Managing multiple networks
Virality and freemium are built in to SaaS based products in order to expand across the organisation allowing your employees to have access to the productivity tools they need to get work done faster. Nowadays, it wouldn't be uncommon if you found there were numerous collaboration platforms being used by different teams across the multiple locations, or even the same teams for that matter.
I was recently asked, "how do I manage multiple ESNs in the organisation, what should I do?".
After reviewing what tools are being used this particular company had over 10 different collaboration platforms that were being used by different teams all around the world.
The purpose of modern collaboration platforms are designed to break down silos share knowledge and content to create a seamless social experience for users. Whilst we should be empowering employees to use the tools that are making them more productive, and it's great that such tools are being adopted, managing multiple networks hurts business productivity.
There is a catalogue of negatives for having multiple networks: silos, confusion of which tool when, what is the official comms channel, risk of false information not being corrected, more silos, lack of analytics to determine adoption and engagement, and a complete broken user experience... Not quite the seamless social experience for a knowledge intensive responsive organisation that we were hoping for.
The value of Enterprise Social is directly proportionate to the engagement on the network, therefore having a fragmented collaboration structure will dramatically reduce business value. As Project Managers looking to demonstrate the value of their investments in ESNs they should be concerned with understanding the return on engagement (ROE) as opposed to the ROI.
Coming back to the original question, a large multinational organisation where there is a dedicated community manager (from Internal Comms) their focus and attention should be on the adoption and engagement strategies driving the business value use cases and increasing the stages of internal enterprise social maturity. For a smaller organisation with limited resources in terms of time and staffing the headache is only greater and therefore only emphasises the need for consolidation.
Not focusing, will mean that you risk becoming a jack of all trades and master of none.