Suw Charman-Anderson posted a thoughtful piece with the title Businesses will live to regret their social media ignorance today. Her main point is that organizations that do not deploy enterprise social software behind the firewall will lose control of information as it spreads through public social media.
I agree with Suw. If businesses want to retain some control over their information, they should provide secure, enterprise-ready versions of the specific types of collaboration and communication tools that employees want to use. For example, if the risk of information leakage via Twitter is too high, the organization should deploy an enterprise microblogging application on its own servers (or subscribe to a SaaS offering hosted by a trusted vendor.)
While it isn’t her central thesis, the most interesting thing to me about Suw’s post is the two similar statements that she chose to publish in bold face.
“People see email as damage and route around it.
People see IT restrictions as damage and route around them.”
What Suw is describing, in a word, is work-arounds. Employees invent work-arounds to clear hurdles such as poor user interfaces, broken business processes, and ill-informed business policies that exist in nearly every large organization. The use of public social media by ever growing numbers of people within companies can be attributed, in large part, to the effectiveness of those tools at helping employees work around barriers to productivity.
And that is why your business must adopt enterprise social software. Not because it provides a level of control over sensitive information, although it does do that. The real and compelling reason to deploy enterprise social software is because helps employees do their work.