Social Squared is a forum web part for Microsoft SharePoint that can really help your organization communicate and discuss issues in a more effective manner. Here are 5 huge benefits you could get from deploying a company forum.
1, Allow discussions to take place in an open environment
One of the challenges for any company is getting the right people involved to discuss ideas and make decisions. If you send an email and miss people out who feel they should be involved they may feel upset and disenchanted. If you send the same email to a huge distribution list people will reply just because they feel they should which creates noise and chatter.
So how do you get the right people involved? Using a company forum rather than email is a good solution. This will allow people to read about the topics they are interested in and get involved if they feel they have something valuable to add.
With Social Squared having email integration, it allows the best of both worlds as people can use the forums straight from Outlook or their mobile email client as well as the browser.
2, Encourage the sharing of ideas with a central way of collecting feedback
Great ideas for your company are sitting in peoples inboxes collecting dust. Although ideas do have value, the real return comes from the disciplined execution of ideas. Quite often the person who comes up with an ideas isn’t necessarily the right one to be turning it into reality, so rather than people quietly mentioning ideas to friends in emails – get these discussions out into an open company forum so everybody can contribute and the correct people can take the idea and execute on it if necessary.
3, Help drive usage and adoption of SharePoint
To first time users SharePoint is a very weird platform if you are used to saving documents to a file share. This unfamiliarity is often a barrier to people using the tool.
If you can add areas of functionality onto SharePoint that people are familiar with then it will help drive usage and adoption. Many people are familiar with using discussion groups and forums from general internet usage, so offering them something similar within their corporate environment that they know how to use will get them visiting the SharePoint site and getting familiar with it. Once the SharePoint user interface is a normal part of their work day it will become second nature to start using SharePoint sites and document libraries for collaboration and wider work purposes
4, Share knowledge out to the people who need it, when they need it
Rather than having the same questions re-asked at your company time and time again, use a discussion forum and allow them to be asked once and then discovered by others. By integrating a company forum with enterprise search you can allow your forum information to be discoverable by the people who need it, when they need it.
5, Reduce email and meetings
As you may have noticed one of the problem areas that a discussion forum can help address is the overload of email people are trying to deal with every day. By moving discussions away from email, the number of emails a person gets each day can be dramatically reduced allowing them to be more productive in other areas of their job.
Physical meetings are also a pain point for many people. Rather than hold a physical meeting straight away why not start a discussion thread on a forum and see if the objectives can be met there. If not – at least you’ll have an agenda detailed down that can be used to keep the meeting to the point.
If you’d like to see how our Forum Web Parts can help your company setup a company forum within SharePoint please check out our Community Tools.
What other benefits have you seen from using a discussion forum within your company?