Unisys is taking full advantage of the social capabilities of its platform, but within a wider context. "We want to make sure we don't take such a myopic view of social that we don't see how it touches knowledge management and collaboration," said Gloria Burke, director of knowledge and collaboration strategy and governance.
In other words, even as social networking exposes what otherwise might be tacit knowledge (not written down anywhere), part of the goal should be to capture that knowledge in an organized way. Meanwhile, social connections are most valuable when they lead to more intensive collaboration on projects and innovation.
Enterprise social networking adds a dimension beyond what previous knowledge management and collaboration initiatives were able to accomplish at Unisys by providing access to people, not just documents. Previously, "one of the things we struggled with was we weren't able to find subject matter experts easily, and our sales people can't be experts on everything we sell," Burke said. Now, employees are encouraged to tag their profiles with areas of expertise so they will get an automatic notification when someone posts a query about that topic.
Unisys actually has two social collaboration platforms in play: Chatter for the sales teams, in addition to the NewsGator / SharePoint combination as a company-wide platform. One of the goals for this year is to achieve integration between the two platforms' social streams, so employees on each get the notifications they need to see.
As I mentioned in an earlier E2 preview, Unisys is also pushing for truly global social collaboration, investing in making translation technology available to allow its professionals around the world to express themselves in their own language and consume content in their own language. Spanish and Portuguese are the priorities.
"It's really an all-in proposition -- you can't be just a little social," Burke said. "[Otherwise,] all you're really doing is exchanging content silos for social silos." Each nation's organization will still have its own view of the collaboration system, along with nation-specific news feeds, but the content needs to be managed through a common system, or "you lose that transparency social was supposed to bring to the enterprise," Burke explained.