What is Enterprise Social Intranet Networking?

Date: 14-Mar-2023

As businesses evolve to keep up with the world of social media, enterprise social networking (ESN) helps teams remain competitive and collaborative. ESN brings the power of social networks into the workplace to increase business value through enhanced communication and collaboration.

This article covers how ESN works:

  • Its business value and impact,
  • Typical use cases,
  • Elements and features,
  • Emerging trends,
  • Best practices for success
  • Look to the future.

The Workings of “Enterprise Social”

Employers, workers, business partners, and even customers can participate in “conversations” through enterprise social networking by updating statuses, leaving comments, or simply monitoring activity streams. Users can post and follow up on progress updates, chats, and group contributions on projects using these platforms, such as internal communications software.

Vertical and horizontal communication is also possible on enterprise social networks.

Business partners can start discussions and encourage others to share their thoughts and perspectives, adding value to the subject. They can also create a horizontal conversation in which users contribute to and expand on the topic, allowing others to join in.

Enterprise social networks provide spaces for employees and partners to build a knowledge base through wikis and blog posts. They may invite specific individuals or groups to contribute when necessary. Users can stay informed via the activity stream and follow relevant conversations.

As with public social networks, users usually have the option of creating task lists and to-do’s, updating calendars, connecting with friends, “liking” or sharing content, and receiving notifications of important events.

Impact and value on the enterprise.

Sharing has always been embraced and encouraged by social media tools.

Enterprises can benefit from improved efficiency and job satisfaction by sharing knowledge between departments and teams, rather than relying on emails. Knowledge management tools allow anyone within the organization to become a content creator and distributor, helping to make knowledge sharing part of the company culture. This allows organizations to capture valuable expertise from experienced employees and share it with those who are less so.

Developing innovative products is essential for businesses to remain successful, but this can be costly and difficult. To inform product design, customer feedback is key; social networks can be used to monitor brand conversations both internally and externally, providing more cost-effective data compared to focus groups.

Tools for social networking in businesses have the most value when it comes to communication.

Nowadays, businesses communicate with a light touch, as is typical of social media. A more in-depth and organic discourse that has a lasting impact is made possible by this direct communication. Additionally, communication within an organization is improved since it provides a far better method of quickly spreading knowledge, best practices, expertise, and other important company information. To further strengthen communication in the workplace, it is even feasible to post queries for further information on specific topics or to present an unreported concept.

Ideas of how business social networks are used.

It would be accurate to argue that corporations are only now starting to realize the potential of enterprise social networking tools. In many businesses, the potential to enhance communication, cooperation, and knowledge exchange is largely unrealized.

Just a few of the typical use cases for business social networking software are shown below.

Team Collaboration on Project

Enterprise team collaboration software can assist you in completing tasks such as organizing a product launch, planning a prospect presentation, or finishing a report that must be delivered to management in a short period of time. With ESN, it is simple to coordinate with coworkers and focus conversations on particular subjects.

This is particularly true when you are working on a brief assignment and require the expertise of peers. Simply “invite” people into a “space” to generate ideas.

Internal communications.

ESN is excellent for creating connections among big groups of people because it promotes and thrives on casual interactions. This can be the case when it comes to executing and communicating change, integrating your staff following a merger or acquisition, or when it comes to clarifying corporate rules. When you need to acclimatize new members of the team to the group, it also provides a strategic opportunity.

Extranets and social customer support.

External collaboration is necessary to launch products, and services, and conduct research. An extranet software with enterprise social networking capabilities provides a controlled environment to monitor progress, prevent data leakage, and provide direction. Working with PR firms and contractors are common use case.

ESN software offers a collaborative space that is both secure and flexible. Teams can share ideas, and documents, and communicate in real-time. The system can be scaled based on needs and archived for future projects.

Customer support can also be provided through ESN. Customer care representatives can leverage knowledge from the internal network while offering public-facing support from the same system; eliminating the need for steep learning curves. Some systems integrate ticketing and advanced customer care systems for improved efficiency and speed.


Organizations can create greater value from within by enhancing efficiency and accelerating time-to-market through the use of this tribal knowledge by developing branded spaces where people connected by shared interests and responsibilities can debate and exchange knowledge.

Communities foster a sense of belonging by providing places for workers to congregate and form relationships. These areas for relationship-building eventually lead to lower employee disengagement and attrition while raising job morale, which results in employees who are happier and more productive.

Idea generation, crowdsourcing, and innovation

Large groups of people who did not previously share a shared set of interests or responsibilities can be brought together by social collaboration spaces. These individuals’ combined intelligence can be applied to the development of better goods and services, the enhancement of current operations, and occasionally the introduction of completely new goods and services. Innovation and group brainstorming are frequently built on the foundation of ESN spaces.

Enterprise social networking’s components and features.

Any ESN service that wants to be useful must be packaged for use by communities, networks, and support teams. The program must provide certain online collaboration features and capabilities tailored to the needs of particular users.

Listings and profiles of people.

ESN software must have a user directory and user profiles, just like a public social network. You should be able to access people’s names, rankings, employment details, community details, personal details, and commercial details. In addition to their activity stream, connections, places they control or engage in, and blogs or wikis they have created, users’ profiles should incorporate this information.

More value can be gained the more you can delve into a user’s profile. Such knowledge can provide you a peek into their areas of expertise, passions, and positions within a business.

Activity streams and alerts.

You may receive an overview of your activities using activity streams without having to go into the specifics. It will display stuff you’ve written, a history of your comments, and activities from people you follow.

Contrarily, notifications are alerts that the system determines may be of interest to you. The community manager may update your blogs, comment on your writing, assign you tasks, and approve your request to join collaboration areas when it is required.

Workplaces and Groups.

Specific conversations are occurring in these exclusive areas or parts. They may be open to everyone or they may need approval from the membership. Conversations and content creation are managed through the usage of groups and workspaces. Ideas are openly exchanged among team members, and teams can work together on projects and content development.

Creation of content and interaction.

ESNs contain corporate communication tools, such as wikis and blog sections, where users may write and publish information and allow others to view it and leave comments on it, in order to promote content creation and conversations. The majority of the time, blogs and articles are knowledge-rich, and when they are well-organized, they may be utilized to draw on employee expertise and interests without drawing attention to specific authors.

Search and Filter

To maximize the value of created content in workspaces, it is essential to have search capabilities or a wiki index. As ESN usage grows in an organization, more users will contribute content and it can become challenging to find information.

By tagging and categorizing content, it becomes easier to filter and locate content across the ESN. Some ESNs let you search content by author, date, or group.

Discussions and Comments.

Posting blogs and wikis can generate conversations, which add value to the original posts. Commenting on authored posts allows readers to continue the conversation, and readers are notified of new comments on their activity streams. This encourages them to contribute their own thoughts on the topic.

Integration ability.

An ESN must integrate with existing CRM, ERP, and other systems in order to be truly useful. In this regard, APIs are crucial because they allow the ESN to go beyond simply providing a closed social system of communication.

The level of involvement among end users is raised by integrating social software with other outside work applications, thereby enhancing and expanding communication and collaboration within organizations.

Day-to-day apps that are useful.

ESN solutions commonly include a combination of applications such as task management, calendar, file/document management, case and ticketing, to-do lists, and chat. This selection of applications is growing, so many organizations are now replacing standalone applications such as emails with bundled offerings that support better project management.

It is also possible to customize ESN features and enable or disable certain applications for select users. This kind of flexibility makes ESNs attractive for small, medium, and large enterprises alike.

Upcoming trends.

The use of public social technologies and knowledge management trends is growing, transforming how we interact and collaborate. Enterprise social tools are no different from these networks in that they each represent distinct behavior.

Corporate cultures are evolving.

No matter how big or small a company is, social technologies are reshaping corporate culture. As a result of being able to connect with their clients, CEOs are already adopting social media, which improves their agility and momentum. Things are done in a very different way by utilizing tools like crowdsourcing and different forms of information sharing.

Social media as a new intranet technology

Email can confine information, while social media can help spread it and promote collaboration and faster product innovation. As a result, many organizations are investing more in social software to replace email. This is being done to enable employee collaboration, generate new ideas, and improve the efficiency of locating people and resources.

The enterprise adopts social technology standards.

Social business activities are no longer acting independently. They are now connected through an activity stream, allowing users to stay up-to-date with the context of their work. APIs and gadgets developed for social media can now be used on enterprise social tools as well as consumer web platforms.

Mobile Enterprise Social Tools

The BYOD trend is gaining traction in companies, and mobility in enterprise social tools is becoming increasingly popular. Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are allowing companies to reduce infrastructure costs and make employees happier by letting them use their own devices. Employees are now expecting around-the-clock access to information, which can be provided by mobile apps with enterprise social networking capabilities. This offers flexible and immediate access.

Social media is a business driver.

The usage of social media by employees inside and outside of firewalls is encouraged by several notable organizations. When implementing web 2.0 technology, many businesses see more revenues, improved information access, and cheaper operating expenses. Massive volumes of data are being generated as employees interact with clients and business partners, which they then use to add value.

Success factors.

Social enterprises are revolutionizing the way businesses operate. By understanding what is working in this unique environment, and implementing it into your own organization, you can become more competitive and move to the next level.

  • Establish social guidelines, business etiquette, and compliance/governance for the responsible use of these social tools. This will help ensure that everyone understands how to use these tools responsibly and respectfully.
  • Recruiting early adopters who are already socially active will also help in accelerating adoption rates. They will be advocates for your organization and help spread the word about what you’re doing (and why it’s so important!).
  • Socially enabling your existing solutions and investments can also dramatically increase adoption rates – by making them easier to find and using them within company policy or procedures, employees have a greater chance of finding value in using them.
  • Instead of creating social as a silo, bring social to the user and concentrate on open standards to promote enterprise innovation that takes advantage of the quick development on the public web.

One of the most important things you can do to improve your enterprise tools is to design them with mobile in mind. Embrace and plan for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and don’t leave mobile as an afterthought.

Consider also how you can leverage big data and make sense of it using analytics. In addition, build a bridge by letting your employees become a voice for your organization and brand. This will help ensure that decisions are being made in the best interests of your business, not just those who are currently working within it.



So what’s the one way that can boost your employee engagement?

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