Building connections – social media behind the corporate firewall

Building connectionsJust when I was starting to doubt whether there’d be any opportunity to utilise collaboration tools at my new company, we wrap up an offsite meeting with a great overview of the social media vehicles available for employees.

Twitter

Similar to IBM’s Blue Twit, Infosys have created their own internal version of Twitter.  Don’t you just love that about technology companies?!  I’ve been in the tech industry so long that I can barely remember what it’s like to not have all these applications available.  The tool allows employees to post tweets of 160 characters, including the ability to share files and links.  In a large organisation these vehicles are so important as they allow you to connect with your fellow employees and access information that would normally be sitting in people’s heads & on laptops.  I know how long it can take to build a strong network within a complex, multi-national organisation, and tools such as these allow you to bypass that process and reach out beyond your own personal connections.

Blogging

As well as having an external blogging platform, there are over 25,000 internal blogs on a huge variety of subjects, plus a search function that makes it easy to find people with specific expertise.  This has enabled the company to find people with a passion and interest in subjects as diverse as eCommerce, packaged software implementations, technical strategy and online banking, to be identified and staffed on projects based on their fields of interest, rather than just their functional reporting line.

Xobni

There was also a presentation on Xobni, an Outlook Plugin that integrates with social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, & provides email analytics including the ability to see the best time of day to get a response from selected individuals.  Or in some cases, those individuals who you NEVER receive a response from.

Wiki

Plus the Infy wiki allowing open collaboration for all employees.  Whilst we all have access to Sharepoint, a wiki is great for unstructured content, or topics where there is an open timeframe for response. 

Social media has its supporters and detractors, but I believe its benefits far outweigh the negatives.  Within the firewall, these tools facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing and allow employees to connect to each other beyond geographical boundaries.  So far I’ve been lucky to work for organisations that see the value and power of these tools. 

How is your organisation leveraging social media?

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