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CEB AWARD SUBMISSION - Innovations - IBM - June 2016

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SUBMISSION for the 2016 CEB INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS AWARDS
CATEGORY: Innovations in Digital, Social and Mobile Communicati...
Matter Experts (SMEs) to scale our impact, while ensuring a high-quality user experience
through clear editorial policies ...
Specific activities
Our system incorporates a variety of communications channels, optimised for content,
desired engagemen...
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CEB AWARD SUBMISSION - Innovations - IBM - June 2016

  1. 1. SUBMISSION for the 2016 CEB INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS AWARDS CATEGORY: Innovations in Digital, Social and Mobile Communications ENTRY CRITERIA: Innovative digital communications are often essential to an integrated and creative campaign strategy. But effectively harnessing these tools requires deep audience understanding and expertise in a wide range of channel options. We’re looking for entries that demonstrate these attributes, together with:  Deep understanding of audience channel preferences and habits.  Examples of strong content strategies and successful execution of user-centric solutions.  Strong, proven collaboration with cross-functional partners (e.g., IT, senior leaders and broader business stakeholders).  Creative approaches to encouraging digital adoption such as use of internal champions and community-building.  A powerful business case for continued investment that clearly demonstrates long-tern business value derived from digital, social, and/or mobile communications. 2. Name of project / campaign: Engaging and enabling IBM's Brand & Communications (B&C) teams around the world 3. Synopsis of business-related outcomes IBM operates in over 170 markets. To connect effectively with nearly 380,000 employees and build on IBM’s singular reputation, we have a large, distributed team of Brand and Communications (B&C) professionals around the world. But how to create and execute a unified strategy, while maximising the local content we know to be most engaging to our employees, clients and prospects? Innovative digital and social communications are essential to enable our teams to work effectively and efficiently. Teams must collaborate in country and across borders to create globally consistent experiences that contribute to achieving IBM’s business objectives. Teams require clear strategic direction to contextualise company-wide initiatives, plus tactical guidance to drive ambitious engagement programs and deliver on objectives within their unique local environments. To implement and innovate with speed, they must build upon each other’s ideas, assets and lessons learned and obtain fast resolution of issues blocking progress. The B&C Community has become the digital and social platform that B&C teams trust to provide the enablement they need in a timely and integrated way. We have enlisted Subject
  2. 2. Matter Experts (SMEs) to scale our impact, while ensuring a high-quality user experience through clear editorial policies and coaching of contributors. Figure 1 - The B&C Community Landing Page 4. Full entry description Strategic approach To truly engage the professionals in our function, we prioritised the work of helping them become masters of their craft. We found inspiration in content management, digital strategy and organisational change management to: 1. Connect global leaders and SMEs with practitioners in the markets via a variety of standardised digital and social content containers and user experiences. 2. Build trust through consistent delivery of user-centric enablement, including the intentional design of content and activities that improve practitioner productivity, enable learning and inspire innovation. 3. Encourage and enable collaboration to allow practical learning and build practitioners’ confidence while progressing leading-edge organisational goals. The system that makes all of this possible is defined and regularly assessed using feedback from our users: please see section 5 for additional details.
  3. 3. Specific activities Our system incorporates a variety of communications channels, optimised for content, desired engagement, user preferences and habits. We established an open, online community and use its standard functions including a blog, activities, wiki pages, Q&A forums and files. Our newsletter drives to new content on the community and our online surveys crowd-source ideas and feedback. We run fortnightly leadership calls and skill development sessions using interactive web-meeting technology. We run calls twice to accommodate all time-zones. Figure 2 - Learning Resources In the past 12 months, we supported brand-building programs in over 40 markets and > 20 cross-functional initiatives. We worked with teams across IBM to drive engagement in IBM Think Academy, co-ordinate the internal launch of IBM’s new brand platform ‘Cognitive Era’ and enable >275,000 IBMers to take part in ‘Cognitive Build’. Digital and social A digital approach is essential for information to be accessible to our globally-distributed team. Colleagues in every time-zone have ‘always on’ access to the community. Social features facilitate rapid feedback loops and contributions from all markets without version control issues. Clear editorial policies and the use of standardised content containers and experiences have enabled us to scale the quantity of content and interaction via this digital platform, while maintaining a high-quality user experience. Roadblocks When users told us that the quantity of content on the community made it difficult to locate information they needed, we created a tagging system and tagged all historic content. Now all content relevant to a topic, content type or leader appears when that tag link is clicked, making it easy for everyone to find what they need quickly. 45% of members surveyed found useful content via tags.
  4. 4. Figure 3 - Tagsonomy Colleagues also want to be able to receive answers to their questions quickly. To scale our ability to respond, we identified and recruited SMEs and coached them on the best way to interact with the community. Today, members receive responses to questions within 24 hours. Alternative approaches Before the availability of social collaboration technologies, IBM relied on emails, slide decks and web pages to share direction, information and guidance. This was significantly less effective and efficient as communications were largely top-down, from global to local. Now everyone benefits from being able to engage directly. 5. Demonstration of the impact of your efforts “Thanks for all that you put into making the B&C community a thriving hub of pertinent information for everyone across the function. It is organized, informative, social and provides that holistic, cross-functional view that is so important for all of us to have. The spirit of sharing information with the geos in advance is a great example of how each function needs to operate -- in an environment of trust and mutual professional respect. The assets are stellar and the education sessions are lauded by myself as well as my entire team. They have told me that the call is the 'one call' not to miss because it is so pertinent to their roles. IBM is a better place because of this community and the ongoing effort you put into it. Your work is making our brand & communications world a better, more integrated, place.” Carrie Bendzsa, B&C Leader, North America
  5. 5. Figure 4 - The B&C Community Welcome Page We measure the impact of our work in several ways: 1. We track the core metrics aligned with our community objectives, for example contribution rates (% of members who have contributed to the community) (ours > 25%, 2.5 x average rates and up 4% yty) and forum post:response ratios (ours >1:8, ~ 3 x average rates and holding steady yty) 2. We take part in community benchmarking surveys run by IBM’s Learning and Knowledge team. We are currently ranked in the top 5% of communities surveyed and described as “wonderful example of a best-practice, collaborative space”. 3. Finally, and importantly, we gather user feedback through regular surveys, ad hoc discussions and interviews. The top-line results from our latest survey showed 83% of respondents agree/strongly agree the community improves their productivity; 93% agree/strongly agree the community enables their learning; 67% agree/strongly agree the community catalyses innovation; and 74% agree/strongly agree participating in the community has improved their ability to contribute to IBM’s objectives. Here is a sample of their feedback:  “If you are a new IBMer in B&C, this community shows you the right way to do it. If you are an experienced IBMer in B&C, this community gives you shortcuts to achieving fast results. As a community member, I have always appreciated your timely, useful and fresh content which you continue to share, and the fast response to queries and ideas. Thank you.” B&C Leader, North America  “In my role as a communication manager there is always more to communicate than you have the capacity to write and design. The strategy, concept and particularly the toolkits are of great value to me. They allow me to execute my communication mandate faster, in sync with strategy and corporate design. With the time saved, I can
  6. 6. be creative and enthusiastic in other communication areas that complement my role.” B&C Leader, Europe  “Your work helps me come up with new ideas I might not have thought up otherwise and I also find it interesting to get feedback on the work we do ourselves in market by sharing it via the blog on your community.” B&C Leader, Europe  “I have been using several examples and tools from the learning series in my daily job. I also feel better prepared to engage and coach my team because of the great content and assets the community shares with us.” B&C Leader, Latin America  “The B&C Community enables me to be always at the leading edge of our continuously evolving function.” B&C Leader, Europe  “Enablement at the unit and regional levels wouldn't be as efficient and effective without the B&C Community.” WW Initiative Leader Deep understanding of audience channel preferences and habits We use the survey and interview feedback to sharpen our understanding of our audience's channel preferences and habits - and the value they get from the community. We continuously experiment and iterate based on the data to improve the effectiveness of our work and fine-tune our strategy. The following are a few examples of how we optimize the design of our content and experiences to be as relevant, practical and useful as possible. We run fortnightly leadership calls using web-conferencing with online chat to help the B&C teams contextualise, interpret and implement strategic imperatives from CHQ and share inspiring work and lessons learned. The presentation format was designed based on feedback from in-market teams. We run each call twice to accommodate all time-zones. There are typically 60 - 70 participants.  “Sometimes I miss the bi-weekly B&C leadership call and some learning opportunities due to time conflict, I access the replay to listen to the calls and downloaded the presentation file and chat history, and I found this is really helpful for me to catch up and learn. This is my most frequently used community.” B&C Leader, China We work with initiative leaders and SMEs to create ‘toolkits’ on wiki pages. These enable rapid implementation of global initiatives. Country teams can contribute assets and productivity is improved through reuse. The toolkit approach enables us to scale global experiences while allowing fine-tuning to ensure local relevance. We launch > 20 new toolkits per year. 81% respondents in our latest community survey found the toolkits useful and popular toolkits receive between 5,000 and 10,000 views.  “The toolkits give me a short-cut – a quick way to develop the communication content and get clear value propositions.” B&C Professional, Asia Pacific We use the community forum to provide fast and personal responses to requests – solving problems and removing obstacles to progress. With the help of our SMEs, we respond to and track > 200 discussion topics a year, with a post: response ratio of > 1:8, ~ 3 x average rates.
  7. 7. 71% of respondents in our latest survey have found an answer to a question on the community.  “This community's forum has helped me both promptly get questions answered and answer others' questions, to help me get my job done. For instance, a forum discussion I started about estimating attendance in large education events helped me get perspectives from many others who run large events, and be more accurate in planning my own manager development events and now sales team town halls.” B&C Professional, North America We also use forum posts as well as surveys and polls to gather and organise community input on important questions and issues. We have crowd-sourced ideas and feedback for leaders, SMEs and users. We are currently using a poll, followed by qualitative interviews of some respondents, to understand how B&C teams are integrating into a current Marketing transformation program. The information gained will inform the next steps in the change management plan.  “I'm a HUGE fan of what you've driven and accomplished in the B&C community. Personally, while I love happy notes from teams about our activities, I actually like hearing what isn't working even more and the community has been a consistent place for me to get feedback.” B&C SME CHQ We send a monthly newsletter to drive users to new content on the community. The newsletter open rate averages 62%. 80% of respondents in our latest survey said they found our newsletters useful. Respondents also told us they’d like ‘just the most actionable information’ included in the newsletter, so our newsletter now contains links to an editorial selection of the most helpful and useful content.  “The B&C Community Newsletter is my favourite community newsletter and maybe the only one I read from top to bottom. Well done!” B&C Professional CHQ Examples of strong content strategies Innovation for B&C teams can come in many forms. It can be a ground-breaking idea that can be replicated in other markets . . . or a strategic approach to address a common opportunity from which others can learn . . . or a new asset that expresses the IBM brand in a way that is meaningful and relevant to a local market. We create an environment for innovation by providing up-to-date learning resources and thought leadership via the community, consulting to in-market teams and identifying examples of successful, ground-breaking work. The chosen projects are bold and ambitious with a high degree of cross-business collaboration and we invite the teams to share their work on the community blog so that their colleagues can benefit. We have featured over 90 of these ‘inspiring initiatives’ on our blog - along with results and lessons learned. We promote these blog posts via our newsletter, leadership calls and our
  8. 8. social networks and colleagues share them with their networks too. We have also developed deep case studies and education on the most innovative projects.  “The sharing of clever ideas and successes helps me not only learn about the approach, but about the people who are creating it and those seeing its value. This encourages me to do the same, because after all, these are real people. It also helps me build my go to list when I need support in country...I know where the go getters are!” M&C Professional CHQ This content is particularly popular because it provides a social and evidence-based means of recognising and sharing the success of B&C professionals. Here are a few examples of initiatives we have featured over the last 12 months: from New Zealand (Chef Watson); Japan (Sword Art Online Virtual Reality Experience), Mexico (40 Year Anniversary) and Brazil (Digital Clouds Rain Money). Figure 5 - Inspiring Initiatives Showcase Posts are categorised using tags, so teams looking for ideas can search inspiring initiatives from around the world by audience, client journey phase or business problem addressed. This enables teams to able to easily find and build upon the ideas and successes of colleagues in other markets. We are very deliberate in maintaining the quality of our content and user experience at scale. We have learned that by putting the needs of our users at the centre of everything we do, we are able to ensure that consistent value is provided. In return, members not only continue to use the community and pay attention to its surrounding communications, but many of them feel motivated to contribute their expertise, adding to the value available to all members. Our editorial policy for all content specifies that it must explicitly describe the value for the user. For example, the inspiring initiatives being shared via the blog contain ‘lessons learned’ and ‘starter assets’ that another team could use if implementing a similar activity. We also coach leaders and SMEs to deliver and maintain this focus. As a result they provide highly relevant content and are able to engage much more effectively via our trusted
  9. 9. communications channels that are proven to reach the right audience. This ensures the ongoing quality and value of the system to both the communicator and recipient. “Instead of sharing information on lots of blogs, and emails and hoping to reach the right people, the calls and community are a central place for me to share information from WW and actually get feedback on what's missing and needed from the country teams. Thank you!” B&C SME CHQ. Collaboration with cross-functional partners Our Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications has set Brand & Communications the goal of collaborating across IBM to bring the brand to life in every part of the business. In support of this goal we have established strong partnerships and collaborative working practices with leaders and teams from across IBM. As an example, we have an ongoing partnership with HR to promote and enable IBMer-centric initiatives being implemented in support of IBM’s transformation. These include an online collaboration jam to define IBMer behaviours (Client Experience Jam) and the redesign of our annual performance review process (Checkpoint), as well as regular IBMer Engagement Surveys. It is significant that of > 3,000 community members, more than two thirds are in roles outside B&C including HR, IT, Sales and Services, reflecting an accurate picture of what it truly takes to enable a workforce and build a brand: effective collaboration across support functions and client-facing teams – and a respected system to facilitate it. Encouraging digital adoption Given that B&C professionals are also expected to be role models for the adoption of digital and social technologies across IBM, we have been championing the development and sharing of digital skills and expertise for a number of years. We have prepared digital and social skills descriptions for B&C professionals. We curate digital and social learning resources to accompany each skill description, write digital guidance materials and run skills development calls featuring forward thinking from CHQ and the markets including practical ‘how-tos’ and lessons learned. These sessions have included executive blogging, writing for search, succeeding with social listening and more. We also crowd-source digital and social tips and techniques on a web page. We have partnered with the CIO’s office throughout – and in search of active practical skills development opportunities, we partnered with the IT team to run an experimental 48-hour ‘Ask Me Anything’ crowd-sourcing event, to uncover the benefits of social business in IBM. This event was facilitated by a 20 strong team of volunteer SMEs, involved 180 participants and addressed >700 questions, replies & comments.
  10. 10. Figure 6 – ‘Ask Me Anything’ Event Outcomes As a further example, we designed and led a four week action research project to gather insight into how sustainable and pervasive social listening could be enabled within IBM's marketing and communications practice. 16 participants completed guided action learning cycles. A number of participants also went on to reuse the approach to enable their local teams. “The B&C community is key to the adoption of #socialclicks and our transformation in 2015 and I look forward to continued partnership. Thank you!!!” Ed Brill, Vice President - Social Business Deployment and Adoption A powerful business case We use the community metrics described above, together with user feedback to demonstrate the short and long-term business value of the work we do. We are able to build a compelling case for continued investment based solely on productivity improvements from the regular ‘one-stop shop’ leadership call; the use of the toolkits and the fast resolution of questions and issues via the community. Although the return on investment from our work enabling learning and encouraging innovation is more difficult to quantify, it is additional to the productivity-based business case and its added value is clear in the feedback from our users.  “You make sure that the Comms teams are all ‘on the same page’ about a topic… which helps to ensure consistent and high quality communications and that ‘one message’ is given to the IBM population.” Learning & Knowledge Leader, Europe  “It's testimony to the strength and value of this community to see how diverse the participation and engagement is across disciplines and geos. Thank you for nurturing this and for helping us grow as professionals.” CHQ Leader  “Keep up the great work. You work really hard to improve our skills. Keep moving our function to the future.” B&C Leader, North America  “Every Monday I look at the community in order to plan my week. I've found great assets and materials to develop those plans. For example, I found great material to promote Think Academy. Screens had messages, people got tent cards, we gathered people and talked to them about Think Academy and the app, we printed posters and our executives talk about it in our quarterly meetings.” B&C Professional, Latin America
  11. 11.  “This is the best community I have been a part of as it helps get all the stuff I need in one place. I quote this community as an example to many. Kudos to all the folks who keep this alive and vibrant all the time.” B&C Leader Asia Pacific  “The IBM transformation is exciting but also daunting. Part of my position is morale boosting. I want to continue to be inspired and uplifted so I can help others feel the same about IBM, and I feel that the community gives me information to do that.” B&C Professional, Latin America We are keen to share how we apply digital and social approaches to drive innovation with our B&C colleagues in IBM. It is easy to get absorbed by the big moments of innovation when everyone in the organisation is watching. Innovation is also delivered – and sustained – by collaborating to create new opportunities and by building upon each other's ideas and successes. Together we can make step-by-step improvements every day. ------------------------------------ Links to videos and web articles referenced in the text  IBM Think Academy: https://www.youtube.com/user/ibmthinkacademy  IBM’s new brand platform ‘Cognitive Era’: http://www.ibm.com/cognitive/  IBM Cognitive Build: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEQWEiW71e8  IBM New Zealand – Chef Watson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2- 1hLM2TNiw  IBM Japan Sword Art Online Virtual Reality Experience: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2016-03-21/ibm-sword-art-online-virtual- reality-experience-detailed-in-10-minute-video-report/.100047  IBM Mexico 40 Year Anniversary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43TsaqRqNXw  IBM Brazil – Digital Clouds Rain Money: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSM8yoVi6OI&feature=youtu.be  IBM Client Experience Jam: https://www.collaborationjam.com/IBMJam/  IBM Checkpoint: http://fortune.com/2016/02/01/ibm-employee-performance-reviews/ Contacts: Nicky Parkinson and Rowan Hetherington Contact email: nicola.parkinson@uk.ibm.com

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