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  • With Social Collaboration, Knowledge is Power

    During Socialtext’s latest webinar, Moving Beyond the Knowledge Base to Social Knowledge Exchange, participants were given a first-hand look at how knowledge management is evolving with the advent of social and collaborative technologies. Kate Leggett, Principal Analyst with Forrester Research, discussed key industry trends and provided insight into the future of enterprise social tools. Sarah Nichols, Director of Knowledge Management at ClimateWorks, illustrated how the adoption of a social intranet has provided a more efficient internal knowledge exchange.

    It’s no secret that times have significantly changed. Employees now have access to their work from laptops, smartphones and even tablets, in addition to a traditional desktop computer. This has essentially created a ‘mobile employee,’ who expects to get tasks done in an efficient and streamlined manner, regardless of their location.

    Diverse and fragmented applications in use across enterprises have created a “spaghetti network” of silo’d technologies that pose a barrier to the kind of streamlined workflows employees expect. As a result, it is essential that companies integrate these systems of record with new systems of engagement to achieve true social knowledge exchange. ClimateWorks is a perfect example, as it has done this through strategic implementation of CWKX (ClimateWorks’ social intranet) on the Socialtext platform to ensure maximum productivity gains.

    As knowledge management and collaboration come together to create social knowledge, it is producing quantifiable benefits, which are measured by increases in efficiency and productivity. Yet, the following are still required to gain traction:

    1. Yield quantifiable business results
    2. It has to be vital to an employee’s job
    3. It must gain critical mass within an organization

    Sarah Nichols has put the social knowledge theory to work at ClimateWorks, a foundation made up of a global network of non-profits, numbering 500+ user base. The goal was to learn and share knowledge faster and in a more efficient manner throughout the network, which has been achieved by utilizing the CWKX platform as a collaboration space, internal media outlet, and a document management platform. Specifically with the document management feature, ClimateWorks saved $13,000 by provide a digital booklet about the company, as opposed to printing it for everyone on the staff.

    Using CWKX to obtain information and collaborate through preexisting workflows has provided numerous benefits to the network. From multidirectional communication to a central repository for files, creation and information, the social intranet demonstrates visible and tangible results since its implementation. For example, within the first three months of a departmental beta test, there was a 37% reduction in interdepartmental email traffic, and that same department cut its weekly meeting time in half due to the consistent collaboration and communication already taking place on a daily basis via CWKX.

    Not only does effective knowledge sharing enable a better connected enterprise, it also helps to attract talent, build revenue and inspire innovation. Static document sharing no longer applies in today’s real-time socially connected world. To generate success it is critical that enterprises leverage social platforms and tap into the collective mindshare of the entire organization, enabling access to knowledge not only under one roof but connecting on a global scale.

    You can listen to the recorded webinar by registering here.

    Live Webinar: Moving Beyond the Knowledge Base to Social Knowledge Exchange

    On August 29th, Socialtext is teaming up with leading analyst firm Forrester Research and partner ClimateWorks, for a live webinar titled: Moving Beyond the Knowledge Base to Social Knowledge Exchange.

    Knowledge sharing continues to evolve within enterprises. In a day-in-age where efficient internal collaboration is crucial to help attract new talent, build company revenue and inspire innovation, the companies that recognize this and continue to push boundaries of knowledge management will maintain their position as industry leaders with a competitive advantage.

    As we embark on regular use of new collaborative social tools, more and more companies will see less of a need for a system of content platform and static document sharing. Instead, having the ability to communicate in real-time has become the norm and enables employees to not only achieve more connectedness under one corporate roof, but connect on a global scale.

    In this webinar, leading Forrester expert Kate Leggett will begin the conversation by providing industry trends and insights on the future of the social knowledge exchange. She will be joined by Sarah Nichols, director of knowledge management at ClimateWorks, which is a foundation dedicated to supporting public policies that prevent dangerous climate change.

    ClimateWorks is an example of successful adoption of social tools and has leveraged its social intranet to:

    • Create a central services portal that connects its global network of non-profits
    • Connect systems of record to systems of engagement
    • Develop innovative UX search and content discovery mechanisms
    • Apply best practices to increase intranet adoption and usage.

    Be sure to join us on August 29th at 10:00 a.m. PT/ 1:00 p.m. ET to learn more about how your company can benefit from implementing a social strategy. Register to save your spot today.

    Business-Software.com interviews Michael Idinopulos

    Our CCO, Michael Idinopulos recently spoke with Deniz Kuypers of Business-Software.com about the history of Socialtext and evolution of social software.  A lot has changed since those early days but our vision of helping people do their jobs better has stayed the same.  Here at Socialtext, we have remained committed to putting social in the everyday flow of work.  That means integrating social into other systems of record and critical documentation so that people will turn to their social intranet to get work done.

    Is it time to rewrite the email handbook?

    Email has become quite the hot-button topic of late with companies proclaiming an end to their internal emails and a move to social platforms and why not?  Let’s be frank, email kind of sucks – we are bombarded by an average of 112 emails every day with 19% of that considered spam despite filters. It’s also a time drain, hard to keep track of, and often clogged. French IT company Atos Origin is on its way to banning email altogether. According to CEO, Thierry Breton, who has not sent an email in over three years, “We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives.

    While email is not likely to make its exit from the professional landscape anytime soon – there is a better way to wean your company away from this costly distraction.

    Enterprise social networks (ESNs) are on the rise as they can deliver an immediate solution for aligning stakeholders around activity streams with the familiarity of Twitter or Facebook.”

    —Brian Solis, Altimeter Group

    Although email is still very useful in some situations, an activity stream is simply better for most as it simplifies the communication process and creates transparency that can then open up new ideas. It is also a solution that delivers a social on-line experience that is familiar, easy to use (we love that!) and engaging to employees. Email messaging will start to dwindle and eventually become a thing of the past.

    An activity stream like Socialtext Signals can bring you out of the email doldrums and into an invigorating work experience. Think of a Signal as an email in the flow of work. With Signals, you share information in real time. Signals are similar to “status updates” with additional benefits where you can share information with everyone in the company, a group or directly to an individual. Instead of sifting through emails for information, if you or a co-worker need to retrieve that information, you can easily find it through a keyword search. Being copied and bcc’d is also a drag and cumbersome. But if that message were sent via Signals, you could tell instantly relevance to you and whether you need to react, without the pile up in your inbox. Doesn’t that feel better already?

    The power of Signals is that it also opens up an organization to endless possibilities.  For instance, when employees learn about products that are in the works in other departments, they now have the opportunity to add to the project or give feedback. If this information were sent via an email to a select few, someone with direct knowledge or expertise may never have the opportunity to contribute. With Signals, messaging is spread out laterally and not just from the top down. When new team members are brought in, everyone can say “hi” with a message or warm greeting. That action translates into a welcoming reward that enhances a company’s culture. These and other benefits of using a tool like Signals simplifies getting work done rather than detracting from it. With Signals you can watch your inbox decline and focus on what really matters.

    Here’s a new approach.  Let’s rewrite the email handbook and develop best practices for communications optimization and reducing the clutter in our dreaded inboxes. Here’s a start to outlining the 10 biggest complaints we hear about email and the benefits to using an activity stream such as Signals:

    Email vs Signals
    Unnecessary CCing, BCCing   Transparency, Only Read What You Need, More Time
    Time Consuming Message Sifting   Easy Search, Tagging, Filters
    Overuse Of Reply-To-All   Transparency and tagging ensures visibility across teams and relevant participation
    Information Locked Away In A Silos   Visibility across teams, Distributed Knowledge,
    Information Retrieval Issues   Easy Search, Tagging, Filters
    Limited Collaborative Process   Open Collaborative Process
    Content Duplication   No More Reinventing the Wheel
    Document Versioning Issues   Facility to online workspaces where versions are easily compared
    Lack Of Institutional Knowledge Sharing With The Right People   Easy Access To Information, Ability To Share Openly And Selectively
    Creative Ideas That Will Never See The Light Of Day   Creative Ideas That Are Shared

    Missing anything? Let us know what we left out and how activity streams and Signals are making your workplace flow in an effective and impactful way and of course re-writing the email handbook.

    Social Onboarding Today, Happy Employees for Years to Come

    Last week, PeopleFluent and Socialtext joined forces to present a webinar, From Warm-up to Winner’s Podium: Social Onboarding Goes for the Gold, revealing the evolution of onboarding and its journey from administrative necessity to a strategic tool for long-term talent acquisition and retention.

    As social software has become more commonly adopted throughout enterprises, companies are beginning to leverage these technologies to help new employees in ways that provide learning, mentorship, and peer engagement. As prospective hires become employees, its the first 45 days of employment that are the most critical – when almost a quarter of staff turnover happens.

    That’s why the evolution of Onboarding to Social Onboarding is so key.  Social tools can be used to streamline the processes associated with bringing on a new hire and provide a better overall experience. It’s an experience that promises very tangible business benefits in the form of reduced training time, quicker time to productivity, lower employee churn and higher levels of engagement all of which  significantly contribute to strengthening the company culture.

    Social onboarding is the process in which new employees acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members. Historically, this has included the necessary administrative steps such as filling out forms, selecting benefits and getting access to new hire information, as well as getting an introduction to the company and its unique culture.  Having new hires adapt to their new role and engage with co-workers quicker provides companies’ with a greater chance to hold onto their new employees. Not to mention, there is also is a direct correlation to higher levels of innovation and creativity with clearly communicated business objectives and an engaged workforce.

    “Now, new hires can come to one place to easily find information to help them be successful in their days on the job,” says Kate Rash, manager of learning and development with Getty Images. Additionally, a formal onboarding process increases the likelihood of a new hire staying with the company after three years by 58%.

    Socializing your onboarding process with a flexible, dynamic platform that helps to guide new employees through the process is key.  What we’ve learned from our clients such as Getty Images, Acumen Fund, Accolo and many others is that it must be:

    • Visually appealing: Leverage traditional marketing methods such as advertising to call attention to areas that you want to get noticed, or even provide a “call to action” that steers employees in the right direction
    • Engage early: Ask for feedback, institute a new employee survey to gauge effectiveness, ensure you have a team available to engage in conversations and use a tool like Socialtext 360 which makes it easy for new hires to connect with like-minded employees or internal thought-leaders sharing interests in or outside of work.
    • Findable: Provide quick access to necessary documentation, benefits and other work related needs.   Incorporating a search function as well as tagging capabilities will also improve information findability greatly.
    • Interactive:  Activity streams such as Signals are a great way to introduce new hires to the company culture.  By seeing the conversations taking place, they will learn trending topics, most active people, and learn through social interactions and collaborate with ease and comfort, regardless of location.

    To see the webinar slides, check them out here.

    Implementing an effective social onboarding process that maps against a new hire’s first 30, 60, 90 days and integrates into the flow of their work has great benefits for new hires, productivity, and the company as a whole. With major shifts on the horizon to US workforce demographics and the ubiquity of Social interactions, it is more critical than ever to apply Social Onboarding techniques to take your enterprise into the future.

    To view the recorded webinar and learn how your enterprise can benefit from Gold Medal Social Onboarding, register here.

    A Q&A with our newest hire, Mark Oehlert

    Socialtext is ramping up its team and with that we’ve got a whole new crop of new hires we’re excited to welcome aboard.  These newbies bring with them some impressive pedigrees and we thought you’d enjoy getting to know them as much as we have.  Going forward, we’ll be featuring all of our new hires with a blog post that asks the same questions of all.  Here’s what our newest CSD (Customer Success Director), Mark Oehlert had to say:

    Mark Oehlert & Gambit

    What appealed to you most about coming to work for Socialtext?

    I’ve been involved with and talking and writing about “social media” for years, before it was known as social media. I’ve always kind of worked on the side of the table where you are convincing people to try it. What I am excited about is the chance to work with people who have already made that decision and who are moving forward. I really want to help them find the way that makes sense to them but also maybe explore some ideas about social media that they haven’t thought of before. I also happen to respect the people at Socialtext a great deal and I believe in the product…I’ve never been a pure vendor before…representing one product…it was critical for me to make that move to a company whose product I not only respected but had also used.

    What were you doing prior to joining Socialtext?

    Before coming to Socialtext, I was a consultant or a contractor depending on what you want to call it…you work with clients, helping them in lots of ways, implementing systems like Learning Management Systems, Content Management Systems, and so on, I’ve also helped clients with strategic planning, looking at how to use advanced/emerging technologies that sort of thing. I’ve also been a federal civilian working for the Department of Defense…that was interesting to sit on that side of the table, I learned a lot from that experience.

    What will you be doing for Socialtext?

    That’s an awesome question! My focus will be first making sure that all of federal government clients are well taken care of. I think my experience both as  a federal civilian and a government consultant will help me relate to and assist Socialtext’s government clients in a very positive way. Understanding that we are in a growth mode and in changing environment I also hope I’ll be able to help with things like building some additional professional services since I’m deeply convinced that the problems facing successful social media implementations inside an enterprise are overwhelmingly human and organizational and not technological. I might also poke my nose into marketing and product development if that’s possible.

    What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?

    Extrovert. Synthesizer. Curious.

    What do you do in your free time?

    I don’t understand your question. Kidding. What’s really weird is that I do a lot of the same things I do at “work.” I mean I love to run, play video games, train for the Tough Mudder and take tons of pictures with my iPhone but I also read a ton of stuff about enterprise 2.0, about new technologies, about the impact of technology on culture, I tweet incessantly, blog occasionally, love a good microbrew and the UFC.

    What’s has been the most fun moment of working for Socialtext so far?

    I’ve got two. One was finding out I was hired and that meant that I’d get to work with and learn from Michael Idinopulos, someone I respect a great deal and second, finding out that I was going to get to go right into working with one of our big government clients right off the bat and help them really launch Socialtext inside their organization – that was very cool.

    Free Webinar July 26 – Social Onboarding Goes for the Gold

    We’re excited to announce our upcoming webinar with sister company Peoplefluent, Social Onboarding Goes for the Gold.  Introducing new hires into the company and helping them get up to speed on benefits, company processes and relevant information is one of the most important things that can ensure their success and growth.

    Today’s new hires have higher expectations and are accustomed to having information, people and resources at their fingertips. Gone are the days of employee binders, static directories, and lengthy orientations. Getting them trained and actively engaged is key to not only their success but to your business bottom line.  In today’s world where content lives and dies in a manner of weeks, its more important than ever to provide a platform that can not only serve as a central repository to key new hire information, but can also be dynamic and engaging. This is where leveraging a social collaboration platform such as Socialtext can help.

    Register for our webinar today and learn best practices as well as  new ideas for how to socially supercharge your onboarding and Go for the gold.

    Social Transformation Webinar, the Wrap-Up…

    In the latest Socialtext webinar, Social Transformation: Accelerating Industry at the Pace of Social, we sat down with esteemed author and principal MIT research scientist, Andrew McAfee. We also had the pleasure of bringing in the President of Industrial Mold and Machine (IMM), Wendy Wloszek, accompanied by Head of IT, Larry Housel. This session addressed the impact of social collaboration and communications technologies on the modern industrial landscape, and an exciting illustration of its successes with an in-depth testimony from Industrial Mold.

    As one of most influential IT innovators, and recent author of The Race Against The Machine, Andrew McAfee took the time to dive into how the regime change to Enterprise 2.0 alleviates a deep knowledge problem that has held companies back. According to McAfee, “Up until the 2.0 era, there was not a lot of headway on solving this problem.” Technologies in place were too structured, centered around documents rather than people. Enterprise 2.0 was designed to accommodate a simple yet effective alternative for business needs, enabling easy navigation and attractive usability for employees to get work done.

    “Humans are deeply social creatures, and should use technology to build a digital glue among people. Changing the philosophies of the workplace, and views of a knowledge worker to be more social and mobile, is very powerful and shows significantly better business results. “

    Companies now have the ability to work outside of the cubicle and, although physically distant, have a platform to be more connected than ever and share knowledge with everyone in a simple way. As McAfee states, this allows workers to “draw on the strengths of everyone,” as well as “convert tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge through dialogue and sharing original experience.”

    View more presentations from Socialtext

    IMM shared their story about how they leveraged Socialtext to address and improve core communication issues on the production floor, validating the viewpoint shared by Andrew McAfee and all of us at Socialtext; that social collaboration works!

    The challenge at IMM was keeping IT simple for the workers, allowing apprentices to connect with their experienced leaders and facilitating teamwork with digital collaboration.  This video shot by the team at IMM shows just how immersed in the production process social software has become.

    Additionally, the platform provides the infrastructure for IMM to train the next generation of apprentices, which is nothing short of imperative in this line of work. According to President Wendy Wloszek:

    Collaboration is how you turn an underperforming employee into a companies’ asset, creating a system where everyone can be a winner within. We always try to view the uninformed or unskilled as a challenge to create an environment where they can be successful. Converting the expertise of industry veterans into information that can be redistributed to others in need of it has been area that we have had success since implementing Socialtext.

    Overall it’s a fascinating story of how enterprise 2.0 technologies can be used to move the needle for industry and workers outside of office buildings and on the shop floor.  Watch the webinar and hear for yourself by registering here.

    Socialtext Headed to Enterprise 2.0 Boston

    Enterprise 2.0, 2012’s big event is coming up and we’re excited to come to Boston next week June 18-21, to connect with our industry’s best practioners and advocates.  In addition to a big announcement we’ll be making at the show, our CEO Eugene Lee will be making a guest appearance on a panel called “Innovation versus Integration” in  Room 311 on  June 19, 2:30pm led by Oliver Marks that will tackle the issue of how enterprise 2.0 solutions are changing the role of HR in company innovation.

    Please be sure to stop by our booth for a product demo, to meet our team members from Socialtext and Peoplefluent, and pick up some of the cool giveaways we’ll have at the booth.  We’re at booth 307.  If you still haven’t made arrangements for attending, please Use priority code “E2Boston” or click here for a $500 discount on conference pass or for a free expo pass.

    Social Transformation: Accelerating Industry At The Pace Of Social

    Leading up to the Enterprise2.0 Boston Conference, Socialtext will be hosting a free live webinar on June 6th at 10am PDT. The webinar, Social Transformation: Accelerating Industry at the Pace of Social, features E 2.0 Keynote speaker Andrew McAfee, whose new book, Race Against the Machine parallels the experiences and successes of Socialtext client, Industrial Mold. This is a unique story as while social software usage has grown tremendously among the traditional enterprise and businesses workforce, it has not yet been fully leveraged in the industrial landscape or other more traditional industries.

    Why and how would an assembly line worker or machinist benefit from such a tool? Can a social software platform really reinvigorate an embattled industry sector and keep jobs close to home?

    For Industrial Mold, the connection of information to the manufacturing floor is essential. Yet until implementing social software, that information was primarily stored in the heads of expert mold makers (a highly skilled yet aging workforce) with little to no connection between the front office and the manufacturing process.  The executive team at Industrial Mold knew there was a better way to connect information with the manufacturing process as well as create an environment that would appeal to new recruits. With goals of serving their customers faster and better,  Larry Housel, Industrial Mold’s Knowledge and Information Manager, looked into software systems that could transform their workplace. With employees residing both in offices as well as the shop floor, Larry and his team wanted a central easily searchable place for where order information, learning and training materials could be accessed.  It was also important  to be able to ask questions of peers, and share information with the company openly.

    Leveraging human capital with technology innovation is now necessary in the industrial workplace as “Organizational and institutional innovations can recombine human capital with machines to create broad based productivity growth, ” as noted in Race Against the Machine.

    In this webinar, we’ll be hearing from leading E2.0 expert Andrew McAfee about the intersection of technology and human capital and directly from Industrial Mold executives about how they’ve applied Race Against the Machine strategies to see significant impact to their business KPI’s as well as serving as a recruitment vehicle for a younger workforce.

    Join us on Wednesday, June 6th at 10am PDT for this free webinar to learn more.

    About This Blog

    Weblog on gaining business results from social software.

    On this blog, Socialtext staffers and customers explore how companies can gain the most business value from their use of enterprise social software, including microblogging, social networking, filtered activity streams, widget-based dashboards, blogs and wikis.

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    From Warm-up to Winner’s Podium: Social Onboarding Goes for the Gold

    Free Recorded Webinar with Peoplefluent

    Join Socialtext and Peoplefluent as we discuss how Social Onboarding can help your business get new hires engaged and working faster!