In the fast developing and disruptive spaces we now live in, there are very few insurance policies that you can buy in order to protect yourself against the pace of change. In the social networking world, large companies are crumbling under their own weight as they try to remain agile while being competitive. Smaller companies are not burdened by the bureaucracy of their larger counterparts. However, in order to survive the market, they looking to adopt emerging trends and create smart networks.
To evolve with the times, companies need to consider what truly helps them retain their competitive edge. What was previously done by only large companies with resources can now be done at a fraction of the cost by their smaller counterparts.
Even more significant is the fact that human resource is easily available from any part of the world. What could have cost a company in the states a fortune can now be done by a team of experts in India at more or less the same time and at a fraction of the cost.
Across the board, employees are demanding more freedom and autonomy. They not only want to work for one company, but they also want the freedom to cross borders and work on projects that they really care about.
Clients, on the other hand, are demanding more custom solutions. They want detailed and customized advice and strategies that companies cannot afford to deliver. The challenge of customized services has given rise to independent consultants and workers that deliver just what the client needs while maintaining a connection with their immediate employer. Companies that want to retain their smartest people are being forced to accommodate these working relationships. Rather than hold and restrict their employees, it has become necessary to let go of control, and instead, build relationship networks across the board. In this way, they can offer a superior service and preferred working terms.
Building such networks takes time and sacrifice. However, this is the only way to remain competitive and relevant in order to survive the current dynamic market. These smart networks are made up of people and are not limited to one company. They are great for sharing knowledge and expertise and offer exactly what the clients are looking for.
By developing a network of smart people outside your company, you are investing in brands and careers of individuals which will attract A+ talent. Intranet software is one way to bring in these smart individuals into your organization to leverage their research and expertise.
Intranet software enables employees to share their research without any constraints. They can, for example, run a blog or write a book, and share it across the company network. This is a fair exchange of value. The employee gets exposure for his or her work while also sharing his or her expertise with the rest of the team. The freedom also gives them more incentive to stick with the company. While building their own brand, they can bring in the value into the organization without feeling the need to peel off and start their own boutique companies altogether. It’s a win win.
In order to keep knowledge grounded, it is necessary to create synergies between different departments. For example, if your company offers research and consulting services, look for ways that the two can work together. Can research deepen your understanding of your client in order to offer better consulting services? Stretching research into consulting can even help lower costs in the process. This approach requires building networks among people and helping them work together.
Smart networks that are built upon intranet adoption are very effective in increasing awareness and readership. They help generate market ideas and contribute to exposure from large audiences, which further lowers research costs and improve quality.
How you set up your networks will really determine if you can create smart networks. If your network allows input from within and beyond the company, then you stand a good chance of building smart networks made of smart people outside of your organization. Their contributions can be shared with the internal team which contributes to market ideas and exposure.
Shared collaboration spaces break down silos which are detrimental to company growth. They increase availability of information, access to people, and offer simplified communication methods, all of which are key to competing in today’s networked world.
Building smart networks is a social issue framed around working expectations. The question is, will the working constructs of your business change to meet them?
Tim is a co-founder and president of Axero and the author of his forthcoming book, Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Break Down the Invisible Barriers to Employee Engagement. He's spilt insightful ink on the pages of Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, CNBC, Today, and other top publications.
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