Surmounting Hurdles using Enterprise Collaboration | Features | ChannelWorld.in

PARTNER HOTLINES

Surmounting Hurdles using Enterprise Collaboration

By Kristin Burnham, CIO on Jan 24, 2012

With more than 10,000 new book titles and products launching every year, publishing company Random House needed a real-time solution to help manage and share information, and improve employee communication.

With more than 10,000 new book titles and products launching every year, publishing company Random House needed a real-time solution to help manage and share information, and improve employee communication. Vice President, IT Chris Hyams Hart says, ‘just wasn’t cutting it’.
“If you have a really important message you need to get to people, email is where it goes to die,” he says. “What if marketing needed to know what sales was doing, but not everyone in that email list needed to know? People needed a sense of ambient awareness for they needed to know what was going around them.”
Hart and his team looked at a number of enterprise collaboration suites over a few months. They weren’t so much interested in building an internal Facebook; rather they were more interested in the communications from systems. Their main criteria in the new platform: integration with Twitter’s API so they could migrate from toolset to toolset, an open standard, and easy integration with other tools they may later need.

Ultimately, they decided on Socialcast, citing how easy the enterprise collaboration software is to use and troubleshoot. The suite, Hart says, puts users in control of the information they want to consume. For example, employees can ‘follow’ the status of a person, system alert or project. When a status changes, only those who are subscribing to it receive an alert, then they can take action, if necessary. If an employee is involved in a project with another department, she can choose to follow their alerts and unsubscribe to them when she no longer needs to be in the loop, Hart says.
While Random House is in the early stages of its internal social deployment, Hart says the company has learned a lot about some of the common challenges and obstacles that businesses deploying social platforms face. Here’s what Random House learned about changing employee preconceptions, shifting behaviors and generating best practices.

Reforming Employee Mindsets

Hart says that when the IT department introduced the new social platform to small groups of employees, some people were nervous that it would be used for “wasteful things,” such as inane posts and as a procrastination tool. They likened it to a “Facebook at work.” To thwart this mindset and encourage adoption, Hart says IT purposely rolled it out to groups where improved communication around critical projects was a business priority.
Hart says, “Tools in the enterprise are only well-adopted if the person using them gets value out of them.” He further added, “It may add value to the company to act as a data entry point, but real usage will be low if there is no personal value gained.”

Also important in getting the naysayers to see the benefits of a collaboration suite was education. Since one of IT’s reservations about the platform was that employees would use it to ‘play around,’ Hart had to emphasize that everything they said or did inappropriately was visible to managers.
Once these fears were assuaged, the benefits – including greater visibility into day-to-day events within a business unit – became more apparent. “Imagine being able to view a work homepage like you do your Facebook homepage, and know exactly what has happened today at work,” Hart says.

Generating Desired Behavior

Hart says that when employees gained access to the platform, their first posts usually indicated, “here is something I want you to know” – a good first instinct, Hart says, but not quite how he intended employees to use it.
“We were trying to get to the ‘this is what’s going on’ type of status posts,” Hart says. “Something more along the lines of: I’m doing this and if you tell me what you’re doing, we’ll have a greater awareness of what’s going on and we can collaborate better.”
Guiding employees to these behaviors meant enlisting senior managers and directors to set the example, so others could learn from them.
Not only did this tactic work, but it also introduced another benefit: For those employees who weren’t previously using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, the platform provided them with a strong understanding of how to use social media properly, should they choose to do so on their own.

“Social tools support and focus staff on the skills needed for the future. Just as technology is becoming consumer-based with software and hardware from Apple and Google, communications is also seeing that impact with Facebook and Twitter,” Hart says. “Having people learn how to appropriately participate in social media as an employee is crucial—knowing what to say and how to support our authors, titles and our strategy online is a big part of our future.”
Another observant point: Hart says that training people in a social tool may be futile because they are generally intuitive to use. Instead, he recommends, train teams in communication.

“There’s a lot to sharing in a company – the act of sharing is very much exposing you to a lot of departments and there has to be a lot of trust and transparency,” he says. “It takes a while to see that it isn’t scary.”

Cultivating Patience and Creating Metrics for Success

Depending on workplace culture and environment, adoption of enterprise-class social tools can sometimes be slow.
Random House, which is purposely rolling out the platform slowly, uses a different metric for success. Instead of evaluating the deployment based on the number of posts, Hart is measuring its success on the basis of engagement.
“Remember the 1/10/100 rule of posting: For every 100 people, one person will post, 10 may comment or ‘like’ it and 100 people will read it,” he says. “[Assuming] that the 1 percent rule is true, don’t expect a huge number of posters.”
Instead, he says, look for people joining groups, posting comments and “liking” things. And keep an eye on those who do post: Use them to drive others to use the tool and share projects so the rest of the company can get that information without emailing or scheduling meetings, he says.
Likewise, it was important for Hart to acknowledge that the deployment of a social platform was not a cost-savings initiative since the goal was not to rid the company of email.
“I don’t think the ROI for a social platform makes sense. It’s like the ROI for email: We know the speed and impact of email,” says Hart. “The next step is moving to collaborative media to accelerate communications. I think the focus needs to be on making the company faster, more self-aware. The goal of it is speed – pulling together in one shared forum with no segregation.”


Latest Features

EDITOR'S PICK

Forecast 2015: IT Spending On An Upswing

As purse strings loosen up, CIOs blend innovation into 2015 IT budgets, but security and cost containment remain top priorities.

‘Security Compliance is Not a Proactive Phenomenon in India’

Pavan Duggal, Cyber Law Expert at the Supreme Court of India, explains why channel partners need to look beyond the IT Act 2000 as the security standards, given today’s fast-changing threat landscape, rapidly evolve.

IT is Indispensable for Business Optimization: David Aires, Intel

David L. Aires, VP, Information Technology Group, and GM, Information Technology Operations, believes security to be the biggest challenge in the current IT environment.

Is the CIO Role Nearing Extinction?

New technologies are shifting power to the hands of the user, endangering the CIO role. But do Indian CIOs consider that a threat or an opportunity? 

The Authentication Market is Big Play for Channels: Gaurav Chawla, Gemalto

We are building a partner network to address the increased demand for authentication solutions across India, says Gaurav Chawla, Director, IAM, Gemalto India.

Versatile Infosecurity: Riding the Security Wave

It takes vision and persistence to stay on top of the security curve. Versatile Infosecurity has mastered that art.

How Futurenet Technologies Helped Sterlite Copper Adopt Next-gen Client Computing

Sterlite Copper was able to successfully adopt next-gen client computing facilities with hand-in-hand assistance from Chennai-based Futurenet Technologies.

DigitalTrack Solutions: Right on the Security Track

DigitalTrack is keeping pace with the changes in the IT security space through DDoS and WAF solutions and is pushing security audits as part of its next move.

SLIDESHOWS

6 Leaders Who Headed for an Abrupt Exit

The abrupt exit of top leaders of Indian and global tech companies this year, with many of them citing ambiguous reasons, surprised the technology world.

Gartner Executive Summary Survey 2014

Gartner's Annual CIO Survey highlights the trends that will drive organizational IT spend in 2014.

10 Overhyped Tech Products That Crashed and Burned

The demos blew everyone away. Then reality hit.

Gartner Executive Summary Survey 2014

Gartner's Annual CIO Survey highlights the trends that will drive organizational IT spend in 2014.

ChannelWorld Survey: State of the Market 2014

Partners poll their sentiments, expectations, pain points, and challenges for the coming year.

FAST TRACK

Mudra Electronics

A vendor-agnostic strategy helped us sustain business, says Bharat Shetty, CMD, Mudra Electronics.

Systematix Technologies

Our USP is a customer-friendly approach backed by services, says Akhilesh Khandelwal, Director, Systematix Technologies.

CorporateServe Solutions

Our ability to turnaround complex ERP projects in record time is what gets us customer referral, says Vinay Vohra, Founder & CEO, CorporateServe Solutions.

KernelSphere Technologies

We are emerging as an end-to-end systems integrator, says Vinod Kumar, MD, KernelSphere Technologies.

Uniware Systems

We constantly validate emerging technologies for first-mover advantage, says Vergis K.R., CEO, Uniware Systems.

Astek Networking & Solutions

An innovative approach helps us stay successful, says Ashish Agarwal, CEO, Astek Networking & Solutions.

CSM Technologies

Our approach is backed by innovation and simplicity, says Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, CEO, CSM Technologies.

ETSC Computers

We want to be recognized as a complete solution provider, says Kailash Gupta, Director, ETSC Computers.

VIDEOS

Arun Parameswaran on VMware’s Cloud, Mobile, SDx Strategy

Arun Parameswaran, MD, VMware India, talks about transformation, strategy, roadmap, and VMware’s role in driving the shift to cloud, mobile, and SDx.

Parag Arora, Citrix: Our Portfolio Will Augment Our Strategy

Parag Arora, Area Vice President, Citrix India, elaborates on his action plan for the company after taking over operations in India.

Shibu Paul, Array Networks: ADN is a Great Business Opportunity for Channels

Shibu Paul elaborates on how Array Networks is empowering its partner ecosystem to address the modern datacenter challenges in India.

Scott Robertson, WatchGuard: We are an End-to-End Security Solutions Company

Scott Robertson of WatchGuard elaborates on the company’s partner roadmap in India and its subsequent shift in the security space.

Gaurav Ahluwalia, R&M: Channels Will Accelerate Our Datacenter Business

Gaurav Ahluwalia of R&M speaks on the company’s renewed focus to build its channel ecosystem and address the datacenter demands of India Inc.

Venkat Murthy, 22by7 Solutions: Real Value is in Solutions

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, elaborates on the need to look at a solutions approach rather than a mere hardware approach.

What Channel Partners Can Learn from a Sahara Adventurer

Steve Donahue, a desert adventurer and a best-selling author, takes experiences from this travels in the Sahara and turns them into lessons for channel partners, as they navigate the shifting sands of today's business and IT environment.

Rahul Agarwal, Lenovo: Profitability and Value Proposition are Vital

Rahul Agarwal, executive director, Commercial Business Segment, Lenovo India, talks about Lenovo’s renewed channel strategy and why the company is now an attractive proposition for its partners.

EMC PARTNER SHOWCASE

Partnering for Profitability

Atul H. Gosar, Director, Network Techlab, shares how the company’s association with EMC has provided it with a competitive edge and a wide customer base, leading to increased profitability.

Sponsored Content

Promising Pipeline

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, shares how EMC brings in competitive edge by enabling technology, GTM and lead generation, helping 22by7 acquire new customers and retain old ones.

Sponsored Content

Powerful Performance

Deepak Jadhav, Director, VDA Infosolutions, says initiatives by EMC around training and certification have helped the company’s staff improve its performance and enhance customer experience.

Sponsored Content

Performance Booster

Rajiv Kumar, CEO, Proactive Data Systems, says that the solution provider’s association with EMC has helped expand its customer base and added value to existing offerings.

Sponsored Content

Pursuit of Profitability

Santosh Agrawal, CEO, Esconet Technologies, shares insights on how the systems integrator’s association with EMC has spelled sustained success over the years.

Sponsored Content

Non-Performance is Not an Option

Nitin Aggarwal, Director, Trifin Technologies, shares insights on how the association with EMC has helped the system integrator stand out and empowered its personnel to deliver consistent performance.

Sponsored Content

STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS 2014

Driving IT to Make an Impact: IDC

IT is being increasingly viewed as something which would help drive revenue rather than just another cost line-item.

Software-Defined Infrastructure: Forrester

Firms must invest in transforming infrastructure to eradicate complex infrastructure to keep pace with business needs.

Better Safe Than Sorry: PwC

Organizations should create a culture of security that starts with commitment of top executives and cascades to all employees and third parties.

New Skills for a New Era: Gartner

A new talent strategy is required—one that is a key part of the evolving IT strategy and one that focuses on a blend of business and modern IT skills.

The Rise and Growth of Big Data: Ernst & Young

Leading organizations are reaping rich rewards on their investment in big data even as competition struggles to keep pace.

SOCIAL MEDIA @ CW India
SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Signup for our newsletter and get regular updates.