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Right up front, I’m going to make a confession: I didn’t start out as a fan of social collaboration sites. I used to think these sites were just a collection of random thoughts and documents. Sure, you could spend an hour of your time poking around and learning things, but I didn’t see the relevance for an organization striving for efficiency. So, what made me a believer?

First, there’s the glaringly obvious. Social networking has become part of our daily lives. It’s the way we’ve learned to engage with the world. While it was once an awkward tool for many of us, it’s now routine. So a social site in the workplace is a familiar and welcome way to learn and collaborate.

I used to think, “So what? Being social in the workplace is just a way to visit with co-workers.” But social sites have evolved into so much more. And as companies expand across regions or countries, it becomes even more important to have a place to share information and ideas. Colleagues throughout an organization can use their social collaboration site to find subject experts or collaborate on projects.

I was also skeptical that online social tools could make companies and their employees more effective. But wholesale distributors are using social collaboration sites help their sales teams improve the speed of sales cycles and increase efficiency. They can manage sales opportunities in real time, bringing together all the key participants. They can access information at any place or time, making better use of their valuable time. Sales teams can find subject matter experts to help close deals. And new sales team members can ramp up quickly by connecting with the people, processes and content they need.

Distributors are also using social collaboration to assist in HR activities. Informal learning can be provided for employees with related collaboration sites. This can reduce the cost of training, and makes learning convenient. Managers and employees can collaborate on goal and performance management. And new employees can be connected with the right people and content so they can quickly contribute to the organization.

So social collaboration sites have evolved – and so have I. With all the benefits afforded the companies using these sites, it’s easy to be converted to a social collaboration believer.

To learn how SAP can help in your social collaboration journey, go to http://www.sap.com/product/content-collaboration/enterprise-social-collaboration.html.

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