Aligning Social Collaboration with Business Objectives


At Intel, we’re adopting a model that is similar to how people use social tools in their personal lives to connect with others and find information. My team is responsible for providing social-based solutions that help Intel employees make connections to other employees, find information, and collaborate across organizational and geographical boundaries. While we’ve deployed various social capabilities over the years, last year we took the challenge to deliver better ways to use social collaboration, and the results have been pretty remarkable.

First, we knew that achieving success meant that any new social tool had to work within the tools that employees already use. Employees need a unified experience, not a disruption to their work that makes them go to different places to get their job done. Our new social platform is tightly integrated, so employees can work on regular emails and also comment on social collaboration discussions--all within their normal email client. Providing that integration with their day-to-day tools encourages employees to use the platform as it was intended, without it getting in their way.

We also prioritized robust security features, strong support for mobile platforms, and easy tagging and other ways to help people filter out the noise. You can read more about this project in the paper “Aligning Social Collaboration with Business Objectives.”

One of the project’s big success stories is the internal “Ask-Vote-Answer” feature, which merges social collaboration with crowdsourcing. Intel employees post questions that go into a pool where they are voted on, then a featured person answers the most popular ones. This happens within the integrated social collaboration tool, so employees can participate without any negative impact to their work. When we designed the feature, we paid close attention to scale. Even early in our development process we simulated a range of audience sizes to make sure the tool can easily support a session with as many as 50,000 people or as few as 5.

Collab2.jpgThe first phase we launched was “Take It to the Top,” which drives two-way communication with employees and top-tier Intel executives in monthly, hosted sessions. Never one to think small, our team hosted our first Take It to the Top event in June 2014 with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Intel President Renee James. The session went well, with an estimated 14,000 employees participating. Seven hundred questions and comments were submitted, and 13,000 votes were cast. After the event, Brian and his team said they enjoyed the process and found the interface easy to use. Feedback from other employees was positive too, with many asking when the tool will be available company-wide.

Our next challenge is to roll out “Ask-Vote-Answer” to a broader audience, which involves making the tool completely self-service and including additional capabilities such as web chat. After the tool is live, leaders and managers can use it to roll out initiatives to their teams or discuss new programs, and employees can use it to get ideas for a new project or to share their expertise.

- Sara Browning