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Social IT in the Enterprise: Getting Past the Hype

Every IT enterprise is a social organism that demands social solutions. Small wonder then that the idea of social IT has gotten so much hype. Arvind Parthiban writing for The ITSM Review takes a look at the solid benefits of social IT: from reducing costs to improving customer satisfaction, social IT provides ways to expedite problem solving, hone decision making, and enhance overall communication.

The Flow of Knowledge

Social media, in principle, is about understanding knowledge flows. The trick to understanding how it fits into your organization, as Parthiban suggests, is to take a top-down, goal-oriented approach. Unsurprisingly, social IT cannot exist in isolation and must be integrated into a strategic ITSM roadmap, which is why Parthiban presents a “toolbox” of available social mechanisms, such as discussion boards, Wikis, status updates, and hashtags.

Harnessing Social Mechanisms

Social IT is already happening at your organization. Ironically, people who work together share and communicate about IT all the time; only these knowledge flows occur offline, without the advantages offered by digital technologies. Furthermore, social IT isn’t limited to IT departments alone. When social IT is applied to the user community, it empowers them through peer support. It can also be used to drive value for business units by removing boundaries to knowledge flows with IT. So the question then becomes: How does one digitize social behavior in the workplace?

Case Study: Change Management

Social IT tactics can be taken from strategic business drivers. For example, one challenge might be to reduce the negative impacts of change in the workplace. Because there is a lack of transparency between the IT and business units, risks and impacts are not being properly assessed. As Parthiban asserts, the social solution would be to:

Let end users follow the services and devices they use so that they are aware of planned changes and disruptions. [Let them] use microblog status updates to announce changes and linked blog posts or wiki articles to describe detail.

More than an over-hyped trend, social IT is the digital solution for reducing risk, minimizing costs, and honing efficiency for the IT enterprise, end users, and businesses alike.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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