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  • Share by Default: How to Use Email Effectively with Your Collaboration Platform

    According to a McKinsey report, the average knowledge worker spends 28% of the work week on reading and responding to emails. That’s crazy! Don’t get me wrong, email has its purpose; it’s flexible, it can be part of your workflow, and it’s not going away. However, email shouldn’t be the all purpose communication tool of the office.

    Your collaboration platform should be the central knowledge repository of editable web pages, files, conversations, and essentially anything that could be useful for you, your team, or colleagues you don’t even know yet. Email can help you keep track of which tasks and projects within the knowledge repository need your attention and allow you to alert others if they can help answer questions or need to review a document.rain of mail img

    You still need email for these notifications as well as for communications with those who may be outside of your organization’s collaboration platform (e.g., customers, consultants, etc.). However, if you take a look through your inbox, you’ll probably find never ending threads, many of which you’re unnecessarily included in. When you think of all the useful knowledge trapped inside everyone’s inbox, that is essentially unsearchable by 99.9% of the rest of the organization, you realize why it takes so long to figure out who is the expert on a topic or what the answers are to your complex questions. The bulk of corporate knowledge is invisible and undiscoverable to those who need it.

    I worked for a manufacturing company that made flavorings and all employees had weekly taste tests. It was estimated that it took about 50,000 emails a year just to coordinate people’s schedules. We implemented Socialtext, set up a single editable web page where employees could sign up for time slots each week, and with that one small change, we essentially eliminated 50,000 emails a year. And making the schedule more transparent actually encouraged people to sign up more often when they saw when their friends were signing up.

    Essentially any process that involves multiple employees editing and revising information can be done faster and more easily with social software. You don’t have to keep track of multiple copies of documents or versions or figure out how to pull multiple edits into one document; a good social platform does that for you via revision history. If these are repetitive processes (e.g., organizing monthly events, weekly newsletters, etc.), a social platform enables participation from anyone and can make collaboration more efficient.

    It takes an intentional individual, team, and organizational effort to migrate your attention away from your inbox, and begin doing most of your work within your collaboration platform. You can work all day sending and responding to emails, and that work will be visible to those you’ve communicated with, but will be invisible to 98% of everyone else. Instead, if you do your work transparently within your social platform, your work is visible to and discoverable by almost everyone. That makes finding useful knowledge easier.

    Work transparently, not invisibly. Most communication and knowledge is useful to others. Share by default; use your social platform.

    Learn How Southeastern Railway Achieved Gold-Metal Success with Their Social Intranet

    Can a social intranet dramatically improve operations and productivity in your company? The answer is YES.

    Southeastern Railway

    Chances are you’ve had the experience of waiting on a train platform and the train doesn’t show up or the day is filled with rampant delays and the messaging of what to do next isn’t provided. Imagine having to deal with those transportation scenarios in a city that is hosting the Olympics? Well gleefully those potential nightmares didn’t happen when the city of London hosted the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The UK’s premiere passenger rail service, Southeastern Railway, was operating seamlessly and successfully moved 7.7 million people over 16 days. Southeatern’s stellar achievement is attributed to the implementation and management of Workforce, its social collaboration platform powered by Socialtext technology.

    Download this case study and learn how Southeastern Railway is moving at award-winning pace due to social collaboration across the enterprise.

    Thank You IMM for Real-Time Information Revolution Webinar!

    We want to say thanks again to Wendy Wloszek and Larry Housel of Industrial Mold & Machine (IMM) for another great webinar! They did a fantastic job of revealing how the manufacturing industry is leveraging collaborative tools in a big way, and the ROIs that are being realized with both executives and workers on the shop floor.

    IMM is paving the way for pushing new technologies to make information sharing and communication in an industry that is considered ‘old fashioned’ easier. In a field where the apprentice journeyman relationship is critical for future company success, with use of collaborative integration and mobile access to information, their workplace has been transformed.

    Every employee is equipped with an iPad for access to IMM Connect, their name for the Socialtext platform that resides behind their firewall, enabling information to follow material at all times, which expands IT to the shop floor. The extensive use of Socialtext Page Tracker widgets allows IMM to visualize and coordinate workflow. Now experts and apprentices alike have access to plans and schematics anywhere to streamline the process of editing and adapting to changes. 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.

    They have also integrated new technologies in 3D design software, providing employees with a simplified view into what they are building. Being able to watch shared 3D animations of color coded schematics of molds, makes it that much easier for expertise in the field to spread through their organization.

    Overall, it’s an encouraging story of how enterprise 2.0 along with other technologies can be used to move the needle for workers outside of office buildings on the manufacturing floor.  Watch the webinar, The Real Time Information Revolution – Coming to a Tool Shop Near You, You can see a replay of the Webinar here.

    Also, IMM’s Larry Housel, Head of IT has been nominated as a semifinalist in the Constellation SuperNova Awards! Vote for him to win this prestigious award here.

    Socialtext Invites you to Join Industrial Mold & Machine’s Case Study Webinar

    Industrial Mold & Machine (IMM ) (Twinsburg, Ohio) is one of those companies that works quietly in the background of American business, yet whose work touches the lives of millions of consumers each day. As the name might suggest, the company makes metal moldings for a variety of manufactured products, helping shape things like plastic cups, playhouses, sleds, milk jugs or kitchen utensils (to name just a few).

    When it comes to innovative use of technology and information, Industrial Mold & Machine has become a poster child that many tool shops are now trying to emulate. Since the company has implemented Socialtext into their daily activity flow, it is now paving the way for manufacturing to leverage social in a way that has never been done before.

    According to Larry Housel, Knowledge and Information Manager, Industrial Mold and Machine is using their Socialtext platform to serve its customers faster and better. Since its adoption, Socialtext has reduced their cut time (productivity cycles) by 20% and decreased labor costs by 40%; Benefits that are accelerating their business and turning heads.

    Join this case study webinar and learn how Industrial Mold is able to:

    • Improve shop floor productivity with real-time access to information
    • Eliminate paper-clogged process bottlenecks that slow down production
    • Enhance communication and collaboration throughout the company
    • Bring employees and apprentices up-to-speed with knowledge at their fingertips
    • Utilize social networking to bridge the divide between office and shop floor workers
    • Elevate productivity, quality, and responsiveness to customers

    Presenters include:

    Wendy Wloszek, President

    A seventeen year industry veteran, Wendy Wloszek started her career with Industrial Mold & Machine as a Mold Designer, then promoted to Engineering Manager and progressing to Head of Operations before assuming the role of President. Wendy has been a driving force behind the company’s extensive adoption of cutting edge technologies to streamline information flows and production processes. Wendy is also a Board member of AMBA (American Mold Builders Association) and MAPP (Manufacturing Association of Plastics Processors) and a sought-after speaker at industry events.

    Larry Housel, Head of IT

    Larry Housel is a visionary technology leader who is passionate about leveraging information to give organizations a competitive advantage. Throughout his career, Larry has worked with a range of businesses to deliver LEAN concepts into information systems. While at Industrial Mold, Larry has championed a transformation of the company’s approach to information technology, propelling Industrial Mold into a leadership position in its industry and beyond.

    Socialtext and Southeastern Take the Gold for Service during 2012 Olympics

    When I first started working with Southeastern Railway leading up to the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games, the energy was as exuberant as the opening ceremonies. So when Socialtext and Southeastern Railway put Workmate(Southeastern’s social Intranet) to work, around the clock, they were ready to provide stellar service to the thousands of people that flocked to the Games. When the results were in, Southeastern took Gold delivering a fully efficient and convenient transportation system over 16 days, that serviced 7.7 million Olympians, visitors, game workers, officials and locals.

    “Sharing knowledge and information quickly and accurately was vital for the successful delivery of transport services during the Games,” said Rupert Atterbury Thomas, Communications Manager at Southeastern Railway. “The Workmate platform allowed this to happen far more effectively than email or our previous static intranet.”

    Workmate enabled Southeastern to provide seamless and resourceful service for roughly 25% more passengers than on a normal day.

    By leveraging Workmate, Southeastern was able to ensure success in a number of ways:

    • Provided employees with a daily factsheet during the Games that helped keep them informed about daily activities and expectations.
    • Provided employees with pre-Olympic training manuals.
    • Aided travel coordinators to locate and help passengers that required assistance.
    • Provided real-time ability to communicate daily via its activity stream (signals).
    • Provided the visibility of up-to-the-minute train schedules.
    • Provided passengers with immediate updates that helped get them to their destinations on time and without confusion.

    During the first week alone, 10,156 logins to Workmate were recorded which was a 10% increase from the week prior to the Games. The amount of signals sent doubled and page views increased by 700% all due to Olympic-related information on the site. Incredible!

    6 Tips for Pushing Adoption Through the Roof

    So, you’re a seasoned IT leader and you’ve finalized your decision to deploy a leading enterprise social media platform that is aimed at transforming the way your company does business. The C-levels are onboard and eager to jump in (or so they hint), the newbies / recent grads can’t wait to work the way they are accustomed to…..but then there’s the rest of the crew – the majority that are already overwhelmed with the latest technology advancements and the grind of everyday tasks. They chant in unison: “No more new stuff,” as you cringe behind your desk.

    In the past, commonly used excuses for not implementing an enterprise 2.0 platform included, ”People over 30 just don’t get social networking and “Workers aren’t comfortable with transparency.” Another obstacle we’ve heard is “Social media doesn’t deliver real business value and can waste a lot of employee time” as mentioned in the bookThe Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees.  As research shows, companies are jumping past their fear of change and tossing these myths out the window. Experts such as Chief Strategy Officer, Peter Kim of the Dachis Group says, “Social business is huge, and it’s not going away.”  It is clear that bringing social software into the corporate workplace is rising as companies are realizing the true cost value. That value can manifest itself in numerous production efficiencies and cost savings. In the case of Socialtext client, McKesson, their Physician Practice Solutions support center was able to experience a dramatic 67% decrease in average speed to answer from 33 to 11 minutes. One reason for their results was their ability to leverage Socialtext as a better way to provide answers and information to their support personnel.

    Now that you’ve assessed the benefits, moved past any obstacles and are committed to making the social software plunge, the question is, how are you going to get people to use it? The word adoption, despite its positive benefits, can cause stress. No matter how you look at it, adoption means work; but that work doesn’t have to be hard when adoption fundamentals are embraced.

    Let’s back up a bit. Before you can plan your adoption strategy, the first step is to choose the software that is best suited for your users so that adoption will be welcomed. This Brainyard article - Enterprise Social Networks: Must-Have Features Guide - is a good resource that highlights a variety of features and options.

    Once you’ve selected your enterprise 2.0 software, create a roadmap so that your adoption is a fluid process.

    The Adoption Strategy:

    Here are six areas to focus on according to industry veteran and Socialtext, CCO Michael Idinopulos.

    1.      Make sure your champion team is in place. Champions are people within your company that will eventually become your triggers to user engagement. Choose champions that represent different aspects of your company, are team leaders, or who are passionate about being part of a project that will be highly visible. Since this is a huge but very rewarding venture, these people can streamline the process when each has a defined task.

    2.      Launch with a bang and replace your intranet with a vibrant social dashboard. This opening page can house everything including all company forms, new hire info, suggestion boxes, competitive intelligence, calendar events, C-level blogs, the company directory and more bringing accessibility to information one click away.

    3.      Create engagement with hands-on activities for new users. The first could be filling in their profile with personal info, photos, professional experiences, areas of expertise, interests and more. These profiles can identify potential project members with specific skill sets or interests. It can also replace the company directory as a more dynamic social profile and communications platform.

    4.      Focus on ongoing activities. Practice makes perfect and shifting daily routines to the social intranet will help users ease into usage where they’ll be social without even knowing it. Suggestions include, sharing company news via microblogging (signals); posting interesting articles and useful materials through the activity stream; posting meeting agendas and notes prior to the meeting; taking notes live directly in the wiki; and creating Q&A forums about products, services, processes and more.

    5.      Integrate existing systems of record into the flow of work. A social enterprise platform should allow you to pull information from third party applications and external websites as well as build proprietary widgets that tie into your own internal systems. Using APIs to enable custom integration that automatically imports data to wiki pages from internal systems of records such as your company directory, company intranet, document management systems (Sharepoint, RSS feeds), CRM systems and even email, will automatically increase adoption.

    6.      Leverage the community by bringing them into the conversation. Your platform should allow for an infrastructure that lets users create an active community. Take the first step by posting ideas, questions and tips that have worked for you. This would also be a good project for your champion team. Learning from your peers provides insight and knowledge that can move any organization forward into positive results.

    Overall, you want to take the “stress” out of the process. With a plan in place, it’s also important to let the adoption process unfold organically. Too much too soon can overwhelm employees and slow up usage. As people determine they are benefitting, they become more engaged and usage goes up. At this point they are more open to exploring other areas within your platform. When enterprise social software is placed in the flow of work, software gets adopted. With a strong plan and team eager to embrace this challenge, you will have the confidence you need to watch your adoption go through the roof.

    For a more detailed analysis of how to increase social software adoption, download our free whitepaper, 6 Steps to Drive Social Software Adoption.

    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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