Are you considering social networking in your enterprise? Surprise! We are too. We started off the process with certain perceptions about what the application should do and shouldn't do. If you think that your employees (especially the younger ones) want social networking within the enterprise just to have "fun" - think again. If you think it is purely for improving collaboration and productivity - ponder more. How do we know? We did a focus group with employees who are recent college graduates. Here is what we learned.
Pulling in an existing external social networking application into the Intel environment is viewed very negatively. Even a "like" experience wasn’t well received. Gen Y'ers use social networking to connect with friends and to share outside-of-work experiences. They don’t want their personal life to become exposed in a work environment.
Fun in the work environment is more directly tied to “physical” spaces/experiences and not a social networking application. There was even an allergic reaction to the term “social” as applied to the networking application. Social = their life outside Intel. They said within a business environment it needs to be a professional network.
They expect to put a name to a face before they reach out to that person.
They want tools that will help them to find relevant & trusted information/people faster. An analogy they used to describe the tool is your school yearbook entry + phone book+ management hierarchy.
The application needs to be integrated with current destinations & other communication tools. Presence and a unified profile are very important to them. They want the ability to view another employee's profile in our internal Phonebook or email and within that application begin an instant message session with them. They explicitly stated that if we create another disparate application, they will not use it.
They want the power to personalize. They don’t want to be fed the information that an administrator thinks they want- they want to decide what it is they will receive. They prefer the "iGoogle" like personalization.
The application must be easy to use & not require a lot of time. Recently, a lot of them are getting turned off by some social networking applications because they are too busy- too much noise.
Gen X and Baby Boomers – do you agree with the younger generation? Other IT shops, what are you seeing in your environments? I would like to hear from you. In my next post, I will share with you what some others in our work force said when I posted these results in our blog.