Robinson said he had not yet tried the new functionality. The pilot initially did not include the Tibbr mobile client, partly because KPMG wanted to get a new mobile device management regime in place for its iPhone users first. That should be completed within the next month and ought to offer a boost to Tibbr adoption, since so much social media interaction has migrated from the PC to the smart phone, he said.
KPMG's IT organization did consider sanctifying Yammer as the official solution, but rejected it because Yammer is only available as software as a service, with no option for on-premises deployment. "Client confidentiality is hugely important to us," Robinson said. "KPMG has taken some very initial steps into cloud, but the vast majority of our legal jurisdictions and our clients did not want conversations taking place in that cross-border environment."
Tibbr is available as a cloud service, but also for on-premises deployment. KPMG also is in the midst of a smaller trial of Jive Software's enterprise social networking for a few hundred people within its global knowledge management community, Robinson said. The final decision on which platform to deploy globally will be made in the next few months. However, Tibbr is following the same path as some of KPMG's other global technology choices--for example, the current global rollout of SAP also began with a pilot in Australia, which is seen as a large enough market to serve as a good testing ground, he said.
One goal of the enterprise social media program is to help new employees learn their way around the organization more quickly and improve retention, Robinson said. It's typical for turnover to run about 20 percent annually as the business executives of tomorrow, fresh out of school, use a consulting stint as intensive training in business management. However, KPMG also recruits more experienced business executives whom it doesn't want to see slip through its fingers so easily.
"We do have people coming in with an extensive track record in private commerce, and often it's difficult for them to assimilate, coming onboard in a large organization," Robinson said. He sees the online social environment, with its wealth of interest groups, "starting to help with that retention issue."
Another Tibbr customer is iHealth Referral Network, a Houston-area online system that coordinates referrals between physicians as part of a Texas healthcare exchange. Simplifying the referral paperwork is the primary benefit of the service, but to make it more attractive iHealth is using Tibbr to allow doctors to collaborate with peers within their own practice, a hospital, a hospital system, or a broader community of doctors in the region. For example, a cardiologist could target a question to other doctors in his specialty at any of those layers of organization, iHealth President Chris Stephens said. "It's a way to reach multiple groups of people rather than sending emails," he said.
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