Should you open the door to your internal social network to clients ?

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I was chatting with a friend last night on how their company is making its own internal social network available to clients to browse through and it raised an interesting question: should you open your internal network to clients ? And the answer was: why not ?

You’ve invested in a corporate Facebook and directed your employee network to log in, fill in and get in-volved. So now what ? Well what better way to promote the intellectual capital you have than exposing that to the client to get access to directly ? Careful curation and moderation from the start is required in order to achieve this so this kind of move should be part of the overall long term strategy you have for implementing an internal social tool of this kind, it’s not the sort of direction you want to take as an afterthought when there’s been weeks/ months/ years of content added that just isn’t up to scratch for client exposure.

Reward and Recognition

Your staff are the embassadors of your enterprise but do you really know who are the stars ? Like I eluded to in a previous post, HR should be mining internal networks to find who just are the real shining examples of the organisation but now there’s a real opportunity to understand who your clients actually favour to engage with on a longer term basis. With this in mind, you should be able to recognise and reward those who engage with clients and produce the results and also use them as internal examples of how an enterprise network can function for the good of the business.

Pitfalls

Nothing is without consequence and by being open with your capital your are potentially exposing yourself to all sorts of issues; staff poaching, bad service, malicious practice….networking is two-fold which is why it is paramount the strategy is completely understood and nailed across the enterprise before you embark down this path.

In an increasingly open, engaging and social business world any company that doesn’t want to open its doors in the right way may well find itself pulling down the shutters for good.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Theo Priestley
Theo Priestley is Vice President and Chief Evangelist at Software AG, responsible for enabling the marketing and voice of the industry's leading Business Process, Big Data/ In-Memory/ Complex Event Processing, Integration and Transaction suite of platforms. Theo writes for several technology and business related sites including his own successful blog IT Redux. When he isn't evangelizing he's playing videogames, collecting comics and takes the odd photo now and then. Theo was previously an independent industry analyst and successful enterprise transformation consultant.

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