By Gloria Lombardi

With offices throughout the UK, plus employees working from home, brightsolid needed a better way for teams to work together. Email did not offer real-time group communication.

We caught up with Katie Dawn Armstrong (picture right), brightsolid online technology’s marketing executive, to know more about the company’s internal social media journey through MangoApps.

Choosing the social platform

Back in May 2012, brightsolid needed a secure, central platform that supported the organisational culture and values:

  • brightsolid family core strengths,
  • flexible minds
  • short term focus, long term view
  • sharing knowledge is the real power
  • surpass expectations
  • think outside the cube

These values direct brightsolid’s actions and the way they do business.

The platform needed to be ‘easy-to-adopt’ and had to aid internal communication between departments and across seas. brightsolid are a multi-national firm and a central social platform would allow all offices to communicate on their own time zone.

“We also wanted a more effective way of tracking project progress and achievements as well as a single repository for all documents, information and conversations instead of isolated email communication and file sharing”, Katie adds.

The system needed be user friendly, both in terms of functionality and in look and feel.

Key steps in adoption

The organisation needed to ensure that the business benefits of MangoApps were communicated before implementing the platform and “support has been essential”, Katie emphasises.

“Training can sometimes be seen as an additional cost and waste of money. However MangoApps is so simple to use that key users of the platform in brightsolid, run workshops to help ‘share the knowledge’ on how we best use Mango, how other people can make it work for them in line with their specific responsibilities as well as outlining new feature updates and best practices. Of course, if someone finds something interesting that will help others to use the system more effectively, they post a message in Mango. So, employees actually use the platform to make it work better.”

Leadership’s visibility and buy-in played also a big role.

“Our leaders champion the platform. Richard Higgs – brightsolid online technology’s Managing Director, is a very forward thinking professional full of enthusiasm for contemporary ways of doing business with a key focus on being as operationally efficient as we can be. He has supported Mango form the start. We are a technology company. We need like to communicate in a 21st century way that enables better practice”.

Roles and challenges for the internal communications function

Katie explains the key implementation driver was increased knowledge and information sharing.

“We have also found that new joiners to brightsolid get up to speed very quickly with everyone and everything relating to the company by using MangoApps. The profile directory contains all employees with a picture and contact details (if you like, you can also pull all the information from your LinkedIn profile directly into Mango with one click of a button – this helps people search for expertise based on individuals’ knowledge, background and experience).”

The biggest challenge for brightsolid is making sure that each individual employee gets the most out of the platform and learns, in the simplest way possible, how to best use Mango for their job function.

“There is no rule book to adoption other than you need collective buy in to make it work, but when people see how beneficial MangoApps is to their individual job role, the organizational alignment as a whole, and how much time it saves….it’s a no brainer.”

Positive results

To date, 75% of the organisation use MangoApps daily, or at very least weekly.

MangoApps has made a visibly positive impact on every area of the business and employees feel more connected to the wider organisation and business objectives.

“The projects tracker is nice because it lets everyone see key achievements and milestones that have been reached. It creates a sense of community in a very positive way and allows us to reflect on what business practices are working best, enabling operational excellence.”

Katie gives some examples of popular Mango features:

Video Huddle: this function allows emplyees to join cross national video conferencing in real time.

Groups: the IT service desk group is one of the most regularly used groups in brightsolid MangoApps. It contains documents, lessons learned, large files and practice codes that enable process efficiency and swift action. Similarly, the HR group is also popular because it is easy for people to access holiday requests, expenses claims and things like that.

Document sharing, mobile access (secure) and IM (group and individual). IM should also be in bold here as it is a function.

Guest user functions (for customers and partners) has also proved a very good way of engaging with relevant people.

Among the major benefits so far, MangoApps has helped to facilitate:

Effortless sharing of large files: brightsolid often needs to share files in excess of 50MB both internally and externally. While this is not possible over email, MangoApps made it simple to share large files, even over 200 MB files.

Knowledge sharing: employees can easily share knowledge, links updates with others. The social nature of MangoApps made it effortless for users to share short updates.

Getting help: brightsolid employees found they could find answers quickly by posting a question in the relevant group of MangoApps, or they could use the search bar – which automatically searches the whole platform for the most relevant documents and content.

Finding experts: MangoApps also made it easy to find experts within the company. Fully searchable profiles, with the ability to populate from Active Directory or import from LinkedIn, allows employees to get to know each other.

Managing projects and tasks: teams can now come together online to get work done. Employees stay updated on the current status of all their project teams via their MangoApps activity stream. Team members can always see which tasks still need to be completed. If they finish early, they can pick up extra tasks from the project task pool.

From a data measurement perspective, Katie shares some data which reflects the positive results from the adoption.

“In May 2012 there were 20 messages per day posted. By February 2013, there were 300 messages per day posted.

We have 82 active groups and over 100 active projects. Projects are then archived when they are completed.

Over 10 GB of files have been added to Mango over the last year and on average over 110 people log in daily with over 200 unique users login each week (our organisation has around 250 employees)”.

A ‘bright and solid’ future with MangoApps

Since brightsolid adopted MangoApps, staff work more efficiently. Employees are now connecting, discussing, and collaborating on MangoApps, drastically reducing the need for internal emails.

Internal projects are now managed on the social intranet, where employees receive updates to their activity stream in real-time to alert them when colleagues complete tasks, edit files, need their help, or need to discuss an issue. Sharing files internally or externally, even when mobile, is now a breeze.

brighsolid intend to continue to use MangoApps to improve knowledge and information sharing across the organisation.

The organisation will continue to work closely with departments and individuals to ensure everyone understands how MangoApps can work for them and ultimately make their life easier.

Finally, when asking Katie for any recommendations for other internal communicators that would like to use MangoApps inside their organisations, she replies:

“Make a list of your key organisational challenges and communicate clearly how MangoApps solves these before implementation. This aids adoption. Social collaborating platforms are not just a business tool…they are a way of life and only work if people are ready to get smart, get social and get things done.”