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Corporate Facebooks

by on February 10, 2010

An interesting recent trend is the adoption of social networking type sites for internal use at corporations.

Just as people benefit socially from maintaining their connections, corporations benefit economically from employees utilizing the expertise of other employees within the company.  Corporate networking sites foster connections among employees and bridge the communication divides between people working in different departments, at different levels of the management chain or in disparate locations.  A typical corporate networking site contains a page for each employee to personalize, the ability to search for an expert in a particular subject, and a place for employees to share documents and comments.

Corporate networking sites have been credited with saving money, developing innovations, and flattening lines of communication.  They may also help companies prepare for launching social networking initiatives for customers.  They do require a time investment as it often takes several years to develop a vibrant, useful site.  It’s also difficult to determine metrics for success.  Statistics on usage are important, but most of the value added by the site tends to live within anecdotes.  A few companies have quantified the networking site’s value by recognizing saved costs.  TransUnion, a company specializing in credit reports, found that employees were finding solutions from their colleagues on the networking site and significantly decreasing their purchases of new hardware and software.  The resulting savings were $2.5 million dollars over 5 months.

Even in less dramatic cases, corporate networking sites can usually justify their ROI in terms of dollars, but beyond that, they have the potential to reintroduce a level of engagement and connectivity that has slipped out of most employees’ experiences at large corporations.  I believe the tipping point for widespread adoption of internal corporate networking sites is rapidly approaching.

How might your work experience be different with a corporate networking site in place?

Sanjeevi Sturges

From → Coursework

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