Social Collaboration is the aggregation of processes – typically web-enabled – that are used by businesses and organizations to increase efficiency by facilitating group interaction and information sharing among members of a work team. These processes may involve tools and applications associated with social media, with collaboration, or which may combine attributes of a variety of application types, such as file sharing, relational database, calendaring, workflow automation, instant messaging, and presence information. Social collaboration is sometimes referred to as enterprise social networking, and the product category sometimes called enterprise social networks (ESNs).
How Can Social Collaboration Help an Organization?
Organizations apply Social Collaboration technologies in order to leverage and empower their Knowledge Workers, those employees whose main capital is knowledge. Some examples of knowledge workers include programmers, designers, architects, engineers, accountants, attorneys, pharmacists, and physicians. Estimates of the number of U.S. workers who make up the knowledge worker population range from about 28% of the labor force to as high 45% – from 36 million to as many as 58 million workers. By offering Social Collaboration tools to knowledge workers, companies and organizations can improve efficiency and productivity by simplifying sharing, accessing relevant information, and finding experts and specialists when they are needed. Not only is this vital while Knowledge Workers are employed, but also after they leave so all their knowledge is not lost with them. The abrupt shift from office-based to remote work necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to lean more heavily on their social collaboration tools than previously. Yet despite initial worries, the productivity boost experienced by many such companies has led operations leaders to embrace new, remote-friendly workforce strategies, as well as new strategies for repurposing office spaces. For companies subject to high regulatory oversight, however, the productivity gains that come from adopting social collaboration tools can come with an unwanted price. Companies such as banks, insurers, securities broker-dealers, and government agencies are required by law to retain and preserve business communications in order to verify lawful business conduct. To minimize the risk of fines, penalties, and litigation due to non-compliance, companies in these sectors have long relied on compliance archiving and supervision technologies to retain, preserve, and analyze electronic communications, Historically, these communications principally constituted email. Because of this legacy, the growing plethora of social collaboration platforms that have transformed collaboration and teamwork has led many organizations to discover that their archiving solutions no longer serve their intended missions.
What Are Some Challenges of Archiving Social Collaboration?
The reason so many archiving solutions fall short when it comes to capturing and preserving Social Collaboration content is because these solutions are proprietary in nature. Unlike email, Social Collaboration channels are not built to any standard protocols and are subject to interface, feature, and functionality changes with no warning. This means that many archiving and supervision solutions – whether engineered in-house or developed with third-party support – are prone to obsolescence overnight, throwing the organizations they intend to serve out of regulatory compliance. As Social Collaboration continues to gain acceptance as standard business practice, corporate strategies to deploy solutions that enable remote collaboration and the archival, analysis, and management of data or content is pivotal to success.
Best Practices for Social Collaboration
Implementation strategies for new solutions and tools for Social Collaboration need full support and sponsorship from the executive leadership ranks of businesses. When companies invest in new collaboration tools that C-suite executives fail to adopt, they have merely purchased expensive alternatives to email. Adopting Social Collaboration tools that streamline intuitive workflows creates value for employees and their collective organizations; the tactic of creating shared-file repositories adds little to the collaboration process as a whole, and can impose undue administrative burdens while adding silos that contribute to storage bloat. The right combination of Social Collaboration tools can be an efficient driver for innovation and work culture as employees are free to receive and give helpful feedback to peers. For this to work, careful consideration also must be made as to how the data will be described for re-use. Not only must data be backed up for disaster recovery, but also should be archived. This entails accessing inactive data from a point in time for near-term needs such as regulatory compliance requests or content analytics.
Social Collaboration and Compliance Archiving
Whereas in the past organizations have chosen compliance archiving solutions and platforms on the premise of their scalable architecture and extensible feature set, risk mitigation for Social Collaboration is a wholly different endeavor. While scalability, fast search performance, and feature richness continue to distinguish premium offerings from products targeted to smaller companies and organizations not subject to strict regulatory scrutiny, these attributes alone offer limited protection from inappropriate or unlawful conduct over Social Collaboration channels. This is reflective of the proprietary nature of Social Collaboration platforms. In order to lock in their customer bases and displace niche providers, Social Collaboration platform vendors are aggressively extending the features and functionality they offer. These high-velocity enhancement cycles can occur as frequently as weekly. When they do, they can completely undermine any archiving solution aimed at collecting and processing their content. Micro Focus offers a suite of products designed to simplify and streamline archiving and supervision of Social Collaboration content and communications.
What Operational Services are Critical for Success with Social Collaboration?
The critical success factor for bringing Social Collaboration communications under compliance is the application of Operational Services. Operational Services is a term applied to the remote management of archiving processes for each quantum of data, from the point of collection through processing and enrichment, and its preservation in the archive. In essence, Operational Services provides a “mission control” function to archiving operations, albeit across an entire set of customer implementations. Staffed by trained engineers and domain experts, Operational Services teams monitor archiving operations around the clock to spot statistical or performance anomalies that may provide early warning signs of unanticipated interface changes. The teams then assess and analyze the data aberrations and escalate issues as necessary to minimize the risk of data loss and noncompliance. Operational Services teams then alert designated liaisons within their customer organizations to the occurrence, sharing information about likely causes and factors, and prescribing actions as may be necessary to limit exposure caused by changes made to the Social Collaboration platform.
The integration of Operational Services into the compliance archiving solution helps ensure not only that organizations can respond as quickly as possible to vendors’ changes to their Social Collaboration platforms, but also ensures a standard mechanism for detailed event reporting related to the changes and the subsequent remediation measures.
Advanced Analytics and Archiving of Social Collaboration Data
An organization’s information management processes are optimal when there is meaningful collaboration between information governance and data governance teams. Archiving and analyzing Social Collaboration data are crucial elements of an effective information governance strategy. When a company can properly manage and analyze their Social Collaboration data from creation to retrieval, they can glean timely, actionable insights – or as Micro Focus likes to say, Insight Empowered.
Collaboration brings people, projects, and processes together in one secure place to enhance team and employee productivity. Micro Focus Collaboration provides a single, integrated software ecosystem that offers everything individuals and teams need to stay connected, work together, and collaborate – whether across the table or across the world. Secure file sharing and co-editing of dozens of file types from any device or location with Micro Focus Filr. Gain complete oversight and visibility of a messaging system by archiving all messaging data into a single, unified archive using Micro Focus Enterprise Messaging. Built-in eDiscovery tools enable access, searches, place litigation holds, tags, prints, forwards, saves, redacts, and exports of archived data. Securely deliver advanced file, print, network, and storage management services across the enterprise and manage all printing across any location or device using Micro Focus Open Enterprise Server (OES).
Data should be an asset, not a liability. Proper archiving of collaboration and electronic communications in a unified compliance archive is imperative to remain competitive and legally compliant. Micro Focus Digital Safe enables the archiving of information and communication into a single, large-scale compliant data archive to meet all regulatory and operational needs. Digital Safe provides built-in analytics to turn data into rich insights through enrichments and machine learning that help reduce risk and enable quick action.
Deriving meaningful insights from all data types like audio, video, text, and images is often overlooked, yet essential. Micro Focus IDOL sifts through social media, web content, broadcast media, and archives to bring those insights to the desktop enabling a company to spend their effort on analysis rather than discovery. No matter the type of Social Collaboration, IDOL can enable the archival, search, discovery, and analysis of unstructured data using artificial intelligence to remain in compliance and a step ahead of the competition.
An information governance program built on strong records management principles can significantly improve business efficiency and productivity, information security, and operational cost savings. Micro Focus Content Manager proactively manages both business content and records throughout the content lifecycle, from the point of creation through to disposal. Content Manager offers integrated, governance-based enterprise content management functionality created for organizations that have moved past the days of managing paper-only records. Social collaboration is increasing the diversity of data, therefore requiring a company to manage business records in a variety of forms, including emails, web content, Microsoft Word documents, video, and text messages – all while providing rigorous security and user-friendly access from a range of devices at any time.
More on Social Collaboration
Micro Focus combines proven solutions for data analysis, management, archiving, and protection, while ensuring any organization can access and collaborate on whatever they need to wherever they are. Take a look at the comprehensive Information Management & Governance Portfolio for any Social Collaboration archival needs.