Why Organizational Network Analytics?

In today’s “new-normal” - managing a constantly evolving set of organizational priorities along with ever-increasing customer expectations while working with limited resources means everyone needs to chip in. As mentioned in this Gary Hamel videoenlarging the leadership franchise and syndicating the work of designated experts is the key to unlocking the organization's latent capability.

This means Leadership is no longer the preserve of “leaders” and Subject Matter Expertise is no longer the preserve of designated “experts”.

Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) are ideally positioned to contribute here since they are not limited by organizational hierarchies or departmental silos.

Few areas where ESNs can make a difference are -

  1. Capitalizing on cognitive surplus : Most large organizations has significant subject matter expertise spread across geographies and departments, which is capable and willing to contribute towards creating value through cross-functional projects and change management exercises. ESNs can connect these stakeholders to deliver that value.
  2. Crowd sourced problem solving : At any point in time, there are problems being faced by organizations which can be solved better or quicker by associates who are not necessarily part of that "team". ESNs can help broadcast these problem statements and generate the best solution the organization has to offer.
  3. Crowd-sourced expert identification : As organizations take up challenging and cutting edge projects - identifying and deploying the right expertise for the right engagement needs to be very quick. This can be enabled by providing a crowd sourced framework to identify experts who have been "vetted" by the community with social cues - eg Likes / Views / Recommendations etc.

An key factor that makes ESNs an attractive option - is the availability of the talent and technology to interpret the reams of data being churned by these networks. Organizational Network Analytics (ONA), or the ability to collect and interpret ESN data, are now helping visualize and interpret how the network is helping organizations. Open source tools like NodeXL are enabling everyone to analyse networks and get actionable insights.

Given below is sample network analysis output (from NodeXL) with visual cues like :

  1. What is the overall connectivity within the group? i.e.
  2. Who is most "influential" within the group?
  3. Who is the most efficient "connector" between groups?
  4. Are there sub groups within the larger group?




Image Courtesy - NodeXL Site


By providing clarity on questions like these, ONA can help organizations understand 'informal' structures present within the formal hierarchy. This information can in-turn be used for - enabling meaningful engagement with leadership and identifying influencers / experts who can help drive change / provide thought-leadership respectively.

This is a relatively new field and will evolve significantly with the incorporation cutting edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Natural Language Processing etc. In the long term, ONA will help organizations look at every problem and every solution holistically - by focusing on the actual informal structures that decide organization effectiveness.

This article has also been featured at DirectSuggest.com

Found this article interesting? Do reach out to the HRness team at https://hrness.in (Twitter: @hrnessin) to see how we can help your organization with "Making Conversations Matter".


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