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Forget org charts: the real power is invisible. Jacob McNulty on social network analysis

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Collaboration Pizza

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How does work get done in your company? Odds you don’t really know, and nobody else does either. Sure, you’ve got operations manuals and best practices, but reality just isn’t that clear-cut. On paper, a map of the human interactions involved in even the simplest task looks like a giant hairball, not a tidy Gantt chart. Creating and de-tangling these hairballs, known as Social Network Analysis (SNA) and Value Network Analysis (VNA) maps, is Jacob McNulty’s strong suit. He is the CEO of Orbital RPM, a consulting firm that integrates collaboration tools into business strategy. In a discipline where intangibles rule, the power of a network analysis map cannot be underestimated, according to Jacob. “It’s concrete proof of how ideas, information and resources flow through the organization,” he says. “You see influencers and knowledge hubs immediately. We call it harnessing the invisible.” Who’s got the power to promote new ideas within your organization? (A job description can’t tell you, but an SNA map can.) Where’s the social capital you need to champion a new project? Where are your company’s thought leaders and experts? Which areas are isolated or overburdened? In this episode of Collaboration Pizza, Jacob McNulty describes how extracting activity data from your collaboration platform can become a powerful strategic advantage. He discusses the privacy implications of network mapping, explains how to (and how not to) make decisions based on social maps, and how to launch your own SNA initiative. For more about Jacob McNulty, visit Orbital RPM. Collaboration Pizza is sponsored by Yakabod Secure Knowledge Sharing Systems.

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