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Three Ways to Increase the Value of Your Social Collaboration

September 22, 2015 by Derek Klobucher 48

The Digital Age is helping organizations engage customers, partners and employees — and keep them engaged — working together from their mobile devices via the cloud.

There are even social networks designed just for enterprises, such as SAP Jam, and they let developers build better collaboration apps faster than ever.

But there are so many ways this tool can help that some organizations may be confused by SAP Jam’s myriad options. That’s why SuccessFactors brought together three customers to share lessons learned from integrating SAP Jam in order to transform their companies through social learning.

Here are some of their tips for adopting SAP Jam.

No. 1: Honestly Assess Your Culture

“The best advice I can give you is: Understand the learners and the people who are going to use it before you propose a solution,” said DeAnna Myers of Chicago-based power plant consultancy Sargent & Lundy. “Study your culture.”

Getting Sargent & Lundy’s c-suite on board was also a challenge, as the COO kept dismissing Jam as “Facebook,” Myers stated at the “POWER Panel: Transforming Your Workforce with Social Collaboration” breakout session during SuccessConnect 2015 last month. But reframing SAP Jam’s purpose helped get the company’s leadership onboard — which helped get everyone else onboard.

“Know your culture: Are you hierarchical? Are you traditional? Are you more innovative, creative?” Myers said. “Those are going to take different solutions — as with any kind of learning solution, your best defense is a great assessment.”

No. 2: Advocate for Your Groups

“If you’re establishing groups … have an advocate within those groups,” said Sarah Ullman of Hudson, Ohio-based crafts and fabrics retailer Jo-Ann Stores. “The more people post and engage, the more active your groups will be.”

Groups that didn’t have advocates were not so successful as those that did, according to Ullman; that’s because no one posted regularly or updated them. But rolling out SAP Jam slowly — what Ullman’s boss called “crawl, walk, run” — helped Jo-Ann understand the social collaboration tool’s capabilities.

“An intern … helped us develop a plan and sell [SAP Jam] to the organization — I then hired that intern,” Ullman said. “[He] definitely helped us engage that sector of the workforce.”

No. 3: Use Different Tools to Unite

“Find a perfect purpose for each tool,” said Adriana Mejía of Medellín, Colombia-based cement and energy conglomerate Grupo Argos. “Don’t confuse your employees.”

Different tools and groups can coexist and complement each other, as opposed to competing, according to Mejía, who is responsible for HR IT and administrative processes at Grupo Argos. IT and HR should work together so that SAP Jam can support — and connect — all platforms across the organization.

“Involve other areas of your company, not only HR,” Mejía said. “For example, SAP Jam was launched by the finance vice president, and we did a small video explaining how to create the perfect budget, how to manage it effectively during the year — that was huge!”

Culture Club

The value of organizations understanding their culture seemed to be a recurring theme at SuccessConnect 2015.

“There’s no best way to do performance management,” SuccessFactors’ Steve Hunt said in a video about selecting the right style for an organization. “You’d have two customers, both raving about the system, but the process for one customer would fail miserably in the other’s.”

That’s why successful implementations depend on honest introspection, which can seem scary for some. But that’s where the value is.

“My advice is go for it,” Grupo Argos’ Mejía said. “It’s worth it.”

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Top image: Shutterstock

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1 comment

  1. Jean

    IMHO you’ve got the right answers!

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