SPLF 2013: Shawn Beeson Unlocks Enterprise Social Networking with The 5 Human Factors of Social Collaboration

Shawn Beeson of NewsGator began his enlightening SharePoint Leadership Forum session in Washington, D.C. this morning sharing a little bit about NewsGator, including that the company was founded–and is based on–SharePoint.  Philosophically, Sean explained, “How [can we] make work better, easier?” is what, “everyone thinks
about at NewsGator, “from the CEO on down.”

Sharing a favorite quote Erik Qualman, Shawn then set the stage for the remainder of his session: “The ROI of social technologies in the enterprise is that, if you are using them, you may still exist in five years.”

Speaking to the notion that there have been three major shifts in the evolution of work, Shawn said that the industrial revolution represented the first major shift: “We got better through this network of hands” “unleashing
physical productivity through technology.” The “network of minds,” dating from roughly 1950-2010, represented
the second major shift, “using technology to overcome the mental limitations of business.”  Currently,
we’re experiencing the “network of hearts,” and “overcoming emotional limitations through technology” because
“we want to feel emotionally connected to the work we’re doing, and the people we’re doing it with.”

Citing Cognizant, Shawn said that the four forces currently shaping the future of work are: globalization, Millenials, cloud computing, and virtualization.  This “confluence of people, process, and tools” has led to “a highly efficient, connected, and engaged workforce.”

Answering the question, “So why isn’t everyone doing it?,” Shawn said that it’s generally one of two things: “executive leadership isn’t getting it, or users are not adopting it.”  So how does one fix this?

“Fear of the unknown stops decision makers,” so you “deal with it addressing their concerns”
(e.g., “make a real business case, focus on the ROI and revenue, focus on a specific business problem first,” etc.).
With users, the problem is that “change creates anxiety, and it’s the “little things [that] are big barriers to entry” (things like “What is a #hashtag?” and “Who should I friend?”). Methods of addressing these concerns include: “have the system teach them” leveraging network intelligence; use “intelligent streams and filtering, allowing users to prioritize”; “make sure you’ve got real community managers”; and “encouraging executive participation.”  Of the importance of this last example, Shawn said, “I can’t overemphasize this enough.”

Sean wrapped up with his 5 human factors for social collaboration:

  1. Humans learn doing (“make it Apple-easy”; provide an on-screen walkthrough tour,
    recommend hashtags based on business intelligence, provide smart tips, etc.)
  2. Humans work better together (the wisdom of crowds, break down
    silos, allow people to opt into groups, foster bottom-up communication)
  3. Humans like to be recognized (recognition makes people feel
    good, and drives people to do certain things)
  4. Humans want tools that make work better (tools that reduce
    admin time and “free you up to do real work”)
  5. Humans want to feel connected (part of the organization,
    connected to co-workers, and want to work how, when, and where they want via mobility)

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