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Tips For Middle East Firms To Collaborate Better Socially

Tips For Middle East Firms To Collaborate Better Socially

It’s essential to create a smarter workforce, writes Mohammad Emad El-Din, IBM Collaboration Solution Business Unit executive, IBM MEA.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest — all of these media phenomena are powered by our urge to share and create together. Which is exactly why the disconnect between our work and social lives is so striking. Outside of work, we collaborate up a storm. Social media tops the list of what we do as individuals online. Some 94 per cent of people use social tools to learn, 78 per cent to share knowledge, and 49 per cent to engage with experts.

Yet within the walls of our offices, creative collaboration isn’t yet mainstream. Email still outpaces social interaction by a ratio of 10 to 1, with an estimated 108 billion work emails sent each day – only 14 per cent of which are considered to be critical in nature.

That is changing however with cloud, analytics and mobile leading the charge. A growing desire exists for elegant tools that can be used at work that mirror the slick experiences we have in our personal lives. Together, these technologies create a potent platform for collaboration, reshaping not just the tools we rely on but our entire work experience, from email to instant messaging to engaging on social networks.

We’re already seeing how weaving cloud, social, mobile and analytics into internal operations creates new competitive advantages. Companies are using these technologies to bring people back to the center of business. For instance, some businesses are applying analytics to internal social networks to pinpoint hidden pockets of expertise and high-performing units. That way, employees know exactly where to turn for help on projects or with clients, helping to increase productivity by up to 25 per cent.

The goal is deceptively simple. Create a smarter workforce through collaboration. Use the rapid advancements in cloud, analytics and social technologies to connect in new ways. Build competitive agility into the organisation so employees, partners, and customers can engage, collaborate, and innovate.

Crucial innovations. All aimed squarely at transforming business from the inside out. So how can businesses in the Middle East go about accomplishing these goals?

1. Connect “me” to “we” in order to drive value: The cloud, analytics and social technologies are helping us uncover new ideas and expertise inside and outside our organisations. But so much information is being created that it’s hard to separate actionable insights from business chatter. Analytics capabilities let us sift out the key information coming from different sources to get it into the right hands internally. These capabilities help us re-invent the disciple of human capital management by using data-driven insights to identify, attract, motivate, and retain talented employees.

2. Less clutter, more clarity: Focus your energy on generating innovation where and when it happens – inside and outside the organisation, from the top to the bottom. Prioritise and harness information not based on its origin, but on its potential impact on the business. Don’t just roll out collaboration communities. Think about how to integrate collaborative networking, knowledge management, social learning tools, and expertise locators into your business processes in order to harness the collective intelligence of a workforce.

3. Focus on people-centric engagements while limiting risk: The trick to driving open collaboration is to do it in a way that allows employees to focus on the right content, conversations and actions at the right time without opening up new privacy risks. The key is preparation. You have to plan for how you will intelligently control boundaries and be proactive in creating privacy, security, and compliance policies. Build from the ground up a customisable and flexible platform that includes the network of people you rely on to generate ideas, but that also limits and monitors risks.

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