A collaboration network is made up of many different types of nodes. There are people in the organization that are subject matter experts, there are people who seem to know everyone else and everything that is going on in the organization, there are people who don’t network well at all, but the organization counts on these people to think through problems, there are the innovators and creators of new thinking and new products. As we start to use social media and enterprise social networks to begin mapping what these collaboration networks look like and who each of the players are, we begin to gain greater insight into how the network functions and what many of the pitfalls are.
As organizations evolve, the network certainly changes with new additions and departures. New additions and a wonderful problem in and of itself as how quickly you can onboard a person into the network determines the acceleration of new ideas into your organization. However, network departures present a whole different type of problem where significant gapes in expertise, analytic capabilities or network connectivity often suffers. Valdis Krebs has a great picture and analysis of what turnover means to the network.
With Valdis’ social network analysis, not only can you see what will happen in the unfortunate event that you have network turnover, but it allows to you find where these weaknesses are in your network and strengthen those areas. For example, if John is the key connection between the HR and Finance functions and no other strong relationships exist, it’s quite obvious that relationships should also be built by with several other people. This is a simple and obvious example, but extrapolated to the macro-network, one easily sees the benefits this type of analysis presents. Were John to leave, and the organization had successfully build multiple other relationship points, critical communications would still have communication avenues, and breakdown of relationships would not occur.