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An understanding of the broad benefits of social computing helps stakeholders pick best opportunities for successful implementation

Naomi Moneypenny, CTO of Synxi presents four broad benefits of social computing in a video tutorial titled Improving collective effectiveness with Social Enterprise Networks. This video tutorial is exclusively available to any/all subscribers to SharePoint-Videos.

The four benefits are:

  • Decentralize
  • Alignment
  • Transparency
  • and Engagement

Each of the above terms is, of course, an abstraction in need of definition and color. Moneypenny frames each of these terms within the context of this video tutorial, which is just under 12 minutes in length.

SharePoint, and/or SharePoint Online, Office 365 Stakeholders engaged in any effort to consider the benefits of social computing for a specific organization will benefit by gaining an understanding of the working definition of each of these terms. This understanding will provide them with a valuable method of identifying opportunities where it makes sense to implement social computing systems, and where it does not.

Readers may benefit from a short presentation of what Moneypenny means by the Decentralize benefit. In the slide accompanying the audio track for this tutorial, “Decentralize” is depicted as the process of “Decentraliz[ing] decision making (to the people closest to the problem)”.

If, for the purposes of this discussion we take this definition as presented, then it should be reasonable to consider an internal customer support organization as a highly promising candidate for a social computing effort. Tier 1 support personnel may be capable of handling support calls, full life cycle, if they are empowered with the knowledge base required to not only receive notices of user problems, but also to engage in remediating them, directly. So adding a Yammer news feed for the support team and encouraging SharePoint administrators to participate, as well, makes sense. Tier 1 personnel can present problems as they are received, while SharePoint administrators can point them towards a successful solution for the user opening the trouble ticket.

Healthcare facilities may also benefit from the kind of decentralization process for decision making characteristic of social computing. Perhaps it makes more sense for nurses to take on more of patient remediation than would otherwise be the case in a hierarchical structure, which, in the past, would reserve all decision making for doctors. Once again, adding a Yammer feed will make sense as long as doctors are encouraged to participate, thereby ensuring the availability of authoritative information, as needed, to support nurses as they work to provide sick people with the treatment they need.

Conversely, a neighborhood watch effort would, perhaps, not be a good candidate for social computing. Volunteers with none of the experience of law enforcement officers should not be encouraged to take on decision making where a mistake may lead, inadvertently, to a tragedy. This kind of process is better supported with a hierarchical structure with law enforcement firmly behind the wheel.

Ira Michael Blonder

©Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder 2014 All Rights Reserved