Implementation of New Media for Organizational Communication
The Hampshire Corporation (HC) is a for profit company which was founded in 1970, and has offices in the United States, Canada, England, India, Philippines and Bulgaria. The company is considered to be one of the best in their profession, which involves designing and selling information services and products for medical professionals. Three years ago, they purchased an Indian company and have tasked them to transfer all of their hard copy material –books, paper and journals- into a digital form. The acquisition is the first step in an initiative to become more innovative. Currently, HC suffers substantially from a lack of innovation, their social media and online presence being largely stagnant in nature. The company’s website is lacking, their social media/blog sites are non-existent and each office has a hard time staying in touch with each other. The company is in the process of preparing plans to become more innovative and implement new media technologies into the daily operations of the organization.
Currently the company is in a very poor state with regards to online communication, particularly through old media. The current state of their website is rather grim, utilizing simplistic Web 1.0 page designs and poorly organized information. Inter-group communication still occurs mostly in physical offices, with limited accessibility to phones and external conferencing with other clients. HC still prefers to meet their clients face-to-face, leaving them less able to really reach out to international clients in an effective, regulated way. To that end, they contact their Indian subsidiaries much less often than they should.
As for their social media, their primary presence seems to be on Google+, in which they have 793 followers currently. A small widget has been attached to the sidebar of the website to connect website users to their Google+ page, but it clashes with the rest of the website design and there are no other links to social media pages of any kind. Their Facebook is difficult to reach unless you perform a Google search, and their FB page only has 130 followers and an intermittent update schedule; updates occur approximately once a month, and engagement is low. They have no user posts on their page. Currently, they have no Twitter page, or any other social media to speak of. By all accounts, HC appears to be operating at a mid-2000s level of online communication with regards to its web design and social media.
Why be more innovative?
In America most companies are innovative and have gone digital. HC recognizes there are many benefits to becoming more innovative. One benefit is to keep up with your competition. If the other companies in your industry change and become more innovative by adding new media and updating technology then in order to keep a competitive advantage, it is suggested to do the same. Another benefit of adding new media to the business is that it will allow you to reach out to more customers and increase sales profitability. A third benefit is that it will increase the communication between the many different offices that are part of the company. Strong communication is key to success in any organization. A fifth benefit is that it will help the company work more efficiently. When updated technology is brought into a company, most of the time it allows the company to perform more efficiently.
The company needs to take effective collaboration steps because it is the ultimate key to running successful business between companies satellite office. Building a solid foundation for collaboration is not difficult and effective collaboration starts with understanding how the market works, what the customers want, and what new trends could potentially disrupt the business. In addition to that, the use of social media technologies such as Facebook and twitter in the company as means of communication will improve organizational process. Using social media for collaboration will enable the company to reach to more internal and external stakeholders. Customers are interacting with brands through social media; therefore, having a strong social media presence on the web is the key to tap into their interest. Since the company has minimal web presence, they have to take drastic action to increase visibility.
Desired State – Phase I
Given the antiquated nature of the social media presence of HC, as well as the woefully limited and unfortunate nature of the company’s in-house communication, a number of new media tools should be sponsored by the company in Phase I.
Collaboration technology includes the blanket application of electronic communication to achieve business goals, encompassing everything from instant messaging to new media to web conferencing and wikis (Fontaine, Parise & Miller, 2004). Collaborative software in particular is especially useful because of its ability to effectively share important data and media with multiple members of a group at all manner of different locations at once. This is especially useful in programs like Google Drive, in which all manner of documents and files can be edited and collaborated on live by multiple team members, all at their own terminal. This makes open collaboration and editing of projects infinitely easier and faster to accomplish, as well as ensures accountability by tracking all users working on a project. All other aspects of Phase I technically fall under the purview of collaboration technology, but will be more specifically useful to HC personnel. HC can make great use of collaboration technology in all aspects of its business.
The applicability of social media to a business is almost endless, with companies using social media as an effective way of building their brand, maintaining close, instant ties with their audience and offering immediate customer support and promotions to a target audience (Hyder, 2014). Avenues like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are all popular, substantially widespread social media platforms by which companies can build their audiences. While HC already has a Google+ account that is performing admirably, efforts could be made to improve activity on their Facebook page, and a Twitter account can be created for them. The benefits to social media for HC are numerous, including providing a substantial presence that remains in the public eye, providing constant advertisement for the company and its services, and a deeply entrenched avenue for customer service support, feedback and testimonials (Oracle, 2012).
Web Conferencing/Video Chat
Web conferencing software, including video chat, is a tremendously useful and innovative new method of providing the same fast communication of a personal conversation for individuals hoping to communicate from a distance. Products like Skype and Adobe Connect provide remote, live video conferencing for a variety of contexts, including enterprise applications such as the kind required by HC (distance conferences, meetings with staff and partners overseas, quick collaboration between departments). While studies show that web conferencing may simply amplify the dysfunctions that exist in current meeting practices, it can also amplify the benefits that live meetings provide to corporate productivity – such as the sense of participation and improvisational problem-solving that occurs with live, face-to-face communication (Fontaine, Parise & Miller, 2004). HC can make great use of web conferencing software and platforms to better reach out to their Indian partners, whom they have just bought and need to be able to supervise on a constant basis.
Organizational Issues of Rolling Out New Media
There are two primary challenges of incorporating new media tools in an organization. The first is the need for companies to utilize a variety of new disciplinary skill sets that are likely unfamiliar to them. Corporate communication departments that are used to the slower cycles of traditional media will require training and expertise in order to use new media effectively, which can often be a problem for people untrained in the skills required for new media. The introduction of creative producers, technical engineers and more to take care of the hardware and tech components of new media would help HC and other companies like it to facilitate the raw materials needed to incorporate these new technologies into existing business structures (Hamilton, Kass, & Alter, 2013).
The second issue is the frequently changing nature of new media; technology platforms upgrade all the time, and content and messaging can also change with it. Because of the young history and transitional nature of new media, companies may get used to a particular platform just in time for it to require upgrading. To address these issues, HC can implement a combination of innovation, emergence and improvisation to address the ways they can implement new media into their existing business structure (Hamilton, Kass, & Alter, 2013).
Summary of New Media Tool Recommendations
In order to address HC’s technology needs and appropriately update them, it is necessary to find a healthy combination of collaboration technology and social media tools that will both improve the company’s brand and further more effective, productive communication and implementation of projects (Socha &Eber-Schmid, 2014). By implementing collaboration technology like wikis, shared document/cloud services, web conferencing and video chat, HC will be able to appropriately update their new media technologies to become more productive. An increased social media presence will increase the company’s exposure to a wide audience, and collaboration equipment like web conferencing will provide the immediacy of live meetings without needing to deal with the high expenses of international travel. If the issues of learning new skill sets and keeping up with intermittent upgrades can be addressed, these upgrades will help HC properly update their company for the 21st century.
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