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A Turkish conglomerate with multiple industrial businesses needed help developing a social business solution that would engage employees and create a more collaborative work culture.
The social networking solution – built on Microsoft SharePoint and NewsGator Social Sites –provides a stable and robust platform through which onboarding of employees is hastened by utilizing contextual information discovery, individualized and departmental training plans, and rewards and recognition. The solution encourages employees to share information and engage in team-based learning — all while capturing the knowledge for future reference. Accenture helped the conglomerate develop a social strategy for business and worked with Microsoft and Avanade to help deploy a new social portal. The portal now provides over 6,000 employees permanent link to the conglomerate, regardless of their location, thereby strengthening the group’s identity and brand. The social solution also reduces e-mail traffic and provides a stable and robust platform for information-sharing, tools and resources, and information, and team-based learning.
The conglomerate oversaw a number of subsidiaries and joint ventures that operate in different sectors and perform unique functions—from manufacturing pipes to distributing automobiles and earthmoving machinery. With its employees spread out across its diverse operations, the conglomerate’s leadership team sought to establish a singular brand aimed at uniting the company’s people around a common culture.
According to Gence Soysal, Microsoft lead architect on the project, “One of our goals was to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing. Since our founding in 1944, the client’s powerful corporate identity and efficient communication channels have contributed significantly to the success of the project. Whenever possible, we want to build on that strong foundation.”
As the company grew, connecting employees around a group identity became increasingly difficult—especially as more and more of its professionals worked at client locations where other corporate brands and cultures were predominant. The conglomerate’s vice president believed that social networking presented a unique opportunity for employees, regardless of location or department, to connect across the organization and realize their position as part of the larger company family.
For help in developing a social business solution that would engage employees and create a more collaborative work culture, the conglomerate turned to Accenture and Microsoft. Several factors influenced the conglomerate’s decision, including Accenture’s deep understanding of its objectives and the potential impact of this project on its workforce, as well as its ability to assess, design, and implement innovative social business strategies. Also important was Accenture’s strong alliance with Microsoft, which the conglomerate called upon to manage the social business solution’s integration with other systems.
As Microsoft’s Gence Soysal stated, “The client was confident that our strong relationship and collaborative approach would yield significant benefits. Over the years, we have successfully worked together on the client’s behalf, applying Accenture’s best-in-class consulting and Microsoft’s leading technologies to help the company restructure its organization and assess its information technology capabilities.”
Resources from Accenture Management Consulting and Accenture Media Agency quickly set out to create a solution aimed at renewing the holding company’s corporate portal. Specifically, the team focused its effort on building a social business solution that would deliver social capabilities across the conglomerate’s member companies, in both Turkish and English. As a first step, Accenture worked closely with the conglomerate to develop a social strategy for the business. In parallel, Microsoft Consulting Services worked to develop an integration strategy with the conglomerate’s existing line of business (LOB) apps and HR systems.
Given the conglomerate’s business and technical requirements, the team decided the solution should be based on Microsoft’s robust SharePoint 2010 collaboration platform and NewsGator’s Social Sites social business software. Accenture knew the powerful combination of SharePoint and Social Sites would provide the conglomerate with an enterprise-class, secure social solution to instill and empower a connected feel within their organization and enable their high performance workforce.
For help in delivering the SharePoint and Social Sites solution—which was the first of its kind in Turkey—Accenture tapped its deep relationship with Avanade, an Accenture majority-owned company dedicated to helping clients maximize returns on their Microsoft investments. Avanade professionals based in Florence, Italy were heavily involved in developing, customizing, and testing the SharePoint and Social Sites applications, and also in deploying the integrated solution across the conglomerate’s enterprise.
As noted by Fabio Chiodini, collaboration and business intelligence director of Avanade Italy, “Together, Accenture and Avanade leveraged our combined experience in social collaboration transformation to guide the client in its successful adoption of Microsoft SharePoint [and NewsGator Social Sites] as a new and powerful social collaboration platform.”
Importantly, the Accenture and Avanade project team also liaised extensively with Microsoft Consulting Services, which coordinated and managed a parallel effort to develop a technical infrastructure strategy for integrating the new solution with the conglomerate’s existing line of business applications and HR systems. Microsoft also lent technical expertise during the portal development phase and assisted in deploying and configuring the SharePoint platform and preformed the integration with the conglomerate’s line of business systems. For its part, Accenture resources at the client site and also from the Accenture Delivery Center in Milan, Italy, managed the entire 18-month effort and spearheaded all functional design and user experience phases of the tool’s development.
The joint team utilized a number of strategic assets—including the Accenture Delivery Methods, NewsGator’s Social Sites software, and Avanade’s Connected Architectures and software development framework—to help keep the program on track and resolve issues as they arose. Notably, Avanade’s framework for software development helped the team record and quickly overcome difficulties associated with translating English content and user interface components to Turkish.
According to Ozlem Kestioglu, Accenture senior manager, “In addition to our use of strategic assets, the project’s success was also due to the high degree of collaboration among the parties involved, including the client’s executive team and dedicated project managers. Ongoing coordination and regular and open communications were critical to keeping our united team focused on its common effort and desired outcome.”
The popularity of the first-of-its-kind portal in Turkey was quickly evident. Within three months of its release, 86 percent of the conglomerate’s more than 5,700 employees logged on to the networking application, posting 39 community events, 1,300 pictures, 626 comments and 2,740 “likes.”
During that same period, the conglomerate’s workers demonstrated the ability of the portal to serve as a powerful platform for business collaboration; they shared knowledge with each other through 2,623 community memberships, 110 shared documents and 1,268 micro-blogs. By sharing their experiences and business problems with their peers in other industry segments, they are often able to gain valuable insights that allow them to resolve issues more quickly and improve customer service. The conglomerate has realized the benefits of reduced communication costs and response times that are a result of a social enterprise — as well as improved productivity and innovation that comes with crowd-sourcing knowledge.
According to Soysal, the portal is an important enabler of the “one company” integration that conglomerate sought. “We have long recognized that social technology has played a critical role in facilitating the sharing of business knowledge and information. Working with Accenture, Avanade, Microsoft, and NewsGator, we are pleased to be the first conglomerate in Turkey to adopt such a powerful social business solution. It is uniting our company and engaging our employees around our brand. It is facilitating the sharing of insights and experiences, which ultimately allows us to better serve our customers. And it is positioning the client as an innovator in the market and a company committed to being a great place to work.”
Today, the conglomerate continues to build upon the success of its new socially-charged portal. Using the new portal’s infrastructure, the company is migrating its legacy portal to their new social environment and encouraging the creation of groups and discussion threads. The goal is to make social business tools a fundamental component of the conglomerate’s operations and a highly differentiating capability on the holding company’s journey to high performance.
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