In the world of business, knowledge is the most powerful asset that your employees, customers and partners can leverage to sustain a collaborative social culture. The ability to connect the right people with the right knowledge is critical to business success. Becoming a social enterprise makes this possible, but what is needed to sustain the social enterprise vision?

The Social Enterprise enables publication, storage and access to your knowledge assets, allowing your employees, partners and customers to accomplish their daily tasks easily. Knowledge resources may include manuals, letters, summaries of responses to clients, news, customer information, competitor intelligence and knowledge derived from working together through predictable processes.

A wide range of technologies are currently used to implement knowledge management systems: blogs, micro blogs, email; databases and data warehouses; group support systems; browsers and search engines; intranets and internets; expert and knowledge-based systems.

The key ingredients to a social enterprise are well beyond social technology tools. Enterprises that are becoming socially enabled are quickly learning that engaged people, simple processes and effective technology play an increasingly important role.  

What does a social enterprise looks like? An effective social enterprise benefits the enterprise by evolving itself organically to become a relevant, connected and involved two-way interaction between publishers and consumers. There are 5 key ingredients that help you develop and sustain a social enterprise vision:

1. Empowering People

It all starts with the people in the organization. The organization must develop a social enterprise vision and establish a decision making governance with the right stakeholders. These stakeholders must be empowered within the organization to mobilize their people around to embrace the vision and provide the right resources to accomplish the goals.

2. Simple Processes

Social enterprise demands the organization to get things done quickly. This results in simple processes, connected people and a powerful knowledge repository. Invest in program officers for the social enterprise who are responsible for managing the process inventory, establishing cleansing on a yearly basis, developing the right topic's ownership to get the work done easily and establishing the right metrics to accomplish the organization's goals.

3. Culture of Sharing & Simplification

Social Enterprise demands the consolidation of siloed programs/systems. Learning to share is something we might have thought we mastered in kindergarten, but for enterprises taking on social enablement, there are some formed habits that must be replaced with new frames of mind, primarily the notion of “making others successful.” Developing a mindset for sharing and consolidating the internal digital experience is critical to the journey of social enterprise enablement.

4. Effective Technology

You need multiple sets of capabilities that need to be stitched together to create the social enterprise experience. You need to focus on end user processes needed to get the work done and then figure out the right technology stack that supports daily work.

5. Impact & Measurement

Most enterprises are driven by scorecards to know where a project starts and where it finishes. The key challenge with a collaborative project such as a social platform is how to share in the management cost and shared commitments. The metrics have to be on the CEO’s top line goals, otherwise the vision of social enterprise will never be achieved.