My Enterprise 2.0 Rollout: 4 Keys to Success

In the first two months after rolling out an enterprise 2.0 suite to improve Facebook-style networking and information sharing, Philips CIO Maarten de Vries saw 10,000-plus employees start using the software. He shares four factors key to the success.

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Thu, July 08, 2010

CIO — Early this year, executives at Philips, a global healthcare, lighting and consumer lifestyle business, initiated talks on selecting and deploying an enterprise 2.0 suite for its 100,000 employees worldwide.

The need for the solution, says CIO Maarten de Vries, was multifaceted. "We had a very dispersed landscape in IT and wanted to create an environment where people could connect better, find each other better and share information better," he says.

These needs aligned with two of the business's key performance indicators: driving enterprise collaboration and productivity. "We work a lot in virtual teams, so we needed to connect better. There is a lot of knowledge in the company, but we needed a better way of unlocking it."

Another need for an enterprise 2.0 solution: Employees, specifically in North America, were already using external sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Yammer to communicate with each other, de Vries says. "They were using all kinds of solutions, so we wanted to create one Philips (PHG) solution under the Philips brand where groups could link up," he says.

After exploring several solutions, de Vries and his team selected Socialcast as its provider for the enterprise collaboration component, primarily for its ease of integration with SharePoint 2010. The suite, which they internally named "Connect Suite," integrated e-mail, SharePoint solutions, chatting, VoIP, Web meeting solutions, Web casting, telepresence and Socialcast's microblogging tool. IT launched a month-long pilot program of Connect Suite with 1,000 users, which de Vries says was hugely successful.

[For more on microblogging, check out "15 Free Enterprise Collaboration Tools."]

In early May, shortly after the pilot concluded, his staff rolled out Connect Suite to the rest of the company. In only eight weeks, the user base grew to 11,000—far exceeding de Vries' expectations. "Originally, our hope was to have 10,000 users by the end of this year," he says. "We've really been taken by surprise; we've been really successful," he says.

De Vries attributes Philips' success to four guiding factors, which he recommends to others considering a deployment of an enterprise 2.0 suite.

[Four Steps to Success for Enterprise Social Media]

1. Begin with a clear strategy. Don't explore an enterprise collaboration solution blindly; have a clear understanding of which issues it will solve and how the company will benefit. Philips wanted to dissuade employees from flocking to external sites—as well as encourage collaboration and communication—so including Socialcast's microblogging component in its suite made sense.

2. Partner with the business. "You have to realize that these are not IT initiatives, these are IT and business initiatives," de Vries says. The deployment was as successful as it was, de Vries says, in part because it aligned directly with the organization's key performance indicators, making the intended ROI transparent from the beginning.

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