We are a Social Business

James Davidson | December 4, 2014

A former boss and mentor of mine used this phrase a lot: “We need to eat our own cooking.” This has always stuck with me throughout my career. How can you advocate for social business and technology in a client project, strategy or a technical solution when you’re still using antiquated processes and technologies like email and static intranets? When I started at 7Summits over 4 years ago, we had a vision of becoming the best version of a social business we could be – a shining example of what’s possible for our clients and partners. In one of my first blogs, I shared some early thinking and direction on how we were planning to become a social business. At that time 7Summits had 8 employees (I was number 8), and we had a mix of different technologies and processes for managing our business, mostly adhoc. This included an instance of Jive 3.5 for our external website, Basecamp for managing client projects, Microsoft Office, and hosted Exchange for email.

Eating our own Cooking!

7summits-social-business

Four years later, a lot has changed! We how have more than 70+ employees working from multiple locations and time zones across the United States, including San Francisco, Denver, Milwaukee, Chicago, Austin, and New York. We’ve implemented a number of social business technology solutions and processes we use daily across our organization. These include:

  • Recruitment and New Employee Onboarding: Our CEO, Director of Recruitment and employees use a combination of social recruiting tools including LinkedIn and Jobvite, to network with, find and screen talent. We actively source and refer candidates through our employees and their extended social networks.
  • Branding and Marketing: We use a combination of WordPress and Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Radian 6 and Pardot) to listen, monitor and manage our digital marketing activities. These tools are seamlessly integrated back into our instance of Salesforce CRM and Chatter to track inquiries and leads. Internal collaboration of employees around these initiatives happens within our instance of Jive known as The Hive, which is also linked to Salesforce.
  • Employee Engagement: All of our employees regularly use our social intranet, The Hive, which is built on both Jive and Salesforce to centralize communication, track sales efforts, find expertise and resources, manage projects, and facilitate team collaboration. Whether you’re looking for a document template, a business process, project financials, a team member by department / skillset, or the latest industry research, it’s all in one place and accessible from any device. Gone are the days of the network shared drive. Our social intranet file system is linked directly with Box cloud storage, so every document is synced and available via the Box website and/or mobile app, as well as natively on our social intranet. We also use Join.me and Google Apps to engage our clients, partners and employees in real-time in virtual meetings, video hangouts and instant messaging.
  • Customer Collaboration: Similar to our social intranet, The Peak is our social extranet environment to collaborate with our clients on their projects. All of our project documentation, discussions, deliverables and requirements are managed in one place with complete privacy and security.
  • Communication and Documents: Email is still a reality, as well as desktop publishing. But now we can seamlessly move our email conversations to our instances of Salesforce and Jive to centralize communication and foster internal collaboration. The same is true for documents created in tools like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. These programs can all be synced with Salesforce, Jive and Box to ensure the appropriate context and workflow actions occur.

Social business is not just a technology solution, but a combination of people, business processes and integrated technologies that work together putting you at the center. While we are always tweaking, optimizing, extending and adjusting our processes and underlining technology, one thing is clear to me – I can’t imagine going back to the “old way” of business collaboration that included 100+ emails a day, redundant internal meetings and conference calls, silos and disconnected teams, a myriad of websites, portals, extranets and intranets and a combination of network drives to navigate. There is a better way. Come and join the revolution in the way we work!

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