In recent years, social media platforms have revolutionized the way we communicate with our friends and family. At any given moment, we can offer them a glimpse into our lives by sharing our thoughts, pictures, videos, and more at the click of a button. This technology not only allows us to communicate and share, but also collaborate regardless of distance.

While this technology has greatly affected our private lives, and it has been used widely to market and sell goods, little has been done to apply it to our actual business collaboration processes until now. Recently, the big names in enterprise software such as SAP (with SAP Jam), have begun pushing their Social Collaboration Platforms (or social media for businesses).

So what exactly is a Social Collaboration Platform?

Social Collaboration Platforms are cloud-based software tools that encourage the sharing of ideas, allow businesses to allocate tasks and responsibilities, and maintain accountability. These platforms focus on two main aspects: communication and collaboration.

When it comes to communication, think of these platforms as a combination of Facebook, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn. Like Linkedin and Facebook, they allow you to maintain profiles, post updates, and share a wide range of media formats. Users can build popularity and become thought leaders in your organization based on the relevance (or usefulness) of the content they are posting. These platforms can allow you to communicate directly with other users. Social Collaboration Platforms can be similar to WhatsApp in the sense that communication is structured around groups.

When it comes to collaboration, these platforms can be similar to Dropbox. Like Dropbox, they allow you to share and collaborate on a wide range of document formats. Think of all the time you could save by having all of these applications combined into one! That is exactly what platforms like SAP Jam allow you to do. SAP Jam provides you with a Social Collaboration Platform designed to facilitate communication and collaboration that is fully integrated to your business processes.

The possibilities and use cases for these platforms are endless. While they may seem like ways to improve certain “soft” aspects of your businesses, these platforms can offer concrete benefits to your bottom line.

According to Digitalist Magazine, here are 5 ways a Social Collaboration Platform can benefit your business:

1. Boost win rates and accelerate the sales cycle.

The average sales deal requires a team effort, with individuals and knowledge that live outside the sales department. A Web-based network, accessible through any device, helps win new business and generate more revenue. By pulling expertise, information, and customer data together in one place, sales reps are able to collaborate within and outside of their organization to respond more quickly and accurately to incoming customer questions and needs.

2. Improve the quality of onboarding and speed new hires’ time to productivity.

Social solutions bring together people from across the organization as they collaborate on projects or teams. When a new hire joins the company, this community enables quick ramp-up as the new hire is able to quickly locate and connect to the experts and information they need to complete their job responsibilities. Add to this the fact that this solution houses the collective genius and lessons learned of the organization, and the result is a dynamic, continuous learning culture.

3. Deliver unparalleled customer experience – every time.

Whenever you can provide anyone on the front lines with the full customer story, everyone wins. Knowledge networks ensure that no matter who is interacting with the customer, they have the complete picture. Integrating backend data with real-time collaboration ensures that they are prepared with the latest data at their fingertips to understand the status of a current or prospective customer. For the customer, this means a seamless experience that is always informed, relevant, and meets their needs.

4. Support business processes that are truly efficient, transparent, and accessible 24×7.

Whether you are involved in marketing, IT, finance, or supply chain operations, it is not uncommon for employees to get lost in email chains and outdated spreadsheets and reports. If the ability to collaborate resides in a central location, existing business processes can be improved and supported. More important, taking this network into the mobile world helps ensure that employees have the information they need any time and anywhere.

5. Create a future of work that appeals to young talent.

Knowledge networks can be a cultural tool that not only serves the business, but also answers the needs of our youngest talent. For Millennials, operating in a digitally connected world is a normal part of life – and they could not imagine anything different in their workplace. In the Forrester report, one hiring manager stated, “Millennials would not like to work at [a] company that doesn’t have a collaboration tool. It’s unimaginable — we can’t hire without it.” Could you? Most likely not.

Source: Five Reasons Why Social Collaboration Should Be Part Of Your Digital Transformation by Daisy Hernandez

Discover SAP Jam

If these business benefits sound appealing to you, maybe it’s time you had a look at SAP Jam. This Social Collaboration Platform brings together everything (and everyone) you need to solve problems quickly and drive business results.

While the features are too many to name here in this blog, in a nutshell SAP Jam allows you to do the following:

  • Work Pattern and Social Business Processes – Connect people, content, applications, and real-time data from back-end enterprise systems
  • Structured Collaboration – Brainstorm, problem-solve, and make decisions with tools for pro/con analysis, forums, ranking, and more
  • External Collaboration – Create groups to collaborate with specific customers, partners, vendors, or suppliers
  • Enterprise Social Networking – Connect and communicate using groups, feeds, discussions, and document sharing
  • Security and Administration – Take advantage of enterprise-grade security and pre-built, extensible integration with SAP and third-party software

What makes SAP Jam different?

SAP has taken a unique approach to social collaboration based on three core tenets:

  • Collaboration needs to be across the business network on a social platform to ensure a simple and seamless experience.

Think of your interactions with your co-workers. How many platforms did you use today to communicate and collaborate with them? Chances are you sent them some e-mails, asked a few quick questions through WhatsApp, and collaborated on a document using DropBox. SAP Jam combines all of these different applications into a single platform, improving productivity.

  • Collaboration needs to be where you work with customers, partners, or employees – in your productivity and business applications, in your mobile apps, or in your social network.

Think of all the time you take to switch back and forth between the applications where you actually do the work, and the applications where you communicate your progress. This not only hampers your productivity, but a lot of valuable feedback and effort gets lost in the process. For example, let’s say you drafted a proposal with Word, then sent it to your colleague via e-mail, who then gave valuable feedback via WhatsApp. Did you remember to incorporate the feedback into the proposal? If you’re like me, chances are you did remember, but you were only reminded when scrolling through your WhatsApp a couple of days later. Processes like these result in a loss of productivity and effectiveness. SAP Jam combines all of these processes into a single, streamlined platform, ensuring accountability.

  • Collaboration needs to drive results to ensure top performance.

While your Finance Department may have a WhatsApp group to facilitate communication, what does this group actually do to drive results for their performance? Chances are not much. SAP Jam allows you to create groups oriented specifically towards business processes and deliverables, allowing you to track in real-time who is contributing content and completing specific tasks.

The Economic Return of SAP Jam

The Total Economic Impact (TEI) of SAP Jam Collaboration, a July 2016 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SAP examines the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying SAP Jam. The findings reveal an overall return on investment of 527% for a representative organization.

Among many other benefits, the study found that businesses can expect:

  • Increased speed of information and a 14% increase in productivity
  • 13% reduction in onboarding time for new hires
  • 10% faster time to resolution for customer issues