Enterprise Social Network Moves Ad Agency Into the Future

Ogilvy and Mather builds its own social collaboration system with open-source tools and many, many user interviews.

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"We pursue knowledge," advertising pioneer David Ogilvy once said, "in the way a pig pursues truffles."

Naturally when the IT team at the eponymous Ogilvy and Mather built a global knowledge-management platform in 1999, they called it Truffles. The system, containing every major client case study going back decades, became the foundation for day-to-day business at the agency, which is part of the $16.8 billion WPP Group.

But over time, technology passed Truffles by. Fewer and fewer of the company's 18,000 employees used it. Those who did consulted it as a simple directory for phone numbers or client information.

Instead of upgrading Truffles, CIO Yuri Aguiar and his team did a little digging of their own, and the result is a collaboration system honored with a 2013 CIO 100 award.

First, IT and corporate communications interviewed 120 users around the globe and found that employees wanted a system that worked like their favorite social media tools.

Ogilvy's digital strategy group, which works with the agency's clients, then identified several key requirements, including the ability to create groups with varying levels of security and privacy, and the ability for users to post content without pre-approval from headquarters.

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