Here in the southern hemisphere, you have to keep you eyes open for good case studies of local organisations taking advantage of the technologies that can enable them to become socially designed businesses.

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My friends at Socialtext recently pointed out a couple of interesting local examples:
Hayes Knight
Hayes Knight is a good example of using social software to support a core business process, which is accounting knowledge creation and sharing:

Signals allows us to respond faster… The speed with which we’re answering questions has been cut in half, and is a full 7−8 minutes faster on average. The wonderful thing is, as we capture these great answers inside of Socialtext workspaces, we also cut back on repetition where questions cover the same issue and build best of breed responses and knowledge on key issues of importance. It allows us to serve our customers faster and more consistently.

Dennis Howlett even sang the praises of Hayes Knight, highlighting that their system:

trumps most knowledge management systems that are inherently document based. Documents are far harder to corral and keep up to date than digital assets.

I expect you are thinking this is just another wiki case study, right? But in fact part of the business process includes using Socialtext Connect to integrate with their hosted CRM system, Salesforce. This pulls information through Signals into Workspaces.
SA Government
The SA government example is also interesting. We’ve been saying for a while now that the Gov 2.0 crowd may be missing an important point: To be social on the outside, you need to be social on the inside. However, in this example we can see this process of organisational learning playing out through the use of social software (in this case, microblogging):

Several managers advocated in favor of holding and keeping the conversations in smaller groups, while others pushed for more enterprise wide discussions. A member of the risk management group raised concerns about security. A project manager gave a counter-example, talking about value she sees in asking questions and getting answers from the larger group.

Eventually, the manager weighed in. He said that the goal they were striving for in their use of social software was increased transparency. Part of the goal was to move the culture toward greater openness and transparency. Sure, there is the possibility that someone might make a mistake. But people use email every day and make decisions about what information to share with whom. It’s better to share the goals and trust people’s judgement.

If you haven’t looked a Socialtext before or had written it off as just an enterprise wiki, I really recommend taking another look. The Hayes Knight case study in particular demonstrates to me that Socialtext have a good vision that puts their platform up there as one of the leaders in this space.
Originally posted here.

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