Social Solutions in SharePoint

One of the new features of SharePoint 2013 is improved
Social features.  The activity feed is
significantly improved and integrated with hash tags to make it easier to see
content from people that you are not following. 
The ability to follow a user, a document, a site, a hashtag all make it
easier to interact socially

 

This is critical to making Social Solutions work in
SharePoint, but just because we have a technology doesn’t mean that we have a
solution to a business problem.  There
are a ton of potential business problems that Social Features can help us
solve, but in the end, we want to drive a solution to a business problem by
using social to enhance our corporate culture. 

Here is an example. 
Company XYZ wants to encourage innovation in their company because they
saw a presentation about how innovative companies are more competitive in the
world market.  Aha…social to the rescue,
we will create an #Innovation hashtag, maybe create an Innovation Community
site, and tell our employees to go out there and post their idea.  A few months after launch, they realize that
their innovation initiative has failed? 
Why?  They made use of all of the
technology?  How could they have failed?  It might be because they didn’t recognize that
their employees aren’t used to a culture of innovation.  It might be because while they created some
areas for their employees to submit ideas…they didn’t ensure that every idea
that was submitted was responded to in a timely manner.  Those failings, and the myriad like them, had
nothing to do with the social technology, but everything to do with the
implementation of the solution as a business process.

Here is a simple example of a social solution and how making
it part of a business process is more than just about setting it up.

Ever been to a restroom in your company’s building and seen
that the supplies are out, or it needs cleaning/service? How about a social
solution for reporting that incident (it can really be any type of incident,
but this one is simple).  You open up
your cell phone, snap a photo, and post it to the activity feed with a hashtag
#incident and a location tag as well. 

 

Yes, I know, you need to actually do a bit more work to
make the photo work on a mobile, but it’s not impossible

Quick, easy, simple…but will it work?  Not if you don’t have maintenance monitoring
that hashtag and making sure that when it pops up that they actually go and resolve
the issue.  Will they use a social
feature to solve that issue?  Sure they
will, but you had better train then in how to monitor it and manage their
expectations that incidents will come in from that feed as opposed to the
traditional channels.  That is really
organizational change management…but it is critical to the success of the
incident reporting social solution.

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