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  • Posts tagged ‘case study’

    Marketing Collaboration Case Study: Echo360

    Creating a new product category isn’t something that emerges magically from napkins and whiteboards. Not only must the marketing team collaborate effectively, but it requires alignment with sales, continuous feedback from the field and iterative learning for entire organization.

    Socialtext customer Echo360 shares their success in a new case study: Mobilizing the entire team in unison.

    • Limited feedback loops for sales tools and materials
    • No leveraged way to collect meaningful, timey input from the field
    • No effective way for Field Sales to share timely information with each other
    • Socialtext collaboration platform
    • A resource hub for all sales material
    • Living, breathing product FAQs
    • Real-time feedback loops
    • Fast, iterative learning from all directions
    • Learning propagates quickly throughout the organization
    • Greatly improved competitive intelligence, sales & marketing alignment
    • Ability to mobilize the entire team in unison

    For more information about the Socialtext Marketing & Sales Solution, see the CIO Magazine interview with MKTG and contact us.

    ROI of Social Networking for TransUnion

    Internet Evolution interviewed TransUnion CTO John Parkinson about the ROI of Social Networking. It is relatively early in their use of Socialtext, but they are already achieving significant success. Here is the sidebar article, quoted in full:

    Transunion Finds Cost Savings, Seeks More

    Can’t put an ROI on social networking? TransUnion CTO John Parkinson has his: an estimated $2.5 million in savings in less than five months while spending about $50,000 on a social networking platform. The savings comes from buying less stuff. TransUnion is one of the big three credit report companies, and it runs on a lot of custom software code. Instead of buying more gear to improve IT performance, employees are brainstorming ideas across larger groups on the company’s Socialtext platform. “The savings mostly come out of teams that would have historically said, ‘Buy me more hardware’ or ‘I need a new software tool’ or ‘I need more processing capacity,’ who figured out how to solve their problems without asking for any of those things,” says Parkinson.

    While the estimated ROI numbers look promising, Parkinson stresses that wasn’t why TransUnion got started with social networking. He thought it would meet a need for employees, and, just as importantly, “I wanted to defend against too much of this going on in public,” he says.

    TransUnion knew it was time to provide an internal social networking tool when people started asking for permission to set up an employee group inside Facebook. So the company did a quick survey. About 2,000 of its 2,700 employees were using some kind of public social networking tool. Since the company deals in credit reports, it wasn’t keen on employees gathering to talk shop on the public Web. So the IT team set up Socialtext inside the company firewall. Parkinson liked the features of the online network Ning but decided he needed the software on its own network for security.

    The Socialtext platform has profiles, a wiki capability, and instant messaging. Perhaps most powerfully, employees can use it to ask questions of a broad group. People can tune their settings to allow all questions or allow only those from certain groups or people. But all the questions and answers get written to the database. The platform lets people vote on answers they like. It also has tools to analyze which answers people are reading and using to solve problems, and how answers correlate to topics that are most valuable to the company.

    Here’s where this idea gets even more interesting. TransUnion is studying usage data to learn who’s best at solving business problems raised in the social network. With that, it’s experimenting with new job descriptions for a couple of them, so that handling these questions within the forum is a formal part of their role.

    “It was never very clear to us, looking in, who the authoritative sources were, who was good at solving problems,” Parkinson says. “Now we can see a lot of that because we’re starting to see patterns emerge, to see who’s following whom, who’s the good source of questions, who offers good answers. All those things that you sort of know by the grapevine, we now have data for.”

    TransUnion’s Socialtext platform co-exists with Microsoft SharePoint, which has some of the same wiki and networking tools. Parkinson draws the line this way: If an activity is part of a formal process, the collaboration should happen in SharePoint. In bringing on a new customer, for example, many formal steps are involved, and SharePoint has workflow tools that allow for collaboration while making sure the necessary hand-offs happen and the process is completed. “On the other hand, if I want to improve the process of bringing on a customer, I launch a discussion on Socialtext,” Parkinson says.

    Extrapolating on the company’s success so far, he hopes the platform can deliver $5 million to $8 million in total savings this year. The platform only went live in October, and company-wide in January. Will the momentum continue? Will people find uses that are less productive? Parkinson isn’t declaring victory yet, but he likes what he’s seen.

    – Chris Murphy (cjmurphy@techweb.com)

    Cases 2.0 Launched

    During his keynote at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, HBS Professor Andrew McAfee put out a call to create a community for sharing case studies on Enterprise 2.0. After some sharing and prototyping in private, www.cases2.com launched today on a Socialtext wiki. There are five cases so far:

    • Angel.com (MicroStrategy) case study
    • at&t Collaborative Integration
    • Boston College case study
    • Fidelity Investments Collaborative Integration
    • MWW Group case study
    • From Suw Charman’s live blogging of his keynote:

      Need case studies – have a few examples that we fall back on. Our store-houses of success stories needs to expand fairly dramatically if we are going to get traction with decision-makers within companies. What will help them make that decision is verifiable case studies. Need to make sure we don’t keep using the same examples over and over. Mustn’t get into the trap of coming up with impressive ROI numbers for these techs, Lots of these ROI numbers quoted are 200% – 300%, which makes people ask, if these are true then we should be throwing money into buying software. Those numbers have to be suspect. Don’t want us to fall into the trap of coming up with glowing numbers.

      Can talk about what happened, at the anecdote or case study level. These are very persuasive. Not all companies have a rigid ROI view of investments, but what they want is ways to triangulate the quality of investment.

      Need to address this problem, need a repository of information. If and when we do this we need to throw the gates open as widely as possible – should be emergent, widely accessible, and egalitarian. Need to disclose where this information comes from – it’s not automatically suspect when a case study comes from a vendor. Too often, we don’t to basic levels of disclosure, so just need some disclosure rules about who’s putting information up. Wikipedia has an elaborate set of rules, guidelines and policies which have emerged over time. Not sure what they set of ground rules is needed, but we’ll come up with them over time. He volunteers to participate in this effort, what we need is a couple of technologists or vendors to provide environment; perhaps a wiki. Then everyone else throws information up, and structure will emerge over time, as will groundrules, but it would be an invaluable resource for all of us if there’s a repository were we can point decision makers to so they can find valuable information.

      McAfee put out the call for contribution today:

      If you know of an E2.0 case study, please enter any and all details. We don’t care if you were directly involved in the project or not, got paid for it or not, etc. We simply ask that you be as honest and forthcoming as possible, cite sources where available, and disclose your relationship(s) to the companies involved.

      This last point is critical. It’s fine for a vendor or consultant to add information about one of their cases, and it’s fine if that information is not verifiable from objective and/or published sources. It’s essential, though, that contributors correctly and completely identify themselves and their relationships so that readers have the information necessary to make their own judgments about possible biases.

    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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