This is a guest post by Vipin Thomas, Product Manager at MangoSpring on how enterprise social networks can help simplify work as email’s current form, as a stand-alone application appears inadequate & inefficient.

If you decide to share a link to this post with your friends or colleagues, would you send them an email?  Or would you share it on your favorite social network?

Email has created an overload of unnecessary communication, Per Radicati Group on average, corporate email users send and receive an estimated 117 emails per day today. With this vast number of messages demanding our attention, email clients haven’t adapted to the increase in traffic, leaving inbox’s full of messages that are ignored due to a lack of workflow management capabilities. This information overload has become a productivity drain. A huge amount of valuable company knowledge is locked up in emails and inaccessible to other employees. When someone leaves the company, this information is lost.

In a previous blog we talked about how social networks introduce an interesting new model of outreach & communications with advantages over email. In this blog we’ll try to highlight how enterprise social networks can help simplify work as email’s current form as a stand-alone application appears inadequate & inefficient.

enterprise network and emails

1. Centralized data repository: Unlike email where all data is sent from sender’s mail client to receiver’s inbox, your enterprise network can maintain data in its data center and make them accessible by multiple people at multiple end points. Collaboration is easier because there exists a place in the virtual page where people can come to find out context and history. No more forwarding of emails with attachments to share context. They will be more visible and more accessible; no longer buried in individual accounts.

2. Thanking a colleague: Post it on your colleagues wall, send a badge or update as your status, it not only gives visibility to your colleague for his expertise but also helps build an internal reputation & motivation. Had this been over e-mail, you would have been involved in CCing team members, & forwarding it which eventually gets lost in the clutter & some may even end up deleting it.

3. Assigning a task to a team member: Enterprise social networks allows you to create, assign, manage & organize your tasks. Once organized, your workload stays manageable, you move through your task in a prioritized order and any team member can see what you’re working on rather than e-mail threads going back and forth on due date and task completion.

4. Creating a presentation or working on a collaborative document: Typically we would shoot an e-mail with the draft attachment, requesting input from colleagues/team which results in multiple versions, back & forth of e-mails & lots of time consumed in integrating the input/feedback. Whereas uploading the file on your enterprise social network & making them the editors would allow them to directly update sections as required.

5. Brainstorming With Team Members: There are meetings & then meetings about the meetings, most enterprise’s would agree that meetings are real productivity killers & can be controlled by simply posting a blog or wiki about the brainstorming/meeting session to the team, ask them for their feedback & integrate the comments or allow co-authoring by the colleagues so that they can go in and update sections as required. You could easily save on lots of time, back & forth of e-mails, team members can easily add ideas, the whole team views all new ideas and comments, No e-mails required. The content stays in community for new team members to view and contribute.

It was just a short time ago when email was the backbone of nearly all communications; today social networking software is increasingly becoming the backbone of business communications. We don’t anticipate email going away rather email will be used as a notification tool to alert users. However in the long-term, there appears to be generational shifts away from email usage. More and more real collaboration will happen on virtual space where all data is available along with the latest relationship graph. There will be an increasing shift to virtual work space, be it enterprise social network or collaboration platform.

What are some tasks that you do differently using social tools? Let us know how you work differently using social tools both inside & outside of the company.

Image courtesy: geekandpoke.typepad.comblogs.calgaryherald.com

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