E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

IBM Wants You to Network – How by Joining Communities the Job Is Much Easier

(Previously, on elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog at ITtoolbox)

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Errr, and who wouldn’t, right? Almost every business out there wants, at some stage, every single one of their knowledge workers to jump the bandwagon and start networking with other knowledge workers, if they haven’t done so already, in order to spark some more knowledge sharing and collaborating amongst peers. So why would IBM be any different, right? Yes, that is more or less what I have been wondering about myself over the last few days ever since I bumped into IBM wants you to network, by Emmet Ryan. A worth while read if you would want to know some more as to where IBM is coming from in this particular subject of pushing social networking within the enterprise.

"Social networks are becoming a way to work more efficiently rather than a tool to procrastinate on the job according to IBM."

About time that someone would say something like that out loud, don’t you think? Instead of having to keep coming up with excuses as to why you still keep your weblog running, while you get to collaborate in wikis or participate in podcasts / vodcasts, or store your favourite bookmarks in tools like del.icio.us, or why you still keep tagging things (And people!) wherever you go. About time that someone would come up straight forward and start delivering on the promise of why social computing can, and surely will, revolutionalise the way we interact in our own workplace(s).

I must say that I have actually enjoyed quite a bit the news article put together by ElectricNews around an interview done with Stuart McRae (IBM’s Lotus collaboration strategist for North East Europe), where he is actually sharing a couple of gems of the kind of impact that social software is currently having within the corporate world:

""We want to allow communities within the organisation to collaborate together, to innovate and to change the ways companies do business together," said McRae. "Companies can use these to find new ways of working, new product ideas and new ways to serve customers."" (Emphasis mine)

Spot on! Not only is that quote a very relevant one to evaluate the kind of impact of social computing within the enterprise, but it also includes one particular element that I am quite interested in myself, which is the communities piece. That is right, for a number of years supporting communities has never been a topic that gained lot of traction. In fact, only very few people have been doing extensive work around the subject of communities within the corporate world, so when you see news articles like this one you know that things are changing, and fast! And what was almost forgotten not long ago it is actually coming back in full force and all that, again, thanks to the emerging technologies behind social computing, where yes, more and more people may be talking about the me, me, and for me era, but unless you share your knowledge and information with others who share your same passion(s), it is not going anywhere, any time soon!

So, finally, we are seeing how communities are making their way back into the corporate agenda and how through social computing they will continue gaining more and more ground till they are fully integrated into the different business processes. At which point we would be able to say that social computing will be fully embedded in the BAU day to day work. I just can’t wait for that to happen, can you? And best part of it all is that we may be a lot closer than what you think. So how is your Community Building Program going within your business? Still think that communities are a waste of time and resources? Time to think again, I guess…

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