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Adding a New Dimension to IntraOrganisational Management Through Social Computing Tools

October 8, 2007

Recently, Calvin and I took part in a blogging competition organised by IBM and Digital Life of the Straits Times. This competition was organised to draw awareness to the IBM Lotus Software and prizes were attractive – a MACbook and a N90 Communicator Phone. So we decided to try our luck with all the knowledge that we have had so far together with some extra research and creativity.

Who would have thought that both our entries came in 1st and 2nd placings.. earning us both the laptop and the phone! We just kept on believing and visualising that we will be the winners and even put pictures of the items on our vision board! How amazing! This is definitely a good testimony to positive attitude!

Well, check out my winning entry below! 😀

Announcement on Blog4Biz

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There’s no doubt the Internet has revolutionalised corporate management and interaction through various forms from Web 2.0 to social computing tools. Given that corporate blogs and other uses of social computing tools are on the rise, corporate organizations are beginning to appreciate what the Internet and its tools can do for them. And the ways organizations can utilize such tools are limitless.

Firstly, the use of internal corporate blogs can serve as a medium for people to update others about what is happening around them and for a corporate blog, about what is happening within and related to the company. Blogs on a team or department level can allow the whole company to be kept in the loop of activities, plans, projects and ideas that a team/department is involved in. The team blog thus becomes a representative of a collective perspective of the team/ department. It makes the team more transparent and open to more suggestions and feedback, which can largely benefit it – where flaws can be pointed out and areas can be improved on. However, blogs are not necessarily just for the provision of information and updates.

Superiors can make use of the blogs to keep track of subordinates’ track record of projects and performance. For instance, each work project will have a blog and project leaders and their members are required to blog about their progress, their experiences and evaluate their work performance as individuals and as a whole.

Moreover, these blogs can serve as an avenue to voice members’ personal concerns about their job and work or ideas on improving certain areas in the project such as the company product, management and activities. This is made possible due to the fact that blogs help to reduce the hierarchical barrier of communication and will encourage openness in expression of one’s genuine feelings by employees. These blogs can help in the employee appraisals which will thus factor in clearly employee contributions, ideas and suggestions that are made throughout the year on it.

This brings me to the idea of the use of Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. Blogs and information sharing can be easily kept track of with the use of RSS feeds which allows you to be updated and view data that you have subscribed to. Companies can come up with biweekly news feeds or online announcement bulletins along with corporate blogs which employees can subscribe to, to remain in touch with company projects, activities, announcements.

We all know of Google and other available search engines online and the immense part they play in information sharing online. The concept of finding information through search engines should be replicated within corporate organizations through the use of search tools because they shorten the time taken to find information within the company. Wikis are one example and are the way to go with information sharing because Wikis shorten information searching and sharing processes, making updates of new information quick and easy. Corporate information can be easily accessed and edited by employees all at one place which reduces the possibility of the wrong details being conveyed.

Additionally, social bookmarking and tagging are two ways which corporate organizations can make use of as well. For instance, when a staff sees an article that is relevant and beneficial to the company, he/she can just tag or bookmark that piece of information and share it with everyone else through the company website. References can be easily kept too which facilitates other people who might be looking for the same information later on. Ideas/ information are to shared in order to enhance the company’s value and achieve enlightenment in order to enhance creativity and contribute to decision making process.

Also, communicative tools such as instant messaging, email, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) encourage the facilitation of communication, decision making as well as sharing of ideas and information. It’s a renowned fact that internet communicative tools are efficient, facilitate discussions anytime and anywhere and can reduce the costs of communication. However, the power of anonymity that it has is often neglected. This power of anonymity encourages the sharing of ideas without being overly concerned about what other people may think of it and it is when people are in such conditions, that crazy yet innovative ideas are shared and brought to reality.

For instance, communicative tools should be utilized in a similar manner where more corporate discussions are held with its participants remaining anonymous and just brainstorming and offering ideas. Discussions about sensitive issues should also be conducted in such a manner. There is less self-awareness in such discussions, leaving people to be more attentive and productive as well as more willing to share without the fear of being judged. Ideas development can thrive optimally in such conditions. Top management also has the freedom to take on a different persona which allows them to interact with other members and get suggestions freely.

Organizations can also maximize the use of social networks which has been rampant with the rise of sites like MySpace, Friendster and Facebook because of its viral effect, and its ability to include everyone all at a single website. Corporate organizations should replicate it to cultivate a sense of belonging with the help of such a website. Relationships between employees can be brought to a more personal level with the sharing of personal interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes through the social network profile page where employees can upload more information about themselves and their lives. Family members of employees can also be invited to join the corporation’s special group created in social networks which will allow a higher level of bonding and understanding between employees.

Moreover, the connections in the social network create visually the actual flow of information within an organization. It can help all members better understand how information gets shared and highlights the areas within the organization that are truly responsible for effecting change, turning the company directory into an online network.

In addition, contributions and discussions between employees can be done through features such as the forums, chatrooms that are made available. Forums and chatrooms are similar to instant messaging where communication is done efficiently, only that now there’s a way to differentiate conversations through the use of threads and chat rooms and it has the ability to include tons of people all at one time. It encourages social interactions beyond the office setting, sharing of ideas in an informal manner and breaks down the possible barriers created by job titles.

A possible suggestion that companies can make use of is for the CEO to post scenario based questions or discussion topics in these forums and chat rooms and ask employees to react to the scenario as a whole. The CEO can then be able to see in real time how fast his/ her employees get together to discuss and come up with new ideas and how ideas are immediately shared in the form of posting threads. It can be an informal judgment of the level of leadership, team work, analytical and problem solving skills displayed each individual within the organization.

Lastly, to take project management, planning and teamwork to the next level beyond discussing in forums and chat rooms, companies can create online planning tools and platforms for their employees to work with and in. Companies can replicate the concept of web based project management created by Wrike at www.Wrike.com and offer online facilitation services for project leaders and their members which can increase their productivity.

In conclusion, with the emergence of social computing tools and the rapid improvement of technology, organizations with a bit of creativity, can discover limitless untapped potential in using such tools to help them achieve their organizational goals.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Hike October 10, 2007 at 6:30 PM

    I love the Wrike service! It does make a difference for my small business. It’s like giving your team more freedom and escaping extra paper-work and phone calls. And still everything is neatly under control. Simply love it!

  • Reply -:-queen_pat-:- October 11, 2007 at 1:13 AM

    Hi Hike!

    I’m really glad that you enjoyed the Wrike service! It was a website that I came across by chance actually while I was researching for the Blog4Biz competition and I realised its potential in helping small and medium enterprises. Really happy that you and your business can benefit from it! 😀

    Here’s wishing you and your business all the best!

    Cheers,
    Patricia

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