Networking can involve many things. There’s social/business networking using services like Linked In, Ryze, Company of Friends or other services.
There’s networking you do when you attend a business meeting and pass around dozens of cards hoping to get some more customers or business contacts.
Then there’s the networking you do with your computers, cell phones and PDAs. This is where many businesses stop.
However, the networking that you should REALLY implement for your business is ensuring that your businesses “brain share” can communicate with one another. Ensure that the information in one location can be available to another location or person. If someone needs information they can FIND out who or where that information resides. Sure, this can be a big project but there are many things you can do to make the process easier. Also, start small, not large.
For example, make sure company reports, filed by sales consultants or others are searchable and available to all. You might not want (or even be allowed) to have complete open access to reports by everyone but maybe give everyone at least the subject headline of a report and enable them to email the source of the document for permission to view the entire report.
This also touches on the aspects of “e-business”. Icode, NetSuite, IBM and many other companies specialize in connecting the digital enterprise (whether your enterprise is large or small).
The New York Times writes The second round of Internet innovation appears to be here. Companies large and small experienced soaring productivity in the 90’s as the Web made worlds of information available at the click of a mouse, and the Internet drastically reduced the cost of communicating and doing business with someone on the next floor or the next continent. That cost-cutting payoff continues to spread. But in the next wave, companies are embracing the potential of networked computing to let workers share their knowledge more efficiently as they nurture new ideas, new products and new ways to digitally automate all sorts of tasks.
Companies are drawing on collaborative models that first blossomed in nonbusiness settings, from online games to open-source software projects to the so-called wiki encyclopedias and blogs to speed up innovation. This networked collaboration is creating new opportunities and disrupting industries. New styles of work and, in business schools, new theories of innovation are rising.
Read the full NYT article here