The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.

Melanie Turek, Contributor

September 10, 2007

2 Min Read

I recently spoke with Tom Biro, Director of New Media with MWW Group, a PR firm that’s using SocialText to change how it collaborates internally, and with clients. The company is a full-service public relations operation, doing a little of everything for corporate and non-profit clients. With close to 250 employees and offices across the country, MWW Group desperately needed a way to support collaboration among its various teams without requiring endless travel. Biro’s role is focused on Web 2.0, looking at what’s relevant for direct use for the firm and its clients.

Initially, the company thought it could get away with an ordinary Intranet. “I’ve been here about two years and had been using wikis on my own,” says Biro. “Coming in, we were looking to do work on our Intranet. We wanted it to be as easy as possible for our staff—basically to give them whiteboard space to work in. But then we needed solve a few problems, including document management, as well as needing something that would support the virtual workplace, because our clients are located all over the place, as are our teams. We needed to streamline data. We’ve grown really quickly, and we needed that management.”

That’s where SocialText came in. “From a hotel I can log in securely, download and upload files as needed, and work in that space,” says Biro. MWW Group chose the vendor primarily for its excellent pre-sales service, as well as the fact that the design and deployment required almost nothing from MWW’s IT staff, which Biro estimates has put no more than 20 hours into the project over the past year. “That’s critical—they have other things to do with their time,” he says. “I could pick five packages with similar features, but SocialText resonated the most, just because of its ease-of-use.”

MWW Group mainly uses the software internally, although there are a number of clients who use it for very targeted or iterative projects, such as conferences and writing and approving press releases. Biro says about 45% of employees use the wiki regularly, but widespread adoption will take time—and training. As easy as it is to use, he’s found he needs to sit down with people and show them what the software can do. His own team, not surprisingly, collaborates on it exclusively—and he says, he’d never go back.

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