Many companies' knowledge and information are cautiously guarded by a protective oligarchy. So consider this radical idea: Free-flowing information that is accessible to many -- rather than tightly controlled knowledge in the hands of a few -- makes enterprises smarter.
Microsoft may have drawn on this philosophy in developing SharePoint 2013 collaboration features. Redmond developers may even have had James Surowiecki's Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations in the back of their minds as they dreamt up new ways for organizations to collaborate, manage projects and distribute information among workers. As Yammer's James Patterson noted during a 2012 SharePoint conference, this kind of functionality allows for "serendipitous connections." And according to Surowiecki, these kinds of unstructured interactions with many participants create better enterprise decision making.
SharePoint 2013 includes new collaboration features such as Community Sites and microblogging, which enable formerly siloed workers to interact with one another based on shared interest rather than just because they work in the same department or on the same project -- and in ways that mimic familiar social networking sites like Facebook. SharePoint brings together the sites, documents and other information that users care about and helps them share what they know easily.
When employees use microblogging, news feeds, tagging and other features, it makes their participation in the conversation more like -- well -- a conversation. Ideas can be easily and freely exchanged, discussions take place or tidbits of information are shared. These enterprise social networking features mimic Facebook quite intentionally.
In this podcast, Scott Robinson discusses SharePoint 2013 collaboration features and how these capabilities create the wisdom of crowds.
For more on SharePoint collaboration features:
SharePoint 2013 release adds apps
This was first published in August 2013