Using the Social Intranet
Part 3 of The Enterprise Intranet “Goes Social” at eXo
Perhaps the most striking aspect of our social intranet is its rapid adoption and stickiness. We revealed the new intranet to employees on January 1, 2011; participation was and is completely voluntary. Despite the fact that some users were initially skeptical of the value of the intranet, by January 15, we had over 160 users—basically, 100 percent adoption. What turned the skeptics around? The dynamic, personal nature of our social intranet. It’s the place everybody goes, throughout the work day, to find real-time updates on projects, discuss and act on new ideas, and share content and feedback with team members. That dynamic, personal quality drove adoption, and it continues to drive user retention: people return throughout the day to see what’s going on and to engage and collaborate with other users.
Judging by the numbers, our social intranet is a success. To date, we have 165 members contributing 2,139 posts on 145 topics – all tagged and organized, easy to search and navigate. Reviewing the spaces created on our intranet since the beginning of the year reveals four different organizing principals and many different use cases:
- Office spaces – eXo France, eXo US and eXo Vietnam use their spaces to discuss office-related issues in the forum, share HR documents in the document repository, and organize shared resources, holidays, birthdays and other important office events in the calendar.
- Team spaces – Our departmental teams have customized their respective spaces to support their unique functional needs. For example, the Cloud IDE, Platform and Mobile development teams use their spaces to discuss specs in the forum; ask for feedback via polls; post links to useful articles, tutorials, and other information; review and/or update the gadget dashboard; and code quality metrics and issues opened in our bug tracking app.
Meanwhile, eXo consultants have their own space where they can discuss ongoing projects in the forum and store project specs and customer-related documents in the document repository. And our marketing team has a space for sharing market research and other documents, scheduling PR activity and announcements, and applying analytics and business intelligence to the marketing dashboard.
- Project spaces – The spaces established for our Cloud IDE beta program and company website improvements are used to report bugs, provide feedback, request new features and discuss roadmaps. Such project spaces can be archived for reference once the project is completed.
- Theme spaces – The Webinars space is where we schedule webinar dates in the calendar and discuss topics in the forum. We discuss user experience issues and suggest improvements in the User Experience Feedback space. We even have “for fun” spaces, which foster camaraderie and connections between employees. For example, the Sports at eXo space is used to organize sporting events, discuss favorite teams, and talk trash with colleagues on the other side of the world.
Our social intranet encourages people to share information and ideas, and the community self-regulates, as users can determine the value of shared content. Check out the eXo activity stream and you’ll find:
- VPs and product managers disclosing their travel plans—e.g., visiting other eXo offices—so they can better coordinate resources and have more effective visits to remote offices.
- Consultants giving information about the clients they work with, connecting marketing and development teams to valuable customer feedback that can be used to improve the product and overall customer satisfaction rates.
- Salespeople providing information about newly signed deals, so all departments involved with onboarding new customers can react swiftly.
- Executives sharing updates from strategic meetings and partnership opportunities, including related presentations and project plans.
- Managers praising well-performing teams and employees.
- People sharing their satisfaction (or frustration) with our eXo Platform product and the new features they would like to see, transforming every employee into a valuable QA resource.
More to come. We’ll be back tomorrow to share the “Impact and Unexpected Benefits of our Social Intranet, or you can finish reading our story now at White Papers – it’s available in our new Evaluation Toolkit.