Social computing and the collaborative intranet #epem

RichardHare, British American Tobacco is the next presenter. They have 60000 employees. Richard is a Knowledge, Communication and Collaboration Consultant.
He starts out with the question who loves their intranet? And who’s users love their intranet? Not many hands go up.
Complaints about their intranet:
  • Search takes 20 seconds to return meaningless results
  • Content out of date
  • Difficult to navigate when based on hierarchy

… but people still want sites.

They connected the roll out of the content management tool to the roll out of the new corporate brand. This helped pull things together. (He showed several local intranets. Most looked the same.)
Their intranet only has top navigation, no left-hand navigation. Activity updates in the middle, daily news on top. People-centric navigation.
Evaluation of the set-up was done with senior management based card sorting and benchmarking. To define if people can find things and understand what the labels are called.
Social media at British American Tobacco
  • 1997: online communities based on Notes
  • 2004: blogs
  • 2008: social networking

Reason to start had to do with a 2005 survey telling their employees were more afraid to say what they thought. So, they set up communities. But the users needed encouragement. They set up a workshop and wrote a manual on community building. Communities still weren’t flying. So they tied it to the World Cup 2006 and it helped people open up.
Then they opened up the creation of communities. Then moved over to blogging. Also accompanied with some guidelines.
In 2007 they saw social networking taking up speed. So, in 2008 the set up Connect, which is their internal social networking site. This implicitly leads to a people directory. They made a cool visualization with Gephi to show how BAT is connected.
The survey of 2009 showed that employees value these steps and that they are more open (share their voice more openly).
The whole platform is built in-house, based on Lotus Domino.

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