Blog George Spalding of PINK Elephant – Best Practices for Social IT Management
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of sponsoring a webinar presented by George Spalding, Executive Vice President of PINK Elephant. The session “The Phenomenon of Social Media—How will it Impact your IT Organization ” highlighted the many aspects of social media, including its exponential growth, its use within the enterprise as well as the value and risks that businesses should be prepared for. Spalding also provided some best practices for IT organizations struggling with what to do next.
That said, many people know that social media is not a flash in the pan, rather it is being adopted at ever increasing rates – this includes the use of mobile devices to support the world of 24x7 communications. In fact, research has shown that more than 90 percent of employees leverage their personal devices within the workplace (or use the device outside the office for work-related activities). While many of these employees are not asking their employer to recoup the cost of their investment, they are not asking permission to use the devices either.
Because of this, many IT organizations are struggling to implement Consumer IT-based policies. Some are questioning whether they should ban the use of outside devices as well as access to social sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn all together.
According to Spalding (and we completely agree) banning the use of social media is just not possible. Even if IT puts blocks on corporate technologies, employees will find workarounds – they can simply use their phones. That is why he noted the first step to ensuring proper social IT management is to accept things you cannot change. People will use their personal devices, they will surf social sites during the day and they will leverage that technology to be more productive within their work environment. IT must accept those parameters and work with the employees to ensure proper corporate responsibility.
Another best practice Spalding called out is to understand crowdsourcing. As he noted during the session, everyone at one time or another has gone to Google and typed in “how do I…” This is a form of crowdsourcing – getting an immediate answer to your needs from a large, generally unknown pool of resources. Because of the ease in which employees can get information, many will go to Google before calling the helpdesk. This leaves IT out of the loop on potentially larger productivity issues. Moreover, many are now going to sites such as Yammer or Social Cast to talk (or complain) about their issues. Again, bringing IT’s “dirty laundry” to the public, well before IT is ever made aware. So, what can IT do to reign in some of these activities? Some organizations are now monitoring the social streams in order to reach out and re-direct the issue in a timely manner. They are also offering more interactive options for self-help – videos, chat sessions, etc. rather than static pages of information. Aside from these tactical elements, the more informed, socially aware IT manager is creating guidelines to help employees understand the proper usage of social media within the workplace. For example, many employees do not understand the inherent security issues involved with the constant sharing of information. During the webinar, Spalding used the example of the US Military…many people don’t realize that photos posted to social sites often contain the location details of where that photo was taken. So, in the case of the military, this became an issue of national security when soldiers would snap a shot in front of the tank and essentially released the coordinates of that tank for all to see – granted this is an extreme example, but it really brings the point home that it is important to have guidelines and best practices (such as the ability to turn off the location finder in the camera on your phone). The session also noted that if you’re going to implement a policy or guideline, make it easy to understand. The 2012 Olympic Games in London has crafted a 2-3 page social media policy for Olympians, sponsors, staff and more. In it, they outline details on who can and cannot participate in social media on behalf of the Olympics, how to honor trademarks, etiquette policies and more. As the event is sure to be one of the most “social” events to date, having a policy in place is a very smart move to ensure its smooth transition into the massive realm of social media.
The session was chock-full of examples, statistics and best practices that undoubtedly drive home the importance of proper social IT management. As social media continues to become more engrained into the everyday life of the consumer, it is also more pervasive within the enterprise as a means to capture pertinent data that aligns IT services to business outcomes. Thank you to George Spalding for a very informative session. Take a listen to learn what can be done to better integrate social media into enterprise IT service management initiatives – and to offer additional best practices that have worked within your own organization.
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Since 1988, Axios Systems has been committed to innovation by providing rapid deployment of IT Service Management (ITSM) software. With teams in 22 locations globally and over 1,000 successful customer SaaS and on-premise deployments, Axios is a worldwide leader in ITSM solutions, with an exclusive focus on ITSM. Axios’s enterprise ITSM software, assyst, is purpose-built, designed to transform IT departments from technology-focused cost centers into profitable business-focused customer service teams. assyst adds tangible value to each client’s organization by building on the ITIL® framework to help solve their business challenges. Axios is headquartered in the UK, with offices across Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Asia Pacific. For more information about Axios Systems, please visit our website, Twitter or YouTube channel.