Facebook for the Firm: 3 Enterprise Social Networking Platforms

A recent McKinsey survey (see The rise of the networked enterprise: Web 2.0 finds its payday) found that companies that are “highly internal and external socially networked” are more likely to gain market share and realize higher profit margins. That means companies have a clear incentive to explore the various enterprise social media platforms available.

While email can still be a communication option for companies, internal enterprise social networking platforms are better because they bring the power of social networking into the organization via a secure private online forum for sharing information and collaborating with fellow employees. Participants can easily and quickly post business messages and status updates, collaborate and report on team projects via private groups, pose questions to colleagues, recognize employees for a job well done, and much more. In turn, participants can reply or add comments to posts, and over time, all of this shared information becomes an excellent repository of archival company knowledge that can be harvested for future purposes.

There are many enterprise social media platforms from which a company can choose, but here are the three leaders:

  • Yammer (now owned by Microsoft) is a good choice since it is most like Facebook, so many employees will “get it” right away. It offers a free basic plan that allows you to use it without any outlay of money. Pay plans begin at $3/mo/user and top out a $8/mo/user.  It is accessible on mobile devices too.
  • Chatter, which has the look and feel of LinkedIn, is a product of SalesForce. It offers a free basic plan with purchase of 1 client relationship management license for up to 5000 users, or a single pay plan of $15/mo/user that offers additional features, such as firm-wide client relationship management and customization.
  • Jive offers 30 day free trials and similar to the others allows you to easily find, follow, and connect with your co-workers and quickly see what your fellow users are up to via activity updates.

Of course, adoption and use of any enterprise social media platform can be limited by whether a firm has a culture of encouraging the sharing of information amongst its employees. With 67% of adults using social networking sites, however, the task of getting  employees to use an internal enterprise social networking site might not be as difficult as  expected..and there appears to be a significant upside.

About Cheryl Niemeier

Cheryl Niemeier is Director of Knowledge & Research Services at Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. Ms. Niemeier received her Master of Science in Library Science from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1986 and her Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana in 1981. Ms. Niemeier has held multiple professional leadership positions in local, regional and national library associations. She frequently speaks at professional association conferences and continuing legal education seminars. Ms. Niemeier has authored multiple articles and seminar publications.
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