We don’t have to go too far back in history to recall when companies were resistant to using email to conduct business. Many ROI studies were commissioned. Even telephones once were viewed as unnecessary to industry. So it’s not too surprising that today many CEOs and COOs of professional services firms are balking at the extensive time being invested in all things Social.

Not surprising, but also not logical.

We can point to many examples of technology tools people used in their personal lives that eventually landed squarely on the work desk. It’s no wonder that this phenomenon is paving the way to embed Social tools in the workplace.

Doing some research for a business proposal that requires partners but you have no direct connections? A little online social network research could reveal you’re only one “degree” from the people who can help you. This type of behavior is becoming native.  We can’t stop it.

In the spirit of “if you can’t beat them, join them” leading professional services enterprises are evaluating ways to harness the power of social media tools to encourage, organize and leverage the collective knowledge of their employees, customers and partners.

But companies must implement a well thought-out strategy for social collaboration, not cave in to rogue behavior. The smart professional services firms are seizing on social collaboration tools not only to adapt to this new means of interaction, but to help spur original thinking by fostering connections across locations and departments that wouldn’t ordinarily have occurred. These professional services firms are finding that prioritizing business collaboration leads to significant bottom line improvement compared to their peers who are taking a more “wait and see” stance.

Clearly, expectations for the modern professional services firm in today’s market have significantly evolved. Transformations in social networking and collaboration are creating a hyper-competitive market where operational excellence and flexibility are critical to coming out on top. It’s an exciting time to work in this industry.

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