The Benefits of Collaborating in a Real-Time Enterprise Social Network


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This presentation shows how to use real-time enterprise social networks to communicate and collaborate on projects and with other teams. Social enterprise networks can turn a company into a community, where people feel connected despite geographic and functional divides

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  • I from one cloud to another kind of cloud. 
  • Let’s set the stage:
    How do we want to collaborate?
    How would we use a social network?
  • How do we collaborate today?
    Most collaboration is done via email. We use it to get and share information, share files via attachments.
    Ubiquitous, cheap, easy to use, secure
    Hard to manage when it exceeds a certain volume
    No versioning for files
    Mushrooms easily – Reply all, cc
    Inefficient in getting the right information from the right people
    Who can keep track of all the mailing lists?
  • We all get too much email!
    Scenario of project manager sending out a project plan to the team, getting back emails with the updated project plan.
    Team members also cc’d other people, who then send their updates to the PM as well. PM has to read all the emails and look at all the attachments, consolidate everything into a master project plan
    It’s hard to keep track of all the different versions of the project plan floating around. People don’t see what others contributed until it’s all been consolidated, resulting in potential waste of time.
    Maybe add something about the different Inbox personalities (Horder, Minimalist, etc)
  • How can we escape the email hell?
    One solution is to use a social enterprise network.
    Email is still useful and won’t go away, but SENs can gap the bridge and integrate email, data, and other business applications.
  • The main business use:
    Connect people and data
    Help people find the information they need
    Answer the question of one person, but reach many others at the same time
    Keep file in a central location, where many people can collaborate and make updates
    An efficient search across all data
    Provide a secure environment for a team to collaborate
    Interact with customers and give customers a forum to connect with the company
  • So what is a SEN?
    It’s typical layout is kind of like Facebook, but specifically designed for doing business.
    There are various solutions from various vendors out there today.
    I’m going to talk about Chatter, our own proprietary solution, and how we use it internally to get things done.
  • It’s All About Connecting People
    Every employee has a Chatter profile page. Profiles connect a name with a picture, provide contact information as well as information about the person’s expertise, role, and responsibilities within the company.
    People can follow other people. For example, the doc team follows each other, their scrum teams, key people in marketing, sales, support.
    Updates from people you follow show up in your Chatter feed (aka news feed).
  • Groups
    Groups is one of the most powerful features. All departments have their own groups. Scrum teams have development groups to discuss new features, share specs, etc.
    Groups can be public, private, and can also allow customers. Anybody can create a group.
    Example from Doc Team:
    Doc group for the entire doc team
    Doc group around our tools
    Style Guide and Info Model
    UI Text Review
    How do we use groups?
    Post a question to a group and reach the entire group. Whoever knows the answer replies with a comment. Other people can chime in. No mass emails.
    Email notifications on groups, when someone posts, comments, or likes. Notifications can be for every post, daily summary, weekly summary, or off.
  • Files
    Files can be uploaded directly or uploaded via attachment to a post. There are different levels of sharing access for collaboration, and files can be updated (versioned).
  • Here is a typical day in the life of a tech writer at We work in scrum teams and document the features that our developers implement.
    In the example, I’ve written a draft for a new feature that is going to be added to our online help. The draft needs to be reviewed by my developers, the PM, as well as marketing and localization.
  • My scrum team has its own private Chatter group. This is the place where we discuss development, upload specs, and other development related docs.
    I write a post, attach my draft doc, and ask the team to review. Since I’ve posted the doc to a private group, only the group members see my post and have access to the doc. The scrum team typically consists of developers, QE, UX designers, and the PM. So with one post, I reach the entire team. Any team member can weigh in, comment on my post, download the draft, edit it, and upload a new version.
  • The post shows up in the group feed, as well as on the Chatter feed of all group members. Additionally, group members get an email notification, depending on their notification settting.
  • Despite the obvious advantages of enterprise social networks, many companies still shy away from making that switch. Senior executives are skeptical of the value of social software. Their reluctance is understandable, but self-defeating. Social software has the potential to address operational “pain points” and significantly enhance business performance in the short term and transform it in the long term [3].
  • Drive change from the top. The executive team needs to be on board and embrace the enterprise social network. For example, at we provide visibility into executive off-sites. These are quarterly meetings that take place to help set the direction of the company. By opening these meetings up on Chatter, individuals across the organization obtained visibility into the vision and strategy of the executive team, thus being able to adapt, change, and evolve with company leadership. Simultaneously, they were able to provide feedback to help shape the strategy.
  • Share big messages and get heard. In many companies, the IT department struggles to keep up with employee requests and questions. Furthermore, updates that address organizational needs are just glanced at or buried in email inboxes. IT often struggles to become a strategic business unit because they are too busy staying on top of backlogs and addressing tactical needs. At, employees can enter specific groups that are monitored by IT experts to address needs across different skill levels. This way, when a question is answered, it is answered for everyone. Furthermore, employees support one another, freeing up precious IT resources.
    Human resources is another department that can benefit greatly from using an enterprise social network. At, HR communicates directly with employees using Chatter. Updates to benefits, training programs, vision and mission all take place in one group.
  • Use the enterprise social network to organize and share updates about company events. Dreamforce 2011,’s annual user conference, was the biggest cloud computing event in the world. That couldn’t have happened without the power of Chatter, allowing the company to leverage expert knowledge, experiences, and creativity to make it one of the most exciting experiences for customers, partners and employees to date. Motivating people and pulling off this event was possible because the organizers could communicate guidelines, plans, schedules and words of inspiration through Chatter.
  • Ignite company culture. Create groups around employee affinities: volunteer events, company parties, etc. Start an advocacy group where employees can voice constructive criticism, and executives can post personal responses. Every company experiences grievances, and there are often times when employees are frustrated with certain systems and processes. How can executives respond to these frustrations and encourage productivity across the organization? At we use Chatter to air our grievances and point out inefficiencies. This way, executives can become aware of employee concerns, and respond to them.
  • Last but not least, Chatter is fun! It makes employees feel connected, empowered, and recognized.
  • The Benefits of Collaborating in a Real-Time Enterprise Social Network

    1. 1. The Benefits of Collaborating in a RealTime Enterprise Social Network Sabine Bennett @binebennett @LavaCon
    2. 2. About the Speaker • Writer for Documentation and User Assistance Team at • Tech Writer, Journalist, Meteorologist @binebennett @LavaCon
    3. 3. Setting the Stage  Collaboration Ideas  Collaboration Ideas  Status Quo  Status Quo  Why use a Social Enterprise Network (SEN)?  Why use a Social Enterprise Network (SEN)?  We use Chatter  We use Chatter  How to implement your own SEN  How to implement your own SEN @binebennett @LavaCon
    4. 4. Collaboration Source: IDC’s Social Business Survey, May 2011 @binebennett @LavaCon
    5. 5. Status Quo: Email Pros: Pros:  Ubiquitous  Ubiquitous  Easy to use  Easy to use  Secure?  Secure? Cons: Cons:  No versioning  No versioning  Overwhelming  Overwhelming  Hard to manage  Hard to manage @binebennett @LavaCon
    6. 6. Do you control your inbox or does your inbox control you? @binebennett @LavaCon
    7. 7. SENs to the Rescue @binebennett @LavaCon
    8. 8. Connect People + Data  Find information  Find information  Answer questions  Answer questions  Share files  Share files  Search across all data  Search across all data  Team collaboration  Team collaboration  Connect with customers  Connect with customers @binebennett @LavaCon
    9. 9. We Use Chatter! @binebennett @LavaCon
    10. 10. Profiles @binebennett @LavaCon
    11. 11. Group Power  Ask or answer a question and reach many  Ask or answer a question and reach many  Public, private, and customer-facing groups  Public, private, and customer-facing groups  No mass emails  No mass emails @binebennett @LavaCon
    12. 12. Share Data  File upload directly or via attachment to a post  File upload directly or via attachment to a post  Different collaboration levels  Different collaboration levels @binebennett @LavaCon
    13. 13. A Day in the Life of … New feature is documented! Yay! Now I need to get the draft reviewed… @binebennett @LavaCon
    14. 14. Post to Group … @binebennett @LavaCon
    15. 15. … Shows Up in Feed @binebennett @LavaCon
    16. 16. Set File Sharing @binebennett @LavaCon
    17. 17. Mention Others @binebennett @LavaCon
    18. 18. Chatter Mobile Chatter app for phones and tablets @binebennett @LavaCon
    19. 19. How Did We Do It? @binebennett @LavaCon
    20. 20. From the Top  Get executives  Get executives on board on board  Lead by example  Lead by example “When we first introduced Chatter, the company reorganized itself in days. I learned more about my company in a few months than I had in the last three years.” (Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO) @binebennett @LavaCon
    21. 21. Share Big Messages  Organizational changes  Organizational changes  IT announcements  IT announcements  HR updates  HR updates @binebennett @LavaCon
    22. 22. Organize Company Events @binebennett @LavaCon
    23. 23. Ignite Company Culture  Company parties  Company parties  Volunteer events  Volunteer events  Airing of grievances  Airing of grievances @binebennett @LavaCon
    24. 24. Work = Fun!?! @binebennett @LavaCon
    25. 25. Q&A @binebennett @LavaCon