Internal Social Network Analysis

Following yesterday’s post on future recruiting technology, which looking back should have read future talent management technology, here is an example of thing I am seeing in the market.

SAP has built a Social Network Analyzer prototype for inside the organisation. (Hat tip James Governor.)

It aggregates existing enterprise data to display and discover organizational relationships. It provides the missing link between social networking platforms and enterprise information systems, by letting organizations leveraging data available in corporate information systems.

SNA helps jump-start social networking within the organization by letting you import and aggregate all the corporate relationships between people that are already recorded in your business applications, such as:

  • Management hierarchies from your human resources system
  • Data on who worked on which deals from your sales force automation system
  • Partner, customer, and partner supplier contacts along your supply chain
  • People who work on similar transactions within your operational systems

The early images show a product user interface that is very different to anything I have seen from the German Giant.

The tool bring data from disparate systems across the enterprise into a single view to see who is interacting with whom via relationships there can be significant talent management benefits, other than collaboration:

  • Look at the interaction of at risk high performers, are their other high performers that also might be at risk due to social relationships?
  • Top talent referrers, who else do they interact with and are they providing referrals, if not why?
  • Do poor performers interact together?
  • Do top performers interact together?

The tool can import any data that describes a relationship between two people or objects you can uncover relationships between individuals, groups and departments that do not appear in the traditional organisation structure.

Now what if we added into the mix information about external social networks??

Let’s not forget the privacy issues, to quote James:

I thought it was kind of funny, though obviously not surprising, that one of the reasons SAP has been slow to turn the prototype into product is European data protection law. While American firms would consider metadata about employee interactions to be company property, under German law that is certainly not the case – no, in Germany it would be called spying.

Will this product see the light of day? Will it be deployed in many organisations? What would trade unions think of the tool? All these questions and more will ultimately determine the future of this particular technology.

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