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  • Posts tagged ‘intranets’

    Move Over Intranets: The Blue Man Group’s Collaborative Workspace is the Shiznet

    As a growing number of companies can attest, traditional intranets have become irrelevant. Some employees have started using external social channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to set up workspace groups to share information, have group chats in real-time and ultimately get their work done in one location. They also turn to channels, such as YouTube to get information and expert guidance that is simple to find and even easier to consume.

    Intranets may have had their day, but too many become information graveyards containing out-of-date, poorly organized documents and other resources. Traditional portals are also not segmented by user, forcing employees to sort through materials that aren’t relevant to their jobs. And typical intranets may not allow for conversation strings, which forces timely exchanges to take place on other external channels. The final nail in the coffin is intranets that are not mobile-ready.

    Today’s social workspace should mirror the functionality, collaborative nature and ease-of-use of popular social media sites—organized, configurable to users’ needs and accessible 24/7 through any digital device. More importantly, collaborative hubs encourage greater employee engagement and strengthen your organization’s business goals and strategies.

    Discover how collaborative workspaces are superior to traditional intranets.One great example of a truly powerful collaborative workspace is BlueMan Group’s Shiznet social intranet. The Blue Man Group theatrical show has skyrocketed into a vibrant global brand with productions in 11 worldwide locations and experienced by more than 17 million people.  However, they knew there was a problem of collaborating with over 500 employees and 50 blue men. They had an outdated intranet and knew it was time to replace it with a social collaborative platform for four compelling reasons:

    1. Accelerate real-time innovation and knowledge sharing: Social collaboration platforms provide knowledge sharing capabilities so employees can obtain needed job skills and immediately adapt them to their everyday work. Leveraging collective knowledge also fosters innovation and bolsters employee engagement by unleashing the intelligence and creativity of internal teams. Blue Man Group’s Shiznet is the Creative Cauldron, a workspace that was developed specifically for “Blue Men” to collaborate on new show ideas and brainstorm on bringing ideas to life. The Creative Cauldron has served as a launch pad for new show ideas, stunts and creative content.
    2. Encourage informal learning: An effective social intranet allows employees to easily access informal learning tools in their moment of need. The Shiznet also acts as a central repository for the hundreds of videos, audio and digital assets that are regularly used and created by the Blue Man Group. From the latest production stills to commercials, anyone within the organization can easily locate, tag, access and share content within The Shiznet. This allows the company to centralize its creative assets into a single repository, streamlining the ability to save and distribute informal media assets.
    3. Digital Connection In today’s world, no technology is complete if it is not mobile-friendly – the same is true for a social Intranet. Organizations need to ensure that their enterprise collaboration workspace is accessible on devices, such as smartphones, tablets and other digital devices. Through these technologies, employees can communicate and share resources 24/7, remaining connected and strengthening internal collaborative communities.
    4. Showcase and utilize your internal experts: While it is a good thing that employees are doing their own research, it can also be unfortunate when they learn tactics, skills and habits that run counter to organizational culture and strategy. Having a powerful enterprise social collaboration platform provides easy access to internal experts, who will put the right skills and knowledge at employees’ fingertips.

    If your company is looking to gain a competitive advantage, an updated social workspace is key. It leverages internal knowledge, ensures resources are in alignment with company culture and strategy, and keeps your employees engaged and loyal to your organization.

    Where Is Everybody? Moving Intranets from Static to Social

    Making corporate intranets social is the main theme of Socialtext 4.6, which we announced today. The focus originated from my favorite source of insight: Our customers. I love it when they hit you over the head with use cases that emerge inside their companies.

    Starting several months ago, we noticed an exciting pattern amidst many of newer customers: Their usage and adoption rates were accelerating on a curve previously unseen by us, or, frankly, most Enterprise 2.0 use cases for that matter.

    Interestingly, several of these customers didn’t have grandiose plans of transforming their intranet. They merely sought to leverage social software to solve specific pain points their businesses faced. They were engaging in what our VP of customer success, Michael Idinopulos, would refer to as “In the flow of work” collaboration. They also wanted to eliminate knowledge and information silos that hampered business performance. In one case, the head of worldwide sales tasked about 200 people from his team, product marketing, and sales ops to improve training materials and product launches. In another case, we saw a broad, horizontal deployment to modernize knowledge sharing across disparate teams and functions.

    But after launching these focused deployments, word spread fast.


    Other employees looked at their intranets and realized what it was missing: People.

    Pretty soon, employees outside the targeted usage groups at these companies started asking why they couldn’t have the same easy-to-use social applications in their intranet. Why did they have to tolerate the static, frustrating, and out-of-date intranet that was in place?

    We’ve seen two results from their requests. Some of our customers have actually replaced the front door to their intranet with Socialtext – particularly with Socialtext Dashboard as the starting point. Dashboard allows people to not only access tools within Socialtext to connect with colleagues and share content, but they can also access other systems, applications and sites across their company. Others, though it wasn’t their intention at the onset, scrapped their intranet entirely and moved to Socialtext. These customers have transformed the look and feel of their intranet by injecting social patterns into it. Employees can share via microblogging, self-publish through blogs, collaborate on wikis, and form groups across organizational boundaries.

    Meanwhile, my team also noticed a trend in the language used by our sales prospects. They began hearing phrases like “Our intranet stinks” or “No one can find anything in our intranet.” Just yesterday, I talked with the CIO of a large company who said, “We call our intranet ‘The Junk Drawer.’” Last month, we did a webinar called “Your Social Intranet – The Place Where Work Gets Done.” During the event, we ran a fun contest to see who could propose the funniest David Letterman-style “Top 10 ways you know your Intranet needs updating.” The visceral and sarcastic nature of the submissions we received speaks volumes about people’s frustration with current intranets. (More on that in future posts.)

    So the new features that we’ve rolled up into Socialtext 4.6 are really the result of focusing our development and innovation through this lens – helping make your intranet more social. We’re doing as much as we can to make PEOPLE be a first-class object in your intranet. As a result, we can make the intranet be a place where people go to get work done together — not just a place to try to find information, documents, and application links.

    Are You Ready To Make Your Intranet Social?

    During yesterday’s Making Your Intranet Social webinar , Socialtext CEO Eugene Lee asked attendees to submit their ideas for the “Top 10 Reasons You Know You Need To Update Your Intranet.” We received more than 100, fantastic submissions, and the winner (see below) will receive an Apple iPad and the two runner-ups Socialtext t-shirts. The ideas included references to Star Trek, Facebook, Post-It-Notes, Liquid Paper, blinking text, the water cooler, even Dionne Warwick and the Psychic Friends Network!

    After a long review, I present you with the top ten as voted on by my fellow Socialtexters:

    Top 10 Reasons You Know You Need To Update Your Intranet:
    10. The most common question about it is “What Intranet?”
    9. Today employees just look for the cafeteria lunch menu
    8. The CEO was given upgrade suggestions from their 5th grader
    7. The employee directory still lists job titles from 6 years ago
    6. You want to level the playing field between the introverts and extroverts
    5. Your organization has more silos than on all of the farms in the state of Vermont
    4. There are more servers under employees’ desks running wikis and blogs than in the server room
    3. When you click on the link to open it, you hear “No, I’m sorry, Dave. I cannot do that …”
    2. The CFO thought microblogging was cheaper than blogging
    1. You’re not popular on Facebook but maybe you could be a corporate collaboration hero

    Think you have a better one? Then share it with us in the comments section below.

    We asked the same question internally and here are some of our own ideas:

    • To change anything you need to launch DreamWeaver
    • A common search result is “Your guess is as good as mine”
    • The amount of “forgot password” requests exceeds actual log-ins
    • Your still searching for the right person via org charts
    • There is a logo that says “Download Internet Explorer 4.0 now!”
    • Profile pictures are in ASCII art
    • PROFS is one of the menu options
    • 404 page says “Powered by Apache 0.8. Copyright 1998. All Rights Reserved”

    While this was all in good fun, the fact is that many organizations are in serious need of an intranet upgrade. Some of yesterday’s participants shared with us the real reasons they are looking to update their intranet:

    • Because taxonomies don’t solve problems, people do
    • So that we can work and communicate more effectively
    • An intranet without social is like a phone without a dial tone… missing its true potential
    • We are going social to get out of our silos, collaborate, find info faster, connect with experts
    • We need our intranet to be more social so that we can leverage our global capabilities and reach our full collective potential
    • To help new employees who may not know something like how to book projectors or where to find specialists – they could quickly ask a colleague rather than sitting at their desks feeling despondent
    • A more dynamic intranet with help us turn the “light bulb” into a spot light

    For more information, a recorded playback of yesterday’s webinar is available. Are you ready to have Socialtext turn your intranet into a compelling and strategic corporate tool?

    Socialtext – Where work gets done. Together.

    Forrester Webinar: Socialtext Customer American Hospital Association To Share Experiences Building a Social Intranet

    Corporate intranets have been around for years, but is your company’s intranet as effective as you would like it to be? Is the content up to date? Are people easily able to find relevant colleagues and information?

    In recent years, organizations have been embracing social software platforms to build a vibrant, social intranet spanning the whole enterprise. With easy to use social networking tools that mirror the experience they have on the consumer web, the intranet is becoming the place where work gets done. People can easily share information, freshen content and connect with colleagues in real-time. By integrating this social intranet with existing business systems, this is resulting in better communication and collaboration across departmental boundaries.

    Next Wednesday (January 26), Socialtext customer the American Hospital Association (AHA) will share its experiences in deploying a social intranet enterprise wide in a webinar co-hosted with Forrester Research. AHA CIO Jack MacKay will highlight key motivations for deploying a social intranet, including what the business challenges were, what benefits they have achieved, and how they are integrating it with existing business processes and systems.

    In addition, Forrester senior analyst Tim Walters will begin the webinar by highlighting key industry trends that have brought the social intranet to the forefront of many IT initiatives. Socialtext CEO Eugene Lee will serve as moderator, and there will be a time for Q&A with the audience members afterward.

    Please sign up for this free event, and we hope to see as many of you on as possible!

    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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