Social media - what's being used in your business / what are you finding effective?

Hello everyone,

 

I've been working on the development of my company's first global e-learning system for the past few years. This has taken us a while with little top-down leadership and, (in some areas) with an aging workforce that are not particularly IT savvy. Gradually we are getting there!

 

This has been a big cultural change to some, but my colleagues and I realise that our e-learning system is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

I'm aware that lots of companies are using many different tools for all sorts of business benefits as well as staff development and so i'm trying to put a simple discussion document together listing the different technologies /software that are available & the typical business uses so we can establish if there is anything that could help us too.

 

So basically I’m interested in hearing what sorts of systems you are using, what you are using them for, and if you are seeing the benefits!

 

Any comments or words of wisdom will be appreciated - this is all very new to us.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Catherine

 

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Hi Catherine. We have a global sharepoint intranet site which allows all of our colleagues to interact from the one platform. We've also been able to create Team sites at local levels and given access and space allocation to teams. It also has a great forum site where you can create threads to share knowledge or simply ask for help.
The down side is that it does need some strict guidelines and policing as forums can be open to manipulation. Overall though, it has been a great success and has been great in uniting our global audience.
To answer what systems we're using -- we're going with a combination of Confluence, Jive SBS and Google Apps in our organisation. They're great apps (or app suites) in their own right, but one of the things that we want to do is take away the guesswork and move to a slightly more freeform approach to social learning. So, we're going to nuke Confluence, move our wiki to Jive and use Google Apps to augment team collaboration only.

Now, the big word of caution from my side -- please don't base your strategy on tools alone. Tools are only the tip of the social learning iceberg, so do consider the cultural changes, the community management and governance and how your way of working is likely to evolve.

Do also remember that social learning is not just about the technology. There's a case I always like to make around making social learning the fabric of the way people learn, computer-aided or not. I've written about this a fair bit, so I'm happy to talk to you offline if you need to chat.
I am currently working on a Leadership Development program...the idea is to augment an existing in-class, facilitator-led program and individualized coaching with online support to create a seamless experience. To this end, I have had some interesting conversations with various stakeholders--among them are coaches, participants, as well as business leaders.

A few interesting (probably well-known) perceptions emerged when I mentioned using a collaborative platform that would facilitate sharing, creation of user-generated content, access to media rich content like videos, etc., (all in less technical jargon of course)...

1. We would benefit from a forum that would let us share and discuss
2. Even our coaches could do with guidance and support
3. We would need more time or time out of regular work to collaborate and learn

One of the crucial aspect here, I feel, is to show people (telling will not work) that one doesn't "require" extra time to share or collaborate. I agree with Sumeet that it is not about tools at all. It is, to a large extent, about the reward structure and about building the learning into the workflow.

It is about building a culture that rewards sharing, supports failures and experimentation, cheers the innovators and the problem-solvers and, above all, recognizes team effort. If even some of these aspects can be made a part of an org's DNA, the tools will automatically do their job. Therefore, a social media implementation strategy has to take into account the probable need to re-define an organization's cultural DNA.

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