There’s lots of talk about Social IT, and like ‘cloud’ or ‘SaaS’ before it, the term itself is in danger of becoming confused, misunderstood, and misused! That would be a great shame, because I believe Social IT is transforming how we work in ways we never imagined possible only a few years ago!
So – what is Social IT?
First of all let’s start with the question ‘what is social?’ This is the ‘social’ part of ‘social media’. Social is people collaborating. Social is being part of a community. Social is creating and sharing content. Social is communities of people, collaborating to create and share content.
Now the next bit – ‘what is IT?’ IT is quite simply the technology we use to manage and process the information that allows us to do whatever it is we do. We use IT for business, we use IT for pleasure; we all use IT in some shape or form to enhance our lives on a daily basis!
So what happens when you put the two together?
Social IT takes the concepts and ways of working from Social Media, and incorporates them into how we use technology within the working environment. This enables us to work in a community-based and collaborative way with our colleagues, customers, suppliers and partners.
For the IT organisation, Social IT enables us to pro-actively engage with the users of our IT services rather than being the re-active gatekeeper of technology. We can enable our customers to use IT services in the ways they have become accustomed to, and we can all reap the benefits of increased efficiency and motivation.
The challenge however, is that large organisations may find the Social IT methods of working much harder to embrace. Social IT leans much more towards an ‘edge of chaos’ style of working, and as such it is much more suited to small, loosely structured organisations rather than large, highly structured organisations.
In organisations that actively embrace an ‘edge of chaos’ culture, there is a fine balance between order and chaos which generates the optimum conditions for maximum innovation and creativity. The benefits of an ‘edge of chaos’ culture within an organisation include:
- Leadership arises through the recognition of knowledge and expertise, rather than through hierarchy and tenure.
- Teams tend towards being self-forming and self-organising
- Innovation is encouraged amongst a dynamic and highly motivated workforce
- People exist within cross-function, fluid teams where they can take on multiple roles
- People work faster and more efficiently
By design or by chance (I’m still not sure which) these are also some of the key benefits associated with the use of Social IT ways of working!
At IT SmartDesk we’re embracing Social IT big-time! We’ve built the IT SmartDesk platform from the ground-up based upon the concepts of Social Media and Social IT: real-time information flow, openness and transparency, sharing and collaboration, simple and intuitive interfaces. By putting the user experience at the heart of IT Service Management, we’ve created a platform that enables the IT organisation’s customers to work in the way they want to!