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VitAL PROCESSES


a brand new perspective on how we work and collaborate. The fact that ideas compete on an equal footing is now a given, and if you’ve got a contribution to make, let’s hear it. It’s not who you know, or where you went to university anymore that gives you your credibility. It can more likely be attributed to your peer approval.


Social moved to mainstream In the view of Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce. com, these attitudes to how we work and collaborate reached a tipping point in 2011, the point at which, in his words, “Social moved to mainstream”. As far as he was concerned the world was made up of social individuals who enjoy using tools to connect and engage, whether at home or work. Put this notion at the heart of your organisation, allow each individual a platform to make a relevant contribution, and the results would speak for themselves. Last year Marc Benioff was ranked by


Forbes as the world’s highest value CEO and Salesforce.com as the world’s most innovative company. So how did they do it, and how did they put the principles of social media to work in their business? The turning point came in 2006 when


Salesforce.com recognised they needed to kick start their business after reaching a point of stagnation. In order to return to the firm’s core values of nimble innovation, they would need to embrace a radically different set of management techniques. In practice this meant major and fundamental changes, in line with the principles of the emerging internet meritocracy: - Managers ceased to play the role of controller and became enablers, allowing self organizing teams to become accountable for their own results.


- Individuals were notable for their contribution, not their rank.


- With more emphasis on the contribution of the individual, rather than the manager, training and development was seen as key to success.


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- Equipping the team with the most up to date methodology, empowered each member of the organisation to play their role to the full.


- The old ‘information is power’ maxim no longer held: Salesforce.com embraced a principle of total openness.


- Everyone had access to all of the information available on any given development project, all of the time.


Are you ready for the ‘Social Enterprise’? Salesforce.com has coined a new term for this type of business model, ‘The Social Enterprise’. The company’s director of product marketing, Xabier Ormazabal, describes it as, “the journey companies are taking to make all of their internal and external processes inherently social”. It’s an approach to management that flows right through the organisation’s structure, and right into the heart of their technology platform. It is their suite of products that are leading the market, providing businesses with the tools to create their own social enterprise. “Nowhere else on the market at present


will you find an enterprise application that embodies the principles of being mobile, social and open to this degree, taking every element of the business and giving it one dynamic platform on which to work,” says Ormazabal. “The question that we need to ask any business before adopting this platform is usually, are you ready to work in a new way?” Out of Salesforce.com’s product suite, Chatter is probably the one product that best embodies the changing attitudes in the workplace. If you look on the website you will see it described as ‘A collaborative application for the enterprise to connect and share information with people at work in real-time’. In practice, it’s the tool that unites every member of the workforce, allowing free exchange of ideas, documents, information, updates, and tearing up the management ‘need to know’ approach as it goes. It runs right through the heart of every division of a business, allowing a platform for


“It has also allowed our own employees to shine. Opening up information across the organisation to all, any member of the team can assist in solving the day to day project issues saving time and money, ultimately producing better more informed results.”


March / April 2012 : VitAL 39


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