This is the first in a series of posts on how a mid size medical association is implementing emergent collaboration strategies and technologies within its organization. The contents of this case study are based on a series of conversations and interviews that took place in July and July 2011, and conducted with an IT professional who leads the Enterprise 2.0 project at a mid-size healthcare organization. This individual wishes to keep their employer and identity anonymous. All communication took place in June and July 2011. The full case study can be downloaded for free on the Chess Media Group Resources page. Several other case studies and resources can also be found there.
The company wanted to move away from a static intranet and to a Social Intranet & Enterprise Collaboration platform that would transform the way employees collaborate, integrate key business applications, foster innovation, drive process improvements, and tear down knowledge silos. An attempt back in 2009 proved unsuccessful. The company tried using a large well-known vendor back in 2009 but that did not work. A previous relationship with a vendor offered a very low-cost of using the platform, however after considering the additional resources required: time, money, or labor, they could not make it work. They also wanted a cloud-based solution that would not require them to build expertise around configuration. In 2010, the company decided to revisit the social intranet project.
The company values are integrity, diversity, leadership, excellence, people, collaboration, and innovation. These values have always enabled discussions and brainstorming about how the company could improve. It is important to point out that the company is a much-diversified group. It is a bit like having 15 different companies under a single company. Each group has a different skill set and their own teams and target customers. Some of these groups are business and marketing-related whilst others are comprised of researchers.
The company has always had a static intranet. However, an internal survey revealed that the top things that employees wanted were improved communication and collaboration. The company realized that it needed something better than a standard intranet to do this. The company was not just looking for collaboration. Instead, it needed an actual platform, something like an internal Google where information could be stored and viewed in a single place – a central hub.
The company also needed an effective way to share ideas and information internally. For example, a group developed a mobile app but was looking for some additional ideas and best practices around selling mobile advertising within the app. The marketing group had done this before and was able to share some valuable insights and information with the group that needed help.
If an individual in a particular group had a problem, the group did not always have the best or perhaps the right answers. In fact, sometimes front line employees had the best answers to solving a particular problem.
At the end of the day, the belief is that you cannot have innovation without process excellence and you cannot have process excellence without collaboration. If you are not “social,” then you really cannot collaborate as well.
Aside from breaking down silos between groups, the company also wanted a way to communicate, share, and transfer knowledge effectively. The company has diverse employees and some of them have been on staff for 20, 30, even 40 years. These employees have been at the company so long that they inherently know certain things that nobody else know. Now, the social intranet enabled all employees to share their knowledge and expertise across the company regardless of the department they work in or their tenure with the company.
The full case study can be downloaded on the Chess Media Group page.