Social Business: Slow And Steady Worked For Philips

Social business success isn't impossible. Philips shares five best practices that helped grow its enterprise social network from 400 to 50,000 users.

employees engaged.

"When you deploy a tool like this and you introduce it with a big bang, activity will decline soon after," Agusi said. "A community is not easily created -- it needs to be built, which requires time and effort."

4. Integrate it everywhere.
To ensure employees stayed engaged, Agusi said it was essential that they make Socialcast as prevalent as possible. This meant integrating "like" and comment functionality into their intranet, for example, which connected the two communities.

"If I was following a person who liked an article on the intranet, I would see that in my activity stream," Agusi said. "Normally, I would never go to the IT intranet. But because I am following colleagues in IT, I often end up reading articles they liked and sometimes even comment on it. This really helped us drive conversations around content."

Coincidentally, it's also broken down silos. Forty-three percent of answers to questions employees ask come from a business unit other than the one they're from.

5. Track your success.
From the beginning, Agusi and his team produced management reports to highlight key trends and statistics from the social network. These reports are powerful in demonstrating the value of an enterprise social network, he said.

"One of the things we learned from the data, for example, was that a question asked on Socialcast is answered 54% of the time within an hour and 92% of the time within 24 hours," he said. "These are powerful data points that help bring new members into the community and convince senior executives to pay attention to it," he said.

All businesses should set goals and track success, Agusi advised. "Think about where you want to be in a year and have clear KPIs behind [your goals] to drive your strategy," he said.

Today, Philips Community stands at more than 50,000 strong, but Agusi emphasizes that it took years -- and plenty of patience -- to achieve.

"Our enterprise social network has helped us drive business by simply helping people to be more connected, better informed, and it's helped us do our jobs by providing 50,000 resources for employees to tap into," Agusi said. "But it's not easy and it takes a lot of patience to get there. It's not something that can be done in a month; it's done in years."

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