The release of my Social Collaboration For Dummies book turned out to be just in time for JiveWorld13, the Jive Software user conference I participated in. I do mean just in time — the books turned up in the warehouse at Wiley the Friday before the event and had to be overnighted to Los Vegas to catch up with me.
In addition to a holding a book signing at the show, I participated on an analysts panel and conducted a series of onstage interviews with JiveWorld customers Allstate, American Airlines, and Steelcase.
One of the neat things about the Allstate story is they tried instituting social collaboration a few years ago but very tentatively, deciding at that time that employees associated with crucial operations such as claims shouldn’t have access to the enterprise social network because it might be a distraction to them. Today, the organization has done a 180 — figuring out that the claims group needs this technology precisely because it is so critical. In part, that’s because social collaboration could fill a knowledge transfer role, giving younger workers a medium for getting questions answered by more experienced workers, with the record of those Q&A interactions preserved online. With the addition of a mobile client, the social network has also become more useful to personnel in the field, who often need to look up a document or get a question answered while on the go.
Allstate and Steelcase both had a combination of stories about internal social networking and the creation of collaboration groups for external constituencies (independent insurance agents and furniture dealers, respectively).
American Airlines was using the social collaboration network partly to demonstrate a new spirit of transparency and cooperation to a workforce badgered by years of turmoil. At the same time, it is moving cautiously in how it opens up that resource because of workforce and union tensions. Another common large company use for social collaboration is to bridge the gaps between business units brought together through mergers and acquisitions, and American has some plans to use the network to help it integrate United Airlines — assuming that one survives a current challenge by the justice department.