Hello and happy Friday! Here at Bloomfire, we spend all day every day talking to people about their business and how we can help create a culture of community learning, content-sharing and real-time access to information. We love to spread the gospel of social enterprise because we know that in today’s culture, you have to be nimble, social and move at the speed of mouse clicks.
What we learn from the companies we talk to is that often they try one thing to solve say the social piece, one way to solve the content piece and another way to solve the learning and education piece, without actually identifying their own needs and goals. The result is wasted time and resources, which never sits well. You have to do due diligence and do the research, right? But are you asking the wrong questions? If you are, you’re going to get the wrong answers and wrong answers lead to wrong decisions and wrong decisions lead to Plan B’s, which…you get the point.
Here’s a great, real example of one of our smart customers asking all the right questions:
At Bechtel, a global engineering and construction company, projects are the heart of the business. With 52,000 employees worldwide, the challenge to find one tool versus many may have seemed impossible, but Don Sproul and Brad Dowell, two experienced safety professional supervisors were up to the task.
Don explains, “Brad and I shared frustrations about not having a common place at Bechtel to share best practices, find out about new technologies, and find out about what other projects are doing. This issue was even more challenging for new employees. Generally the only people who learn what other projects are doing are managers within a business line. Brad and I wanted to exchange information and ideas, and get validation from other sites” (Drexler & Mukerji).
What Brad and Don do here is identify their needs, which is what you and every business out there should do first and foremost before selecting everything a piece of software, a coffee maker or an intern. This may sound simple, but in fact, companies do it backwards all the time, wasting precious time and resources researching the wrong solutions. Maybe you need a Learning Management System. Is a company blog the right move? Probably not. Perhaps you need to share content but the only resource you have currently in use is email. Shall we talk about the joys of digging through an inbox? No. The point is, you have to know your business, understand your needs and then make a decision about tools. Trying to make tools work for you instead of the other way around is like trying to use an ink pen to hammer a nail.
Bechtel chose Bloomfire as their tool and in their internal dissemination of the product, they say it better than I can, so I’ll leave you with their excellent assessment of how we became their first choice. They asked:
“If you are tired of reinventing the wheel, if you want answers without having to look through six different places, this site may be for you. If you have ideas and knowledge you want to share, if you want to learn what people in other disciplines, sites, and GBUs in Bechtel are doing, this site may be for you. If you want to locate an old school mate or find out what people have been doing in the last 15 minutes, you may want to go someplace else. (If the #$%@ has hit the fan and you need to talk to someone who’s been there before, this site may help)” (Drexler & Mukerji).
Source: Drexler, Paul & Ani Mukerji, Boots On The Ground: Introducing A Community of Practice at Bechtel. Learning Solutions Magazine, Jan 16, 2012. http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/822/boots-on-the-ground-introducing-a-community-of-practice-at-bechtel