Internal Microblogging To Enhance Corporate Collaboration

20 Sep

In this week’s blog post, I’m going to talk about microblogging. You must think “God! Another tortuous word that only nerds use”. But I’m sure you are all familiar with Twitter and therefore already familiar with today’s topic! Let’s clarify with an example what exactly microblogging is and how useful it can be for businesses.

Airservices is a government-owned corporation responsible for the safe, secure and efficient management of the Australian airspace. To manage the air traffic operations, they provide the aviation industry with aeronautical data, telecommunications, navigation services and aviation rescue and fire fighting services.

The company in numbers:

  • 3900 employees
  • 950 air traffic controllers
  • 2 centres in Melbourne and Brisbane
  • 28 towers at international and regional airports
  • manage traffic operations for 80 million passengers and four million flights every year

As you can imagine, safety is the most important consideration for this company. To ensure the integrity of Australian’s air navigation system it is therefore critical that the firm communicate with its different stakeholders, including Air Traffic Control (ATC), engineers, technicians, firefighters, defense and other external service providers, smoothly, accurately and in a timely manner. At the moment, all of this communication occurs either via recorded phone calls or emails.

Phone calls are instantaneous but on the other hand, misunderstandings can easily happen in spoken language. Emails are detailed and easy to access later on, but might lack of timeliness. Furthermore, going through emails overload is time consuming and can lead to employees loosing focus, and missing out critical information.

To enhance corporate collaboration and make sure that information flows seamlessly, I would advise Airservices to implement a microblogging strategy.

What is microblogging?

Blogging, microblogging, web 2.0 tools, social media… It’s easy to get confused by all these technical terms, so I’m going to try to explain what makes microblogging so special.

Microblogging allows subscribers to broadcast short messages to other subscribers of the service. Microposts can be made public online and/or distributed to a private group of subscribers. The appeal of microblogging is both its immediacy and portability. Posts are quick to write (typically 140 – 200 characters) and instantly consumable by readers on a variety of computing devices, including cell phones. To summarize, you can think of microblogging as a digital newspaper, which updates itself in real time after every single new posting.

What might be the benefits of microblogging for Airservices?

  • Share latest updates instantaneously: Which is important for Airservices when they want to communicate about timely issues. For example, keep Air Traffic Control updated about service outage status.
  • Cut down email volume and redundancy inherent in email communication: The message only need to be posted once and it is broadcasted to all concerned people.
  • Information is easy to understand and precise: Because microposts are expressed in a short, informal format, employees need to go straight to the point and eliminate all unnecessary information.
  • Keep record of conversations: Airservices can easily access their conversation feeds online, instead of having to listen to a recorded phone conversation. Information is all the more easier to find as threads can be organized into categories, using hashtags.
  • Enhance overall company productivity through improving channels of communication.

Twitter is obviously the leading microblogging tool, however I would suggest Airservices to use Yammer as this tool is precisely designed for corporate collaboration and would probably be perceived as more secure regarding the disclosure of private information, since your Yammer network is only composed of people who share your company’s email address.

Some companies already managed to rip great benefits from the use of Yammer:

  • Suncorp – Overcame barriers to collaboration, providing instant connection for people, teams, informal networks, communities of practice and other shared interest groups.
  • Dachis Group – Dachis Group has woven Yammer into its daily workflow, allowing easy company-wide collaboration
  • Philz Coffee – Uses Yammer for internal business communication on the management network, and as a virtual office where Philz employees can connect to one another on the Community network

To wrap up I will just talk about some key points to bear in mind while implementing this microblogging strategy:

  • Define outcomes and benefits expected
  • Create clear microblogging guidelines
  • Train employees on how to use the tool
  • Create a microblogging policy

Can you think of some other tactics to implement this strategy? Do you think that some dangers can be related to the use of such technology?

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12 Responses to “Internal Microblogging To Enhance Corporate Collaboration”

  1. candiceruddle September 22, 2012 at 8:57 PM #

    Hi Aurelie. I really like your post. Very informative, and it’s communicated in a way that is easy to understand and easy to read. I like points that you’ve raised that should be considered prior to implementing micro blogging. I can see how a tool that was intended to be for business use could quickly degrade into a way for staff to simply chat to each other if guidelines and rules are not properly put in place.

    I also like the idea of defining expected outcomes and the purpose for the service prior to rolling it out. That way when it comes time to review whether or not it has been a success, they can easily measure the results against objectives that they were aiming to achieve.

    Great job.

    • aureliequt October 5, 2012 at 10:40 PM #

      Hi Candice,

      As you highlighted it is really important to come up with a strategy to implement microblogging or any other new web 2.0 tools in an organisation.
      3 steps are essential in any business strategy implementation:
      – Have a motivational leadership spread the purpose and the value of the strategy to employees
      – Turn the strategy into action: bring it to life! Train your employees, clarify processes, distribute the different tasks to employees…
      – Measure performance and adjust

      Failure to follow these steps might lead to employees lack of interest in or misusage of the technology.

  2. Hi Aurelie,

    Good and enjoyable as usual! starting from the basics and building up to implementation. Really good approach for outsiders.

    I would like to suggest that more specific examples could be included of how Airservices could use the system to improve navigation, aircontrol, fire-fighters, etc. in order to give a more practical view of the situation.

    Cheers,

    Jacques

    • aureliequt October 5, 2012 at 8:02 PM #

      Thank you Jacques for your feedback and piece of advice.
      I agree that I tend to focus to much on the theory instead of providing practical examples. I will try to work on that.

      Feel free to drop by again later to see if I improved 😉

      Aurélie.

  3. paulbrouard October 7, 2012 at 8:39 PM #

    Hey Aurelie!

    Great post you wrote here, easy to read and very informative. I actually didn’t know about Yammer I will definitely make sure to read more about this tool! Sounds indeed effective for the company you are dealing with.

    I see one aspect that you could think of for implementing your strategy. It is how to deal with so many employees to train. Do you think you can train them at the same time or do you want to start with a particular service? Introducing a tool for that many employees at the same time might be first really hard and may weaken the company during the training time don’t you think?

    Thank you for keeping your post always interesting and well written!

    See you soon,
    Paul

    • aureliequt October 8, 2012 at 10:42 PM #

      Hi Paul,

      I’m glad you discovered something reading my post. If you want to discover the some of the usages of Yammer in a company I advise you to read this informative article: http://www.thesocialwhat.com/5-ways-to-use-yammer/.

      As for the training, I think it should be staged, so that the tool is implemented slowly in the company. This could be done department by department with focusing first on good communicators willing to invest time and energy to blog regularly. They could then set an example for other employees more reluctant to change and use new technologies.

      As you highlighted, implementing microblogging is not about revolution but evolution towards a better organized, more productive company.

      Aurélie.

      • paulbrouard October 8, 2012 at 10:57 PM #

        Thanks for the link! I agree with your idea to first focus the departments or employees that are more interested and open to these new tools. It will definitely make the implementation more easy as those who were first reluctant may become interested when understanding how productive it can be!

        Hope you had a good week end see you thursday!
        Paul

  4. Matt08H October 11, 2012 at 1:40 PM #

    Hi Aurélie,

    Yammer completely crossed my mind! I have heard of it before, but I didn’t even consider it when I wrote my blog post. I do really like the idea of a social communication stream within businesses. It allows for easy communication between staff and can often lead to great ideas.

    – Matt

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] read and commented on my post you can also check out the posts of my other team members: here, here and […]

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