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The Power of Collectives

By jatinder

Added 10th September 2010

Enterprises are warming up to the benefits of new communication tools that engage audiences non-hierarchically

insightenterprisecollobration

ON A CAVALIER SATURDAY EVENING, a month ago, Yogesh Bansal, the Founder and CEO of Apnacircle.com, was set to retire early to his bed, till he received a call from his business associate, informing him about the integration of the web platform of ApnaCircle, a community for professionals, with a world-renowned social networking site.

Well, this was the news for which he and his team had waited for long. Wow! This is something that merits to be shared instantly with my team who worked day in and out to make this happen, exclaimed a charged up Bansal. He unfolded his laptop to log in to his customised enterprise blog.

Great news guys, your efforts and hard work have paid off. We have managed to partner with a world-renowned company, on which we have been working for so long. Congratulations! he wrote.To his amazement, in less than an hour, a series of congratulatory messages, discussing ways to promote this achievement among the web platform users, started pouring in.

Bansal was not sure if he could receive a similar reception from his partners or employees, on a casual weekend, had the same message been communicated through an e-mail, or any other channel.

Connecting via new-age tools is inarguably the best interactive approach, which makes a long-lasting impression in modern day communication, Bansal notes, while recalling the moment.

No wonder then, even before the week started, a plan was in place to promote a new idea, developed in a fun-driven, participative environment, without giving any serious trouble to the team. And, thats how the modern day communication should functionif one needs to outsmart competitors and gain first-mover advantage.

Changing perceptions

When compared to 1.0 communication channels (read e-mails and shared folders), industry experts today are convinced that applying real-time collaboration tools is the only way to increasing productivityinstantly.

And, it is a major method to encourage positive participation from employees, stakeholders and partners.

Use of collaborative tools can help organisations circulate the information of ongoing process and projects, that too, with complete transparency. It fosters the evolution of concepts and inferences, as a wide spectrum of people are involved, says Jacob Livingstone, Manager-IT, BEC.

One can evaluate its utility by way of ideation events and solutions received for a specific problem, or work products being delivered using such tools.
Whats more, groups can be built for opportunities, that work in parallel, which may result in shortening of delivery timelines. This becomes increasingly important for any organisation, that is geographically spread out.

Lets take an example of a company like Persistent that encourages its employees to be a part of the networking platforms and tools to connect with their customers, counterparts, professional group members, open source communities and former colleagues.

Commenting on the importance of customised collaboration tools over social media platforms, Swapnil Paranjpe, Senior Project ManagerEnterprise Collaboration BU, Persistent Systems, says, Enterprise collaboration tools are centred around attaining collective intelligence and staff collaboration at the organisation level, or with partners. These include features such as staff networking, expert recommendations, information sharing, expertise location, peer feedback, and real-time collaboration. At the personal level, this enables employees to enhance social awareness and their profiles and interactions.

For Tulip Telecom, the important lesson, while adopting the new media for partners and employees, was that social media marketing is not just about creating an account and sitting on it.You need something extra to make it effective, rather than just hoping for customers to come looking for you.

The company has an in-house social engagement platform for employees named Tulip Caf where employees are free to share, create groups, get into active discussions and share presentations. On a daily basis, in fact sometimes at hourly intervals, there needs to be something relevant the platform should offer to its audience, says Sujoy Mukherjee, AGM, MarketingTulip Telecom.A couple of years ago, the company started an open-platform enterprise networking tool called Grey Gambit to develop a link with its customersthe IT leaders.

Recently, we had 1,200 and more members with us. We managed to rope in encouraging participation in all sorts of activities, says Gaurava Yadav, Project Manager for Grey Gambit

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