Great article from McKinsey Quarterly (free registration required).
Key topics and conclusions:
– initiatives start at grassroots level
– improves internal communication, in speed and in quality
– facilitates communication with customers
‘ (…) A key theme that emerges from the discussions is that many of these technologies start at a company’s grassroots level.
Because many of these tools are easy to implement, small groups of interested individuals can launch informal pilots to test their viability. “We have been very customer driven and quite ad hoc,” one executive explains. “As we grow we are formalizing the process, but it is still driven by inspiration [and] passion from key stakeholders.” (…)
“Wikis are adding the greatest value,” one executive says. “Blogs and podcasts are more focused outside the organization, supporting sales and marketing efforts. . . . Technology is just the way of doing business.”
In addition, some note that as collaboration tools spread through the organization, they help break down hierarchical and functional boundaries, since they facilitate passing information up, down, and around: “We use a CRM3 package where I can easily find out what my customers like and dislike and have suggestions from the help desk guy on how to improve our service. The message does not need to flow through layers within our organization to reach me.”
(…) “The most valuable aspects today are providing a means for customers to have a dialogue with us. This provides benefits to both parties. If we get something wrong, our customers let us know very quickly and they expect to know when we are going to address it. This rich dialogue also brings us ideas and suggestions on future product developments, which is extremely valuable.” (…) ‘