really showing. [2]

Suncorp has seen an increase in informal knowledge flow across the departments with the microblogging tool. Yammer has allowed for instant connections between people with needed expertise, allowing for easy collaboration on topics and projects. [2]

Yammer has also allowed for alignment between the executives and employees through the use of the broadcast message. This means the upper management has instant access to knowledge allowing them to request ideas and thoughts on decisions being made. [2]

Personal experience with social networks

I am always on facebook to check out what is happening in the world around me. I believe that social networks for private life are brilliant tools to keep in contacts with friends and family in one spot. As for within a business, I believe they are fantastic tools for knowledge sharing and cross department connections if they are for business use only. Once you introduce personal life into the mix, I think productivity will be lost.

[1] https://www.yammer.com/about/product#what-is-yammer

[2] http://www.scribd.com/doc/33717520/Suncorp-Yammer-Success-Story