SPTechCon 2013: Jeremy Thake’s Keynote Shows You the Future of Social Collaboration

SharePoint Social.

Kind of feels like you can't set foot in a SharePoint conference without hearing these two words together, doesn't it?  Well unfortunately, it's time to suck it up and get used to the idea of social for, whether we like it or not, social has been positioned as the future of how work gets done within the enterprise.  But with all this talk around social, what is it exactly, and why should we care?  In his keynote titled "The Future of Social Collaboration," AvePoint Chief Architect Jeremy Thake shed light on the social revolution, including what's causing it, what it is and why we should take notice and implement it within our organizations.  His discussion included four main points of conversation including:

  • Business is Changing;
  • Why Social?;
  • Microsoft's Story; and
  • Social Collaboration Success.

To begin our conversation on social, it only seems right to first examine why social?; namely that Business is Changing.  So how exactly is business changing?  Where to start…?  Perhaps one of the key changes we've been noticing is that people are MUCH more hyper-connected and hyper-competitive than in years past.  In the past, communicating might have meant picking up your landline and placing a call sometime between 9am and 5pm EST, but technology has drastically changed this status quo.  With employees working at home, on the road, and in offices throughout the U.S. and the world, technology has rapidly evolved to meet the demands of the modern worker.  We're now not only collaborating more, but across a number of different channels including Yammer, newsfeeds, discussion boards, instant messaging, and more.  As globalization has increased, so too has the technology that supports and advances how we get business done better, faster, and cheaper. 

Chief among the business and technology changes has been the growth of BYOD.  With mobility growing by leaps and bounds, fewer people are toting laptops and more people are relying on their tablets and smartphones to communicate with the office while on the go.  So what are we doing to help address the needs of these users?

First and foremost, we're finding new ways to give them a voice.  Why Social?  Simply stated, social makes it easier for us to advance a group-centric way of getting business done.  By giving our employees, from the extremely talkative extroverts to the more resigned introverts, the ability to share their thoughts through a range of different avenues, we are becoming much more effective at getting everyone involved in the conversation and ensuring that people are getting the right answers to their questions. 

So we know how social works in theory, but how do we implement it in practice?  One of the most important things to do, according to Jeremy, is to find champions that understand the value of social and are willing to stand up for your cause.  As much as we wish it weren't the case, people aren't always going to be quick to adopt new technologies and ways of doing things.  When you can get champions on your side to help encourage and engage your workers, it becomes much easier to push social collaboration and manage your knowledge and information.  In addition, it becomes a lot easier to break down what Jeremy has named the Top Ten myths about enterprise social collaboration:

Now that we understand that business is changing and that social is the way to go, what is being done to help facilitate social on SharePoint?  By looking a little bit closer at Microsoft's Story, it becomes easier to see how to launch social into the enterprise landscape.  Specifically, Microsoft has developed a roadmap that identifies how to successfully leverage the powerful innovations provided by Yammer and Office365 into a comprehensive social enterprise solution.  From communities to newsfeeds to tags, Microsoft has definitely invested in developing and perfecting the tools you need to make your social enterprise implementation and adoption both simple and successful. 

So what needs to happen to achieve Social Collaboration Success within your organization?  Jeremy closed out his keynote presentation by outlining key things to take into consideration when considering social collaboration in the enterprise:

  • The key to success is to consider social as its own project; it can't just be a tiny blimp that is pushed off to the side.
  • Make sure you have a roadmap and that you think strategically. Develop a plan and stick to it!
  • Take mobility into account. Think about what devices your users will be utilizing and how you plan to support them.
  • Find a community champion to help support and spread your cause.
  • Have a clearly defined social media policy. Make sure that users are made aware of what they can – and cannot – do within the confines of your community.

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