Enterprise collaborative technologies and social media guide for CIOs

In this CIO Briefing on enterprise collaborative technologies and social networking, learn how these tools can foster teamwork and drive business success.

Enterprise collaborative technologies are becoming increasingly important as employees embrace new mobile devices, social networking initiatives and out-of-the-office working arrangements. To maximize success and productivity, organizations are beginning to integrate collaboration and social engagement tools into their business-as-usual operations.

In this enterprise CIO guide to collaborative technologies and social media, learn how IT leaders can strategize around these burgeoning software platforms and networking tools to foster teamwork and cooperation across their workforce.

This enterprise collaborative technologies guide is part of SearchCIO's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.

Table of contents:

Unified communications and collaborative technologies: One and the same?

Unified communications (UC) and social collaboration might seem like natural twins, but as Tony Byrne, president and founder of The Real Story Group, explains, the technologies not only are quite different, but also are often seen as competitors.

SearchCIO: In the drive to build the 'connected enterprise,' unified communications and social collaboration platforms would seem to go hand in hand. How do these two communication platforms intersect?

Tony Byrne: They don't intersect all that much. Maybe they should, maybe they shouldn't. UC, which is primarily VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol] and video, has been around a lot longer. The vendors tend to be a little more mature. UC is a proven set of technologies that are pretty essential and fairly ubiquitous. There can be a lot of dependencies on hardware and networking equipment. So, it is often perceived, rightly or wrongly, as more of an infrastructure investment rather than a business application. There has always been an obvious return on investment for it, as well.

Read the entire SearchCIO interview on strategies around UC and social collaboration.

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Collaboration and social media: A video primer

Need to hear it from the pros? Watch our latest video interviews about enterprise collaborative and social technologies.

A CIO experiments with enterprise social networks

"Of late, I have been talking to several people about enterprise social networks -- designing and deploying an internal version of Facebook or LinkedIn as a way to support and encourage internal communication and collaboration," our CIO contributor Niel Nickolaisen said. "The feedback I have gotten is decidedly mixed. Some of my IT peers tell me this latest flavor of enterprise collaboration is essential and the most important thing they've done; others tell me it is a complete waste of time and causes more problems than it solves. In other words, I am getting no help in deciding if this is something I must have or if it is something I should avoid at all costs.

"With so little help coming from my usually reliable network, I decided to think through it myself and do some experiments."

Visit this tip to learn Niel Nickolaisen's views on enterprise social networks.

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Must-know terms for collaborative technologies

Before implementing social collaboration software, brush up on some important engagement terms.

Speed up innovation with university-wide collaboration

University of Michigan CIO Laura Patterson is on a mission to bring the school's faculty and students to the cutting edge of innovation. In 2010, the university embarked on NextGen Michigan, a five-year plan to adopt next-generation technology to advance research, teaching and learning.

A major step toward that goal was adopting Box, a cloud-based file-sharing, storage and collaboration platform, to facilitate collaboration between students and faculty members. Patterson, a strong proponent of cloud computing, became an early adopter of Box Inc.'s offerings that are tailored to institutions of higher education.

Here, Patterson discusses how this cloud offering meets NextGen Michigan's three main objectives (collaboration, mobility and globalization), why she chose this particular cloud solution, how Box fits into her overall cloud strategy, and why she thinks early cloud adoption is a competitive advantage.

SearchCIO: Why was having a cloud service such as Box important for NextGen Michigan?

Laura Patterson: Box met the three key objectives we have within NextGen Michigan. Collaboration is very strategic to the future of the university. We do team-based interdisciplinary research within the university, and our researchers collaborate with researchers around the globe.

Read more about NextGen Michigan in the full interview with Laura Patterson.

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Collaborative technologies and social engagement quiz for CIOs

Collaborative technology and social engagement tools allow individuals to work together on specific tasks and projects, maximizing business success and efficiency. Collaborative communication products enable both asynchronous and simultaneous collaborative communication, allowing employees to contribute on their own time or communicate progress, in real time, from any location.

Is your organization taking full advantage of the products and services available to foster and engage a work community? Do you understand all the benefits of social technology tools? Take our quiz to learn how corporate social networking and collaboration tools can foster business success.

Take the collab quiz