Social Collaboration, or social business, is becoming a more common term in the workforce.  With the advancements of social networks, mobile and cloud computing, many forward-thinking companies are seeking out tools to help their globally dispersed employees and teams connect and collaborate online more efficiently to address business critical issues. In a faster paced, interconnected business world, instant informal communication becomes more vital for sharing knowledge that is focused and specific, and meets critical business needs. New Social Business Collaboration tools help foster rapid decision making, improve access to information in real time that’s distributed throughout the organization and increase productivity levels.

In fact, according to a recent McKinsey report, it was suggested that companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent through Social Business Collaboration technology.

With these powerful known benefits, then why are many organizations still sitting on the social business sideline? Many are hesitant to embrace new social collaboration tools due to misconceptions or absence of a clear roadmap to success. Furthermore, security concerns, hype and mixed messages from multiple players in the social enterprise space have resulted in many business leaders remaining uncertain of the benefits these tools can bring. For instance, there has been so much emphasis in the marketplace on the fuzzy, social attributes of uniting and engaging employees, that the true value of being able to immediately collaborate and share knowledge to solve critical business problems is overlooked.

Below are five common myths that can paralyze businesses from embracing the many benefits that advanced Social Business Collaboration tools can bring to their organization.  By understanding these myths, and the realities behind each fallacy, organizations can determine if 2013 is the year to get off the social business collaboration sidelines.

Myth 1 – Social Collaboration platforms are not safe and secure.

Myth Buster: Because most social collaboration tools live internally within an organization’s IT infrastructure, many offer a secure environment. This offers a safe, ideal platform for those professionals and teams working on confidential projects or assignments.

Myth 2 – Social Business Collaboration tools are more for uniting employees socializing and having fun; they can’t possibly be for getting real work done.

Myth Buster: Businesses are turning to Social Business Collaboration platforms for critical business purposes, including rapid collaboration and knowledge sharing and helping employees streamline business communications to avoid the headaches and limitations of e-mail. Instead of sifting through multiple e-mails to find those messages most relevant and important, and then waiting for a response, employees have instant access to teams and critical information to get work done!

Myth 3 – Adopting a social business strategy helps employees use social media to communicate with their key audience.

Myth Buster: Traditional social networking technology such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter primarily connects people on the individual, peer-to-peer level, and often times externally, beyond their corporate firewalls. New Enterprise Social Business Collaboration tools on the other hand, are for engaging users internally in the organization to solve business problems and to uncover knowledge experts for innovation, decision making and improved results.  These tools foster secure, streamlined, real-time and asynchronous team-based collaboration and communication, resulting in increased productivity and ROI.

Myth 4 – New Social Collaboration software doesn’t solve real world business problems or deliver true ROI.

Myth Buster:  There’s a greater need for informal collaboration tools that work above and beyond typical software silos that exist within most organizations. Current technologies (customer relationship management, enterprise resource management, business process automation, etc) do a good job storing information and assisting with standard business processes, but fall short of supporting the dynamic informal communications needed for innovative thinking and collaborative decision making. Social Business Collaboration tools have shown positive gains in efficiency, productivity and transparency, and can help business teams solve real world problems. The key here is to tie these metrics into the organization’s business goals. Once aligned to business objectives, the true benefits of Enterprise Social Business Collaboration can be measured for real impact and ROI.

Myth 5 – Social Business Collaboration software can’t be tailored to meet my individual corporate needs, I have no choice but to invest in a fully-robust platform.

Myth Buster: The fact is a company can pick and choose which Social Business Collaboration tools will provide features and benefits most important to its organization. Formicary Collaboration Group believes these tools can be classified into three categories: Employee Engagement, Employee Exposure and Collective Intelligence.  There is no one-tool-that-fits-all.  Businesses can start off by implementing those categories that address their most pressing business critical needs first, than expand from there.  For instance, it might make sense to choose tools that help maximize the talent base of your organization for the right assignments, or improve immediate collaboration among teams to drive decision making on mission-critical issues. Whatever business categories or needs a company wants to tackle first, this does not need to happen overnight; rather, it’s a process.

By keeping an open mind and focusing on their business needs first and foremost, and then considering how these new tools can meet those needs, businesses will be pleasantly surprised to see what benefits Social Business Collaboration technology can bring