Design Decisions for Enterprise Social Media

During the volcano eruption of Iceland in 2010, the Dutch airline KLM used Twitter Hash tags to provide aid to stranded passengers. It’s not the only digital service they offer, passengers with severe complaints who express themselves on Twitter of Facebook can expect polite and helpful solutions for their grieve. For most companies marketing through online platforms is the starting point for participation in online interactions with customers. However the majority has lagged behind in adopting social media platforms for accomplishing business purposes more effectively and efficiently, such as talent management, innovation and operations. Problematic is the unnatural translation of social media such as Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter into those that can pursue organizational objectives. This blog post proposes a practical and systematic framework to consider platform features, questions and unique capabilities. In effect the framework reduces the complexity of the social media landscape into a manageable set of decisions points.

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Fundamental Capabilities

The framework includes two fundamental capabilities that will be valuable for organizational purposes: the ability to establish and manage social networks in novel ways and the ability to find and access digital content. Employees have found to be poor in understanding their network, whereas digital tools can visualize, analyze and navigate their social networks. They will understand what their position is and are able to plot the persons providing the smallest distance to the desired and new connections. Furthermore we have seen the value and importance of knowledge increase in many industries. Social Media leverages this trend by allowing for access to the right information or expertise at the right time, essential for competitive advantage.

Influence on Organisation

These two mentioned capabilities would influence organizations in two ways: enabling more effective interaction among customers and employees and constraining employees in their effort to meet organizational objectives. First of all employee performance may increase through enhanced technology, that is if they actually use the technology in place. Secondly, the system may backfire since employees may feel the urge to answer politically correct fearing repercussions from executives or employees.


Given the prediction that in the not-to-distant future enterprise social media will change the workplace, consider the implications designing and implementing a platform will have for your company. What operations will it support and how will it add value? Does it compete with old ways of working and how will it beat the familiar and comfortable? In some cases the value will not emerge from use, but from analyzing the data and generating useful insights. Nevertheless, careful consideration is advised, for simply putting new technology into place will not suffice.

G. C. Kane (2015). “Enterprise social media: current capabilities and future possibilities”, MIS Quarterly Executive

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