“Every time someone plans to send an e-mail or completes a phone call, I want them to ask themselves: ‘Could someone else benefit from this information?’” says John Atherton, Vice President of Solutions Consulting & Knowledge Management at GT Nexus who championed The Grid. “I’m a big believer in explicit versus tacit knowledge, and the importance of getting more knowledge to be explicit — in this case, using enterprise social software to do it. This is true for both internal and external knowledge pools alike.”
Using Socialtext Signals, a secure enterprise microblogging tool, GT Nexus employees can keep each other updated on the changes made within The Grid, keeping new stuff in the flow of work. The teams also use it to exchange deal-related data, an important aspect in global sales cycles. With easy-to-edit Workspace pages, any employee can update critical content that their peers need to do their jobs more efficiently and serve customers better.
Prior to Socialtext, John says that GT Nexus relied on Windows shared folders to exchange documents and collaborate. This proved inefficient, as they grappled with version control and limited search capabilities. Now, the goal is to keep information current on The Grid ( the company’s “central nervous system”), and use robust tagging to help GT Nexus employees find the people and information they need to serve customers and prospects.
Just how pervasive has GT Nexus’s use of enterprise social software been? Here’s some use-cases that span across departments.
- Sales and marketing –> To keep sales and marketing better in synch, GT Nexus keeps all of its sales collateral and marketing material inside The Grid in a workspace fittingly called the “Collateral Center.” Now, when a sales representative walk into a meeting, they can be confident they have the most current materials (white papers, webinars, powerpoints) that explain the benefits of GT Nexus products. On the technical sales side, this means sharing demo scripts and sample EDI documents by industry vertical.
- Supply Chain Knowledge –> GT Nexus helps some of the world’s largest enterprises efficiently manage their inbound and outbound supply chains. Coupled with the ever-changing technical landscape that is could computing, this requires GT Nexus to chronicle the best practices around the supply chain and IT disciplines, which is now kept inside The Grid.
- Technical Knowledge –> All the best FAQs and product requirements are kept up to date in a central workspace. As GT Nexus improves and modifies its products, the documentation surrounding those are kept up to date, such as release notes and recordings. In-depth product configuration documents are also available.
- Purely Social –> And it’s not all work. The GT Nexus Signals stream routinely sees updates on general social activity — a new employee visitor, a department-sponsored happy hour or a personal success are some examples.
GT Nexus utilizes Socialtext’s flexible SaaS appliance. It gives GT Nexus the ability to deploy Socialtext behind the firewall and hook it into the company’s existing infrastructure, while still getting seamless updates to the software sent from Socialtext. John believes, however, that internal collaboration is just the beginning. He is already adding another Socialtext appliance, where GT Nexus can securely and privately interact with external customers and partners (a B2B Extranet).