Social networking tools are starting to go mainstream in the enterprise, enhancing collaboration between mobile workers and helping organisations to become more responsive to their customers and business partners. Market researcher Forrester, for example, says that about 57% of enterprises are making some investment in enterprise social tools this year.
That’s according to Robyn Milham, head of enterprise sales for southern Africa at Research in Motion (RiM), the company behind the BlackBerry solution. She says that although companies are grappling with the security and IP protection challenges of enterprise social networking, many are now beginning to adopt the technology to become more responsive, productive and efficient.
Milham says that access to social networking services such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook from mobile phones and instant messaging apps, such as BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), are transforming the mobile workforce by keeping it connected to important information and people at all times.
Enterprise instant messaging solutions for BlackBerry smartphones, for example, give mobile employees the ability to leave their desks, without leaving the conversation. These tools are secure, robust and tightly integrated with platforms such as Microsoft Office Communications Server, Microsoft Lync Server 2010, IBM Lotus Sametime, or Novell GroupWise Messenger.
This means it’s easier than ever before for a mobile worker to tap into office information or be in contact with a colleague knowledge even when he or she isn’t at the office. It’s quick and instant for a sales representative on site with a customer to ask the boss for a go-ahead on a customer discount or to ask a product manager for specs for a new product, for example.
BBM is a cheap and easy alternative for mobile instant messaging, particularly in smaller organisations that don’t have a dedicated communications server. It makes it simple for people to send and receive messages, images and files in seconds.
“For marketers, public relations, investor relations and customer support staff, mobile access to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook is quickly becoming indispensable,” says Milham.
They can update their feeds from their smartphones, monitor social network conversations and respond to posts from the public wherever they are. This improves the responsiveness of the organisation, giving it the agility it needs to keep up with today’s demanding, tech-savvy customer, she adds.
“Social networking and the enterprise” was one of the topics that were covered in the thought room sessions at the BlackBerry Innovation Forum that took place in Johannesburg on 06 October 2011. The event offered the perfect opportunity for businesses across all sectors and industries to find out how they can benefit from mobile technology.
Rory O’Neill, the VP of software and services EMEA at RiM, was the keynote speaker at the event. Thomas Jankovich, a FutureWorld Guru and the leader of the innovation and growth service within Deloitte Consulting in South Africa, was the innovation speaker at the Forum.