Realizing the Social Enterprise Vision: Learning from Yahoo and Nikon

October 4, 2011 Appirio

Balakrishna Narasimhan

In the wake of Dreamforce and all the talk about the Social Enterprise, we wanted to put the spotlight on those who are making the social enterprise vision a reality in their organizations.

Since we introduced our Salesforce/Facebook connector a few years ago, Appirio has been working with customers to make different elements of the social enterprise come to life within their organizations. Two such customers, Nikon Instruments and Yahoo!, Inc., shared their stories at Dreamforce 2011 talking about Chatter at Full Potential: Tools, Tips & Tricks.

Nikon’s John Bivona described his company’s initial challenges with Chatter after they simply turned it on without thoroughly thinking about how it would be used, who would be using it, or building a business case for the social enterprise. After partnering with Appirio to reintroduce Chatter to their employees, Nikon saw a huge uptick in communications. This included collaboration between distributed product management teams, cross-selling and collaboration among sales teams, and how employees interacted across the globe. They also customized Chatter to notify users via email as soon as they have been added to a Case Team for any given customer support case. This allowed cross-functional groups and geographies to collaborate in real-time to resolve customer cases more quickly and efficiently.

Hear more about what John has to say about Nikon’s social enterprise.

Yahoo! took a more methodical approach from the start. Tasked with replacing just one internal portal, Kristen Sanders quickly realized that Yahoo! was becoming buried under what she called “digital landfills”. Instead of replacing one outdated, difficult-to-maintain portal with yet another one, she spearheaded an effort to replace 12 internal portals with a single enterprise wide sales collaboration hub built on Salesforce Chatter and Content, called The Source. Partnering with Appirio early on, she gathered requirements from teams across the US, Europe and Asia Pacific and combined that intelligence with investments in change management to ensure The Source was a success right from the start. So successful in fact that everyone in the company is now asking for access to The Source.

Hear more about what Kristen has to say about Yahoo!’s The Source.

So what can we learn from these social enterprise pioneers? Three things:

1) Do not dismiss the social enterprise as clever marketing. Social business processes can change the game and those who fail to change can fall behind competitors who do.

2) Becoming a social enterprise takes more than enabling Chatter in your organization or buying a licence to Radian 6. The social enterprise requires you to rethink the way you engage with customers, the way you collaborate internally and even the way you build your offerings. It’s an enterprise-wide effort that starts with a plan and creates real business impact.

3) Experimenting is good, experimenting with a plan is better. Get started quickly, but make sure you take the time to understand your processes, policies, governance, culture and the way information flows through your organization. Getting concrete about how each will change as you adopt social technologies makes all the difference.

Follow these tips and you too could be on stage talking about your social enterprise!

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