Here is the last in a series of notes on the 2011 Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston. This covers the session: Enterprise Social Collaboration & Innovation – Strategy & Implementation. The speaker is Karthik Chakkarapani, IT Director, Technology Solutions & Operation, American Hospital Association.

The session description states: “Consumer-oriented social media platforms are transforming the way that people communicate and accelerating the spread of information at the speed of light. Having an Enterprise Social Collaboration platform also allows organizations to transform the way employees share, learn, collaborate and communicate effectively and efficiently. As organizations move toward greater levels of collaboration due to the changing workforce, economic conditions and the wide availability of collaboration platforms, the drive for innovation from within will happen naturally and quickly. 

This session will provide an overview of Enterprise Social Collaboration at the American Hospital Association, how to develop an effective strategy and implementation plan, best practices, adoption strategies and architecture.”

Karthik looks at emerging technology for the AHA. He said he will share his journey. AHA is a national organization that serves over 5,000 hospitals and many healthcare professionals. They lobby in DC and focus on policy issues. They are now starting to look at social media. They provide many magazines and other services to their members. Collaboration is part of their values. They have many different groups with different member characteristics from researchers to business staff.

There are many silos in AHA and it is hard to break them down. They wanted an integrated solution with one stop for information and an enterprise collaboration platform.  This was their journey. They had 150 communities.  He showed a video they used to educate people on social media. It is well done with facts like – what happens in Vegas – stays on Twitter, Facebook, etc. One in 5 couples meet online. One in five divorces are blamed on Facebook,, YouTube is the second largest search engines, etc. etc. He said this explains the social media and people get it better than any other method.  Then he showed a one minute video on brand monitoring than rounds out the picture.

He said you need to a develop a three or two year road map. They wanted to avoid multiple disconnected applications and have a single sign-on. They are now eight months into production of their social intranet and collaboration platform and were recognized by ComputerWorld for what they did.

He showed the architecture with multiple layers with analytics to make changes. The first layer is the collaboration platform in the cloud with single sign-on to all the SaaS apps. Then he showed a demo, first through a two minute video, and then we looked at the actual system.  The dashboard integrates cloud and enterprise apps like payroll. There are multiple RSS feeds to different topics. There is 95% adoption. Micro-blogging is provided with different layers. Everyone is aware of context. Much of the value flows across projects. You can discover new connections through their work. An example was given of rapid response to a posted question.

There is a dynamic strategy page that links to all projects in terms of strategy alignment so people follow all that is going on. They have eliminated email communication on IT services and updates. It is a two-way conversation as employees can provide feedback on how things can be improved at IT.  There is a calendar view of all AHA events and conferences, along with travel information. They went from 0% to 100% searchable for all travel related issues.

They have eliminated emails within projects. Everything is available on the project page. This makes the life of the project manager easier. Reminds me of what Al Essa did at MIT in 2004. (see An Enterprise 2.0 Poster Child in the IT Department).  All people in the organization can see everything related to the project.

The unified calendar allows people to search by geographic area and other factors. This was not possible to do before. You can also search into historical data.

The Legal group was one of the first groups they wanted to support. They have a large legal group to review all new laws.  There was not a good way to find Legal information before and now it is easy.

One of the biggest challenges was why would I want to share. What is in it for me? This question was addressed with will real examples of the pre and post access to what information people need to do their work. The platform has improved communication, especially up and down levels in the organization.  Strategy alignment has improved. Collaboration has improved. I think it is easy to see why.

They developed a team of champions and did a lot of road shows. They also explained Twitter and Facebook. They said to avoid emails and stop weekly newsletters through email. They provided analytics to detect what works and not works and how to change things. There were mistakes but they were able to identify and address them.  He is part of IT and they made friends with HR because they showed how people can collaborate through the platform.

He closed with the idea form Wikipedia, if you share something like an article, you get more back.1990 rule if you create an article, 9 people update it and 90 read it.  Most useful measures: one example – is important information being read? Who is reading it? When is the best time to send out information?  They changed from 5PM to Tuesday morning at 10AM.

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