Alcatel-Lucent gets social with company communication

Telecommunications giant uses Yammer, Jive to create a more social business

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Slow and steady pays off

Brad Shimmin, principal analyst at market research firm Current Analysis, said it's a great idea for companies to wade slowly into the enterprise 2.0 waters.

"If you roll out your platform and send out an e-mail to everyone saying 'As of Monday, I'll expect everyone to start posting,' the chances of that succeeding are very minimal," Shimmin said. "You'd be imposing additional work on these people. You'd be changing how they do their jobs. But if you put the tool in the room and let them pick it up and figure out themselves how it will best benefit them, it'll be put to good use. If you tell them what to do with it, it will be a detriment."

And that's exactly what happened at Alcatel-Lucent. Adoption happened via word of mouth, and it was a slow and steady progression.

And then Lowe decided to step it up a notch.

Last year, he figured the company needed more than just the ability to microblog. While employees continue to use Yammer, Lowe said he wanted them to have an easy way to find others who might have certain experience or knowledge. He wanted to facilitate communication among people in different departments and on different continents in different time zones.

"We just needed more," said Lowe. "We looked at different solutions. We looked at Newsgator to throw on top of SharePoint, but... I work in the birthplace of Unix, and we had a lot of non-Microsoft users for whom the SharePoint experience wasn't conducive."

After more searching, Lowe found that Jive Software Inc. had what he was looking for.

Jive is an enterprise 2.0 service that uses Facebook-like, social networking tools, such as updates, people search and communication channels, and it applies them to the corporate world.

"Right now, Jive looks to be in the driver's seat as the leader in the corporate social networking tools market, with large analyst firms showing them love and a reasonably impressive customer list," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc. "They've built a lot of features and functions into their various packages. They also have cloud computing, a dedicated host with software as a service, or traditional corporate data center deployment options, which give customers plenty of choices to match their needs."

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