A key value of enterprise social platforms is the ability for serendipitous discovery. You might be looking for a piece of information. You may not know where to look for it. You may not know the creators of that content. Yet your enterprise social platform can help you get to it in a few easy steps. The best part is - apart from the 'content' that you were looking for, you might gain insights into public sentiment on that content, debates and perspectives, and better still - the ability to spot experts on that topic. What better way to break down silos of information, and share knowledge across the enterprise, and with posterity!
Yet, there are times when this unique value is lost. And that is when information is 'locked down' in spaces set up with exclusive permissions for members of a project team, or a closed community. Here are some thoughts to help you avoid this pitfall.
Some seemingly 'closed' use cases aren't. For example - A project team working on the next generation product should be super-private, right? Think again. They may have the opportunity to collaborate with another team working on a similar idea, or might get inputs from a field sales person who has insights into what the market really needs.
Tip 1. Evaluate the need for closed communities. If a community must be private, determine what information about the community can be exposed and made searchable. Enable non-members to "ask to join" and access more secured portions of the community's workspace.
Yes, there are times when the information is sensitive and ought to be available to only those who have a need to know, particularly when the work is in progress. However, when it is time to unclassify this information, community owners should be able to make the information public in an easy manner.
Tip 2: Create awareness about the value of sharing enterprise social content, and make it easy to reclassify information.
Now for some good news. Capabilities in the area of enterprise social analytics have evolved considerably, enabling you to extract summary information without making the core content public. For example - A forum post on the latest breakthrough in semiconductor materials might be locked down, but analytics will help you determine that the author of the post is an expert in material science. So when someone is searching for an expert - they can get to the author, without having access to the private forum.
Tip 3: Invest in social analytics. It is powerful, and will help you see your organization in a totally new light.