Strategy 1 – cobble free stuff
There are plenty of services out there that can be used for nothing, right now. For example:
- Networking – LinkedIn or Facebook group, or create a network using Ning or Mightybell
- Document sharing – Scribd, Slideshare, Issuu or a pure file sharing platform like Box, Dropbox or OneDrive
- Status updates – Yammer, or Tumblr
- Collaborative authoring – Google Drive, Quip, Wikispaces
- Note taking – Evernote, Simplenote, Google Keep
Staff can sign up for these sites and make use of them to record and share knowledge, have conversations with colleagues and get all the advantages of social software without the need for paying for software or development.
As an organisation you could create a strategy which outlines which tools should be used for which task, and how everyone can share and connect on them. Perfect!
Well, kind of. Outsourcing your knowledge and collaboration activity in this way can work brilliantly, but it isn’t without its risks. For example, each service has its own username and password, creating an instant barrier to entry. Further, the services might not talk to each other very well, making it hard to link a conversation on one site with some resource uploaded to another.
What’s potentially worse is that all of these services are dependant on the fact that the companies that run them continue to do so.
- You can get started right away
- No development requirements or deep IT involvement
- Often these apps are the best of breed
- Lack of consistency of user interface may put off users
- Your data will be stored on a multitude of third party servers
- Limited functionality and support – not to mention adverts – with free versions
Have you tried the ‘cobbling free stuff’ strategy? How did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!