Social networks such as Pinterest and Facebook have significantly changed the way people communicate, share information and stay in contact.

Similar to how the advanced capabilities of commercially-available mobile devices led to employees demanding mobility within the workplace, the federal workforce is looking for the communication and collaboration that these social networks deliver in their office as well as in their home. Unfortunately for government agencies, these social networks make too much information public and are often too insecure for sharing sensitive government information.

However, enterprise social networks have arisen that enable government agencies to standup their own secure social networks where employees can communicate, collaborate, share information, exchange data and otherwise stay in touch regardless of the distance separating them. This is extremely useful within agencies due to their distributed nature, with field offices located across the country or across the globe.

In fact, a recent article in Government Computer News provides details about HUDConnect, an enterprise social network implementation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The secure social network was developed by Socialtext and was designed to increase collaboration among the 8,000 HUD employees in their field offices.

According to the article, HUDConnect has had significant benefits for the agency. Employees in Washington are now capable of communicating and sharing files with employees in field offices, effectively bridging a geographic gap that was previously difficult to cross.

HUDConnect is an incredible example of what enterprise social networks can do for government agencies, but the benefits don’t have to end there.

Enterprise social networks, such as Jive, allow integration with today’s advanced video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions. This enables individuals within the agency to identify people they need to communicate and collaborate with via the social network and immediately have face-to-face conversations with them regardless of the distance between the two parties.

By integrating VTC into these enterprise social networks, government agencies can essentially bring employees that are miles apart into the same room, enabling a level of communication and collaboration that the social network couldn’t deliver alone. The agencies can also effectively cut travel budgets by enabling meetings between coworkers and field offices via video, instead of requiring extensive and expensive travel.

The integration of VTC in enterprise social networks can also help agencies share and spread information. Instructional videos, classes, meetings and important messages can be recorded utilizing VTC solutions and the resulting video content can be shared via the social network.

The implementation of enterprise social networks is an incredible way of increasing communication and collaboration within an agency, but there’s a way for agencies to get even more out of their social network investment. By utilizing and integrating VTC solutions with their enterprise social networks, government agencies can slash costs and significantly increase efficiency while benefiting from previously unheard of capabilities.