Social media, when used effectively, can have far reaching benefits for organizations. Those benefits can be even further maximized when an organization links and effectively synchronizes the use of social media efforts across the entire business.
Increasingly, organizations are recognizing the benefits of enterprise-wide social media use, and are beginning to shift from legacy systems to integrated systems, also known as Enterprise Resources Planning ERP systems. Integrated systems, or ERP systems, share data across an organization, allowing operational processes to be based on information from a range of functions. For example, financial projections can be made based on sales and manufacturing data collected from a single system. This allows organizations to make decisions from better data, ultimately creating a more efficient operation.
The use of integrated social media across an organization has extensive benefits. It allows for better communication, collaboration and management of organizational activities. The speed of communication and visibility of activity can make an organization more responsive to customers. Collaboration across various divisions can improve performance and generate substantial gains. Day-to-day operational activity can be more effective when people across the organization can more easily connect and communicate with each other.
One company that utilizes integrated social media across the organization is Slack. Slack is a social media platform specifically designed for enterprise-wide social media integration. Created by Stewart Butterfield in 2014, the platform is essentially a hybrid of chat rooms, email and direct messages in which users can easily toggle between the three. The company itself uses the platform and services for their own benefit as well. “Really, we do use Slack all day, every day,” said Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s co-founder and CEO. “I rarely in a working day go more than 10 minutes without looking at Slack.”
The system can be used for internal applications, and transparency purposes. New recruits have access to Slack two weeks prior to their first day, so that they can become familiar with the system and existing discussions, and meet colleagues starting around the same time. This fosters a transparent environment, right from the start.
Discussions in Slack can be as inclusive as a channel open to everyone in the company, or as discreet as a direct-message session between two people. With offices located across the globe, Slack’s platform enables communication and transparency to every employee. In its own use of the service, “we encourage conversations to happen in the most public venue they can,” says Butterfield. “There’s a lot of value sometimes to ask a question and get the answer in the biggest public forum that it could happen in.” That lets other people know that a problem was solved, and allows anyone who has the same issue later to find the solution by searching.
Despite ongoing competition from Facebook Workplace, Google Hangouts, and Atlassian, the company continues to thrive, thanks to its transparency and it’s cross-communication efforts. In fact, 43 percent of Fortune 100 companies continue to use Slack, and unlike many of its competitors, Slack is making money from its more than 2 million paid users.
Lessons for Others
The use of integrated social media across an organization can have extensive benefits. It allows for better communication, collaboration and management of organizational activities. Slack not only provides organizations with an easier way of implementing integrated social media in their company, but also capitalizes on the services they themselves provide. In doing so, the company has surpassed it’s competitors and has created a platform that will increasingly be utilized by companies as they shift away from legacy systems and towards integrated or ERP systems.
Name of Organization Contact: Stewart Butterfield, Co-Founder and CEO
Authored by: Allie
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Carr, P. (2018). Week 9: Whole Enterprise Social Media. Course Content Material. Retrieved from https://learn.uwaterloo.ca/content/enforced/373949-CE-SMBP100_002_cel_1185/lecture-content/weeks/week9/week9.html?ou=373949
Kaszor, D. (2016). What is Slack? How One Social Network has Quickly Taken Over Offices Around the World. National Post. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/life/what-is-slack-how-one-social-network-has-quickly-taken-over-offices-around-the-world
McCracken, H. (2015). How Slack Uses Slack. Fast Company. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3040638/how-slack-uses-slack
Slack (2015). What is Slack? Youtube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RJZMSsH7-g