Keys to Success

By Matthew Sarrel  |  Posted 2010-11-09 Print this article Print


Keys to Success

Establishing a flourishing social collaboration site must be planned while keeping in mind the business objectives that will define success. Remember how public social network sites started-they were either a flash in the pan or took off like wildfire. Let's make sure you leverage the right solutions and strategies to burn the house down.

The key success factor will be employee engagement. Work with business units to set objectives that can be accomplished by increased, and perhaps less structured, employee interaction. Start with small proof-of-concept projects focused on specific business processes and clearly defined business goals.

Usability, information architecture, and look and feel play a huge role in employee acceptance. Take heavy cues from what works in the consumer social networking space. Remember, social collaboration is every bit a people play as it is an infrastructure play.

You're asking employees to work together across an organization using a new technology. Younger generations are used to living online, so they'll quickly make the adjustment to working online. Just keep them somewhat amused while providing them with a valuable tool for collaboration. Employees with a longer tenure within traditional companies may take a little longer to accept the solution, but they will do so when they understand they can find the right information, manage projects, track documents and quickly stay up-to-date with everything going on. Getting the "old guard" to use these tools can be an important way to gather the knowledge that's been stored within your organization before they retire.

Above all, allow employees to experience the benefits of social collaboration projects directly. The Belgian Federal Public Service Social Security is using to share documents as well as to organize conferences and meetings. Online discussions via group pages facilitate collaboration between colleagues from national and local public institutions, nongovernmental organizations, research centers and universities. Previously, during busy times, document sharing via e-mail caused mailboxes to exceed storage limits, and collaborators were frequently unable to share documents with their peers.

Employees, such as Manuel Paolillo, who serves as coordinator for the social security events during the Belgian Presidency, can be your greatest critics or your greatest backers. Paolillo enjoys the benefits of social collaboration and says: "With Huddle, I have access to all of my documents, at any time, from any location. I don't have to carry bags full of paper with me. In just a few clicks, I can show the latest version of my work to everyone in a meeting. If a document is modified, my colleagues can easily notify me. This is not only convenient, but also reassuring during busy periods."

Every staffer who learns the value of social collaboration for business becomes a de facto evangelist who can help bring other users on board. Tap into the power of the internal evangelist to drive adoption and acceptance. Find ways to encourage and incentivize participation. The success of social collaboration is directly tied to the amount of employee participation. Once everyone sees early adopters reaping rewards, you'll have the foundation laid for collaborative success.


Matthew Sarrel Matthew D. Sarrel, CISSP, is a network security,product development, and technical marketingconsultant based in New York City. He is also a gamereviewer and technical writer. To read his opinions on games please browse and for more general information on Matt, please see

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