While reading The Social Employee by Cheryl and Mark Burgess, I was blown away by the internal collaboration tools that companies like IBM and Cisco use on a daily basis. Throughout the book, Cheryl and Mark, identify several tools leveraged by these monster companies for the primary purpose of increasing interdepartmental collaboration. Although I didn’t have access to these technologies while reading the book, the possibility of one day accessing these tools was exciting. My excitement grew exponentially when I was informed that my IT department was migrating my email account to the Office 365 platform. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Google Drive and jumping ship is going to be difficult. It is nice having access to these tools using my work email, and not needing to jump from one platform to another. The future is an exciting one, and I am thankful that my institution is investing in my innovative ideas by providing me with a space to cultivate them.
In an effort to share my excitement with my colleagues, I wrote the excerpt below on my internal blog. An internal blog! How cool is that? Hopefully I can stir up a little excitement and encourage more my colleagues to drink the Office 365 cool-aide.
Launching Office 365 on our campus was an excellent idea, and I hope my colleagues share my enthusiasm. While many may approach this changeover with trepidation, I encourage you to embrace the change. Office 365 offers a wide array of collaboration tools, many of which can be utilized to break down silos. Breaking down silos promotes innovation and growth within the core of our institution. There are already several innovative ideas floating around our campus, and Office 365 provides the structure needed to engage in a deeper dialogue. Since this discussion is taking place in the virtual world, we will not take away from our day to day responsibilities. Efficiency is KEY!
The first example is the blogging function. As employees, we can use this platform to share our thoughts, and receive feedback from colleagues. Since this communication is behind a firewall, the public will not be able to view our institutional dialogue. Companies like IBM, AT&T, and Cisco use an internal community of social employees to drive the organization towards the larger goals.
Secondly, Office 365 offers a solution called SkyDrive, a platform that functions similarly to the Google Drive. This platform provides collaborators with an opportunity to create documents and work on them remotely. This functionality will also benefit commuter students, as long as faculty can find meaningful ways to integrate the Office 365 collaborative technology into their pedagogy.
Being social isn’t just about making noise on Facebook and Twitter, an important fact that many people often overlook. Employees can be social behind the firewall, and work collaboratively with their colleagues. This experience will equip employees with the necessary competencies to engage customers on external social platforms. Office 365 provides a great space for developing a social employee mindset, and I would encourage you to visit this blog post I wrote about the role a social employee can fill in the context of higher education.
Feedback is welcomed, and I look forward to reading your comments.