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Business networking within an organisation, using facilities such as Yammer, offers the opportunity for businesses to communicate internally in ways that have not been known before. Implementing social networking, and making it work, may focus minds on how to get employees to communicate better.

This is against a background of an increasing merging of personal and work as employees are available on smartphones and such phones increasingly being allowed to access company servers, or at least company email.

An internal social network also breaks down any “silo culture” (where employees in different departments rarely talk to each other) and it spreads knowledge around a business. When Tata Consultancy Services in India set up an online question and answer forum they found time and again invaluable contributions from employees working outside their strict job descriptions.

Open-ness often concerns senior managers and business owners – they fear commercial information leaking out of the organisation. But this can happen anyway using good old-fashioned paper. However, unlike paper smuggled out of the business, social media leaves an “audit trail”.