How Good Are Your Enterprise Social-Collaboration Applications?

  • 4-Jul-2016

For consistently high-quality employee experiences, a holistic digital workplace must deliver a coherent portfolio of collaboration applications.

If application effectiveness and maturity varies, the employee experience will tend to fall to the level of the "weakest link in the chain."  Put another way: the modern digital workplace is only as good as its weakest social-collaboration service.

Some Data

To begin to compare where your enterprise stands, let's look at some research data. RSG's 2016 Survey (you can get your own copy here) shows that organizations report high maturity levels — about 50-60% — only for traditional collaboration applications:

  • Team communication
  • Project collaboration
  • Communities of Practice
  • Knowledgebases
  • Workplace Forms

However, there are fewer mature implementations (only about 30 - 40%) for applications such as 

  • External Collaboration
  • Innovation / Idea Management
  • Enterprise Conversations
  • Socializing Business Processes
  • Social Q&A

Maturity Along the "Arc of Participation"

At RSG, we classify key collaboration applications based on whether they are

  1. More collaboration-oriented or networking-oriented and
  2. More structured (formal) or unstructured (informal) forms of interaction

When you plot the key applications along these two dimensions, we get the "Arc of Participation." Below is the % of mature implementations for each use case on this arc.

Maturity of Use Cases

Figure 1: Maturity of key enterprise social collaboration applications. Source: RSG 2016 Survey

The diagram clearly shows that networking-oriented use cases towards the bottom-right corner are not as mature as the applications on the top-left side.

What Explains the Differences?

For sure, enterprises have been implementing traditional collaboration applications for much longer (in some cases more than 20 years) compared to the networking-oriented use cases (< 10 years).

But beyond just vintage, there are other factors that enterprises confront here such as integration, scalability, and usability. Some enterprises may even face challenges in defining the business case and securing budgets for informal social-networking use cases that may not be tied to a tangible business objective.

So for example, rather than deploying an enterprise social network haphazardly, try to anticipate and address these challenges, considering enterprise-wide scalability and business utility for starters.

To understand better how your social-collaboration efforts stack up against your peers, try out this complimentary benchmarking service.

Our customers say...

"Microsoft promises a number of social-collaboration services, but it doesn't necessarily deliver on all those promises to the extent customers hope or expect. The Real Story Group, the leading vendor-neutral analyst firm in the country, addresses exactly what people can expect from SharePoint and Office 365."

Hugh McKellar, Editor, KMWorld Magazine

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