Enterprises 2.0: Two front-runners
Enterprise 2.0 means using social website type tools and using them inside your business. This means online tools like you see on Facebook and LinkedIn – things like status updates, online discussions, connections with contacts, commenting, tagging, “liking” and the like.
The idea is to break down silos of information, to allow knowledge to flow more freely through the organisation and to improve people’s work through collaboration. It sounds a bit loopy. Won’t people end up spending more time swapping gossip and funny cat videos than actually working?
Well, some big companies are willing to bet that they won’t, and they’ve taken the plunge of investing sums of filthy lucre and money into developing such systems. Here’s two examples.
KFC and Pizza Hut (“Yum! Brands”)
Yum! Brands is the convenience food company who licence and run KFC and Pizza Hut. (They also run Taco Bell though that isn’t so big here in Australia.)
Yum! Brands had 6000 back-office employees, spread out all over the world, who they thought could benefit from a more collaborative work style. Hence they implemented a 3-part collaboration system which included:
- A Facebook-style social networking system, called iCHING
- A wide-ranging intranet search engine from Coveo, to extract the most of the social information gathered on the intranet
- A telepresence and online training system, aimed at narrowing the perceived distance between team members in this geographically dispersed company.
Yum! also set out on an active program to encourage people to use the system, organising “activation squads” in each brand to show the way. Last I read, they were approaching 100% adoption and all was going well.
I always think of BASF as making videotapes – as they did back in the 80s when I was a teenage video-tech guru who knew which of the 17 cables went into which of 26 orifices in the back of the video player. You know the type, I was one of those.
But there’s not much call for videotape these days and BASF have continued with their original business, which is as a chemicals company.
BASF is descended from a real 19th-century, old-style, top-hat-wearing, cigar-smoking industrialist giant, founded in Germany in 1865. Now they have less top hats, but they do have 100,000 employees and 390 production sites distributed around the world.
They began planning the “Connect.BASF” system in 2007. In 2009, they ran a pilot program with a limited number of selected communities and enthusiasts. In 2010, they held the full launch, accompanied by a strong, well-supported communications strategy.
At last reading, they had 30,000 users who had set up 2,300 special purpose communities for themselves.
So is it working? Well BASF say it is – and they say the greatest benefits are easier access to experts, higher worker efficiency, and better collaboration.
So there’s two success stories. If you’d like to read about them in more detail, see Dion Hinchcliffe’s praise-worthy Enterprise 2.0 blog on ZDNet.
Next blog, we’ll look at a couple more Enterprise 2.0 front-runners, Kraft and IBM. Til then, good night, good luck and may a condor never land on you, mistaking you for a small but convenient tree.
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