Replacing five business software platforms (website, intranet, extranet, team site, CRM) with one, more useful solution
A fast-growing, social media agency is by design a very fluid and fast paced environment. At 7Summits, we thrive on being creative and collaborative to help solve our client’s problems. By design, we crowd-source idea generation and distribute it across our team to bring out the best ideas and solutions for our clients.
Like most organizations, as we grew, so did the number of software systems to help us manage different areas and functions of our business, from Sales and Marketing, to Operations. Here is a high level outline of those systems and their purposes – it’s by no means exhaustive, but you’ll get the picture:
|Open Social||Sales/Marketing||Numerous||Relationships/Connections, Content Aggregation & Management.|
|Website||Marketing||Jive SBS 3.0||7Summits Marketing & PR|
|Extranet||Operations||Basecamp||Client Onboarding & Management|
|Intranet||Human Resources||SharePoint||Employee communications & Knowledge Management|
|CRM||Sales||SalesForce||Pipeline, Forecast, Contact management & history.|
|Team Site||Account Managements||SharePoint + Email||Internal Project Management|
Lately, we’ve seen a tremendous growth in the number of prospects, clients and employees needed to perform our work, each of which is touched by one or more of these systems in some way. This rapid growth spurt started to highlight inefficiencies that larger organizations are probably feeling as well. They are using these same systems in a more prolific, and therefore limiting, way.
Common issues we experienced include:
- Inefficient effects of using email as the primary communication tool
- Risk of employee and client confusion – where do they go to get what they need?
- Information overload – lots of things in many places
- Version control – effects of redundant content repositories
- No central dashboard for everything
- Duplicate logins, content, contacts
- Impacts of all of this on collaborative working
The aha moment!
After some quick analysis, we realized something. Not only are there inefficiencies in these more traditional systems, but there are a mass duplication of efforts, tasks, and data.
Being a Jive Software Premiere Partner, we often discuss the benefits of Social Business Software (SBS) with our clients and prospects. However, we initially chose it only to manage our public facing website. It dawned on us that we could collapse five different (and antiquated) platforms including our website, intranet, extranet, team site, and CRM system into one solution by leveraging Jive SBS as a replacement. By introducing the benefits of social networking and collaboration, this solution also offers us a unified environment to manage our business lifecycle from acquisition through retention in a much more efficient manner. Imagine logging into one dashboard at the beginning of your day and being able to do everything in one place. That’s something that companies have been wanting for some time – a very exciting prospect that it has finally arrived!
One benefit of being a smaller business is that we can implement wholesale change without having to interrupt hundreds or thousands of users. Having worked at a Fortune 500 company in the past, I realize the impact of any large scale implementation or change to enterprise software. Most large and medium businesses have similar issues and could benefit from leveraging SBS in a similar fashion to consolidate one of more systems.
Some internal goals that we set as benchmarks for this project included:
- Embrace a social business model. Hey, it’s in our DNA.
- Unify our system architecture.
- Remove duplicate content, efforts and tasks
- Facilitate collaboration across all audiences
- Create one login/account for all systems
- Enable cross pollination of content
- Expose and educate SBS benefits for all audiences
- Enable Project Collaboration – and in a way that supports working virtually
- Realize the full benefits of how will it change our working environment?
Our goal in writing this blog and sharing it with the larger Jive and Partner community is to share a common problem and offer a solution. We will be sharing more insights on our agency blog as we report our progress toward executing this effort for our own benefits. We welcome your comments or feedback on this approach.