By Graham K. Rogers
Many people are expanding their use of social networking outside of the simply social side of the concept. At the faculty where I work, we use Facebook for announcements and to contact students; while others on the same campus use Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch. In the flood event of late 2011 in Thailand, these networking systems were found to be invaluable as one of the ways of disseminating information within Thailand, like the pre-Internet bulletin boards of the 1990s had been in their day.
For international organisations and companies, these relatively open systems can also be an attractive, yet informal way to keep in touch with staff, with the mobile workforce expected to reach 1.9 billion people. Electrolux, with a presence in some 60 countries, including Thailand uses such systems widely.
In a press release, IBM has announced that it is helping Electrolux connect with its workforce worldwide. As well as the social aspects of such links, Electrolux has found that staff-generated innovations which need collaboration on the fly, is a critical aspect and they are able to do this via a company intranet portal, IBM Connections social networking platform and IBM Sametime instant messaging software.
The press release continues:
Working with business partners Infoware Solutions and Avantime, Electrolux has seen the number of internal online communities, networks and microblogs grow rapidly. The intranet, powered by IBM Connections and Microsoft SharePoint, contains more than 100 information portals managed by more than 450 editors, and contains 15,000 monthly and 9,000 daily readers. With over 1,100 collaboration spaces with 8,500 members, Electrolux employees are engaging in ways never seen before.
For example, employees are using IBM Connections microblogging to quickly spread information across the organization, including new product and customer care ideas, and strategic organizational announcements.
Electrolux employees will also have access to a social collaboration dashboard. Through integrating IBM Lotus Notes email and IBM Sametime instant messaging, employees will be able to drag an email into a Connections Activity and discuss with colleagues in that specific window. This will help to better engage the team, provide a more comprehensive overview of the project, and reduce attachments in the email inbox.
"Our goal is to empower our employees so they have access to content and collaboration tools anytime and from anywhere," said Ralf Larsson, Director Online Employee Engagement and Development, Electrolux. "Working with IBM, our employees are now becoming better engaged and more connected into specific business processes that help them expand the scope of product innovation."
"Social business is enabling companies to scale in new ways and drive greater innovation within their organization," said Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Social Business, IBM. "Organizations can seamlessly connect and share information across a global network of clients, partners and employees through the power of social business."
More information about IBM's social business initiative, may be found on the IBM Social Business pages; or those interested may follow #IBMSocialBiz on Twitter.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.