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Can social computing help people improve their efficiency?

In a set of video tutorials just added to SharePoint-Videos, Naomi Moneypenny argues so-called enterprise social computing can contribute to a reduction in the amount of time personnel at most organizations spend searching for information, sending email messages, and other comparatively low value activities.

Naomi Moneypenny is the CTO of Synxi. The title of the video tutorial set is SP 13-317 – Making Enterprise Social Real in your Organization with Yammer and SharePoint.

It may be helpful to place Moneypenny’s position on the topic of workplace efficiency in context. The foundation for her position is familiar ground for any advocate of collaborative computing: silos are good for business productivity, and bad for open access to information. What an organization gains by implementing what Moneypenney calls a “hierarchical” structure is a lot of output, and a lot of duplication of effort. Once information is reposed in silos, it is very difficult to extract and, unfortunately, much easier to simply obtain via a direct duplication of effort. Of course, the cost to duplicate the information may even exceed the added value of greater productivity as the result of the hierarchical structure already implemented.

Any readers familiar with Business Process Reengineering (BPR) will have heard this argument before. Most, if not all BPR projects include an objective to break down silos within an organization, if, for no other reason than to free up the value trapped within them.

What’s different about Moneypenny’s argument is the manner by which she supports her position with an illustration of how Yammer, SharePoint newsfeeds and other social computing processes must be configured in order to be truly useful in the effort.

Another important difference is the emphasis she places on timely assimilation of information for any organization committed to maintaining a competitive edge. In the first video tutorial of the series she quotes Arie de Geus, a former employee at Shell, who pointed to organizations capable of quickly locating information, and assimilating its impact, as leading competitors in their industries.

For SharePoint stakeholders considering how to best implement its collaborative features, it likely won’t hurt to start big with the very large objectives Moneypenny sketches in this first video tutorial of her set.

Ira Michael Blonder

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