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Becoming a Social Enterprise

Sharing, connecting and Sustaining a Collaborative Social Culture

We wanted to enable a knowledge sharing experience to create a social experience that drives sharing and the right behaviors to streamline information management.
Chaitra Vedullapalli, Sr. Director, Microsoft Field Operations.


The key ingredients to a social enterprise are well beyond social technology tools. Enterprises that are becoming socially enabled are quickly learning that engaged people, simple processes and effective technology play an increasingly important role. First, what does a social enterprise looks like? An effective social enterprise benefits the enterprise by evolving itself organically to become a relevant, connected and involved 2-way interaction between publishers and consumers. Our experience creating a social platform takes the form of InfoPedia, a wiki-style shared, consolidated portal for Microsofts 46,000 field sellers. Our 10-year-old legacy system had reached its limits which gave us an opportunity to make Microsoft a social enterprise and make our sellers more productive and more efficiently realize revenue through shared knowledge. The social enterprise includes several capabilities: Generating content: Employees with subject expertise publish content using a process and technologies to collaborate; discuss and network with each other. Organizing content: Employees need a robust enterprise content management system with right surfacing experience such as search, navigation to increase discoverability. Contributing content: Employees need to see a priority in stories to acquire and understand knowledge easily. Sharing Content: Employees need social capabilities such as Like, Comment with each other. Measuring impact: Quantifying elements of the business receive the most positive results. It took over a year to make this transformation which impacts a large proportion of our employees and, nearly 10,000 people were involved in the effort which involved transforming 76 terabytes of information; 387 portals, 13000 sub-sites and 1600 vendor teams. Here, we share enabled key learning that was captured through the 20 core team members who led the effort. It is hoped that this insight can be shared within and outside of Microsoft as enterprises around the world take the same path.

people simple
Our outcome has been a major consolidation hundreds of separate destinations, reduction in complexity by focusing current, field ready content in one place. The field to focus on their core job since they no longer needed to hunt through dozens of sites or spend hours preparing for customer visits.

What I do, I do for collaboration, sharing and partnerships. This is an essential shift in thinking that is required to embrace the social enterprise
This paper shares our best practices and tips on making it work within Microsoft or any another enterprise organization looking to turn social.


Key Ingredients
1. Empowering people: Skilling Change Leaders & empowering individuals to enable the change and generate support for their organization to mobilize around their new experience. 2. Simple Processes: Inventory analysis; cleansing content; developing topic ownerships, onboarding a division and communicating effectively 3. Culture of Sharing & Simplification: Developing a mindset for sharing and consolidating the enterprise digital experience. 4. Effective Technology: Enabling technologies & processes to maintain content. 5. Impact & Measurement: Is the social working?

2. Share a collaborative vision & metrics: The vision must include a place for everyone involved to feel that they are represented within the vision. 3. Gain executive buy-in when appropriate: There is a positive turning point in the team when the constituent leadership. The core team builds enabling metrics and content to help each constituent earn the buy-in from their executive team. 4. Provide role clarity: The roles often self-emerge in a social project. The types of leaders you define will typically have a specific subject expertise and in our experience, they volunteer If the effort is top-down then the leader of the effort should not more than lip service experience in living social media and fully embracing the openness, flexible and organic nature of such an effort. In your own organization, you should look for individuals with a progressive vision and the ability to generate thought-leading content. They will be your leaders for influence, advocacy and collaboration. They are essential for establishing the teams credibility within the company. The individuals on our team had a multi-faceted skill set that included an industry (vs. purely corporate) view. These individuals could see the big picture and possessed a unique collaborative mentality and their aggregate talent included topical expertise that would help us develop rich and meaningful content. Being socially proactive themselves, they were also able to reach out to their own personal network and act as a catalyst for the change. Once we had the right people, we started with a pitch deck for our key representatives from segments including marketing, enterprise sales, OEM, competitive, fastest-moving technologies and areas where information was evolving quickly. We then invited them to a Workshop and titled the participants as Change Leaders and our goal was to make them successful and recognized for their contribution to the company and to justify their resources. Then, together, we built a unified vision.


What the Future Holds

For us, the platform has been popular and growing so our plan to sustain includes: Fully optimized mobile experience Sustain usage Encourage adoption Promote publishers and SMEs

1: Empowering People
If the effort is a bottom-up effort (as ours was), then getting the right leaders in charge and influencers who have information that requires significant discussion and who would benefit the most. A checklist for this might look like this: 1. Identify initial stakeholders: Where are we entering new markets or promoting new technologies? For example, Microsoft Lync as a new product and topic area, was an ever-evolving technology that required discussion, involvement and frequent updates a perfect candidate for a topic to be part of the early stages of the enterprise social.



2: Simple Processes
At each stage, the team worked on the same step: 1. Inventory analysis: There was a major undertaking to review and catalogue what content to keep, archive and delete and each group defined their own criteria for how they organized into these categories. 2. Content cleansing: Assign content management and development owners 3. Topic and owner development: To watch over content areas, a topic owner was defined for a topic page that contained the priority content and chief landing page for a particular topic. 4. Onboarding a division: Ensuring that divisional leadership was supportive. Since this was not a top-down effort, each change leader needed to gain buy-in from their organization. 5. Communicating: Together, we developed core messages and synchronized timing and then each group would personalize and deliver what was most relevant to their organization. Ample notification time is needed to ensure that any particular stakeholder has the opportunity to plan ahead for adoption of a consolidated.

Greater than Yourself by Steve Farber.

Our experience was that it only takes one or two outliers to block the collective focus on others. The entire team must buy into this mentality. The Learning-to-share paradigm is a shift for many enterprises where employee evaluations put peers in a me mentality of making themselves look good. Not to imply that employees are selfish but this behavior is often driven by factors such as leadership examples, cultural expectation and compensations. The enterprise social effort at Microsoft took place simultaneously with another major initiative around simplification. We all found special challenges in simplification of complex messages and processes, said one stakeholder. We have more work to do in this area. Understanding the target for your social platform is also essential. In our case, we identified Microsoft field sellers, marketers, service delivery and country leaders as the key target to benefit from our social solution. Discussions and surveys started our quest as we learned the key pain points for our field which included this poignant remark: Simplification came about in a massive scale at Microsoft due to a decade of ad-hoc and randomized content sources. Our social effort dramatically simplified the experience for our field which included: 5 navigations became 1 navigation in order to reduce time spent to find relevant information Migrated 5,452 pieces of content Simplified 19 top field-facing brand sites Simplified 2 search engines into 1 search engine Consolidated 1,600 unmanaged vendors to 49 InfoPedia vendors Consolidated over 6,000 unmanaged tags one tagging set on InfoPedia Each organization such as SMSP, DPE has realized a 40-70% content and site consolidation

InfoWeb (legacy system) is the first place I look for information and the last place I find it.

3: Changing culture: Developeing a Mindset for Shaping & Simplification

Learning to share is something we might have thought we mastered in kindergarten, but for enterprises taking on social enablement, there are some formed habits that must be replaced with new frames of mind, primarily the notion of

making others successful.

Additionally, there must be an understanding that the main point of the effort is to make others great so the effort can be greater than yourself, a key concept in...


4: Effective Technologies
There are mountains of social tools available for the enterprise but the essential criteria for the technologies utilized in our project were: Showcase our own technologies in SharePoint and FAST Search Consider legacy apps already widely adopted Determine what can be measured Scale Discoverability Ease of use, adoption Manageability Both cost of managing the platform and the cost to publish and share content

Rhythm of business is the recurring routine of business planning and execution that every company has in place formally or informally. To make our social platform more relevant, we enabled a built-in connection to the business Communication was an essential element that involved and informed stakeholders on a routine basis. Weekly check-ins and sequenced communications ensured that top-level communications rolled properly into the right organizations but were orchestrated from a central source to turn confusion into clarity: We developed a routine course of targeted communication packaging, targeted rhythm of the business, targeted messages and reviews for greatest impact of our marketing mobilization.

Governance can conjure visions of bureaucracy, but in a social enterprise, governance must be democratizing, fruitful and high-value. Policies and processes around social enablement must be as clearly valuable as stop lights are viewed as a useful benefit to the overall flow of traffic. We set out to create policies with clear value so that publishers viewed them as policies for better user experience. Governance around content management in InfoPedia ensures that information is tagged, prioritized, connected and relevant for the long term sustainability of this simpler experience. The engagement involved design reviews, accountability assignments, standards and policies, and of course, good communication. Governance also includes policies that can capture outliers that can risk the overall user experience. In this case, once the majority of adopters are in place with carrots, the stragglers can be adopted with the stick. Here is a sample of our policy that was introduced after the first wave of adopters were secured and we demonstrated success with our audience: Infoweb site owners have been aware of the InfoWeb Platform Retirement for well over a 2 years now and have had adequate notice to act on their transition off of the platform. Transition help and guidance have been provided and therefore, Infoweb Site Owners should be equipped and prepared to successfully decommission their sites by the target decommission date that they have provided. A new policy is being implemented to ensure all sites are successfully decommissioned as committed before June 15th and recover costs of managing decommission changes and escalations.

Enabling the real-world social in the enterprise means getting specific on what your employees (socially adept or not) can plug in. Here are some of those areas:


Improve Collaboration Private groups We use discussion groups. We create private groups and invite individuals into a group discussion. This is good for internal teams working on similar projects. Amplify Communication Blogging We use blogs for sharing news, tips and resources. We focus our blogs with a clear purpose; allow commenting for employee to share their voice. This is implemented witha right editorial process and privacy rules to protect employees with any severe consequences to raise their voice. Microblogging We use micro blogging for broadcasting, public Q&A and sharing resources. This is a big hit and helpsus identify communities to engage. This is implemented with a monitoring process and messaging plans to increase the participation. At Microsoft, this tool is called OfficeTalk. Video A platform like YouTube to share your insights and platform is really a good one. I believe it is a great way for employees to engage and share their voice. Research to understand behaviors Collective Intelligence we use collective intelligence technology to understand behavior and insights via blogs, distribution lists and feeds. This is like a research on employee conversations inside a company. It will work provided employees share their voice in public. Predictive Markets I remember it was implemented however dont have any bias around this technology. What I know is that this required a heavy process to make it effective. Sharing ideas and knowledge Knowledge Sharing-We have a knowledge sharing experience for sharing content easily all in one place. I would say it is the best wiki style topic sharing on sales and marketing content I have encountered which has grown into a vital source of knowledge every day. Ideaxchange This technology allows employees to get involved. You can suggest new products, promote favorite features, and preview upcoming releases.

Trip-and-Fall Alert! Because each member of the team can feel like this project is their own many group members may communicate independently to their set of constituents which may lead to lack of consistency. Keep circling the wagons around your core change leaders to ensure that they can leverage your base message.



5: Impact & Measurement: Is social working for your company?

Most enterprises are driven by scorecards to know where a project starts and where it finishes. The key challenge with a collaborative project such as a social platform is how to share in the management cost. How do you know when your social is effective? When your share is increasing and trust in the content is rising When you see comments and involvement When productivity rises and employees are searching less and finding more relevance Collection and Prioritization of Requirements: There has to be a point person (PM) to collect all the requirements from various sources (team members, customers and management). Management of demand list helps to create roadmaps and ongoing improvement plans. Investment Allocation: This is a juggling act. Investment in new capabilities versus sustaining the experience is a delicate balance. I focus on allocating in capabilities that help my customers achieve their goals. Resource Allocation: Self Service is everyones business in the organization. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities will help in reducing chaos and confusion. At the end of the day customers lose if the resources are not available at the time of need . Listen and Respond: Ask these questions: Am I listening to my customer? What am I doing with the information? Active listening is key to the success of Self Service. Without a listen and respond plan all the effort becomes ineffective. For InfoPedia, our growth rates have been a satisfying hockey stickshaped adoption rate.