McKinsey’s industry analyses on the value of social collaboration consistently describe the preservation of institutional memory as the most important, enduring benefit of investing in these technologies.

Here’s an example: A post from Virgin Media’s internal community demonstrates the breath taking power, utility and reach of a Jive document. It describes how a person created a useful set of instructions on how to get Jive set-up on an iPhone and iPad. The post was created in October 2014 and is still active over 20 months later. It's clear that the information has become increasingly useful to the community long after the original author left the company. It demonstrates the power of viral, networked sharing and social collaboration.

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Here’s how it works.

  • People share the document with their colleagues.
  • People share the document with groups. Some groups have thousands of members.
  • Every time there’s a comment or share all members get an update in their news stream.
  • Some people will even get email notifications (if it’s switched on and they are following the document in their inbox).
  • When the author updates the information thousands of people are exposed to the change in a non-intrusive, non-invasive way via their news stream.
  • When the author is sunbathing on the beach people are still commenting, liking and sharing the content.
  • Even after the author exits the company, the document lives on and actually increases in value because more people are joining the community over time.
  • The document was first shared with 6 people and over 18 months later it’s exposed in the news stream of over 4,000 people and is still in active use today.

 

Think about this for a moment:

  • You can’t email 4,000 people every time someone comments on a ‘how to’ document you sent them.
  • You can’t email 4,000 people every time you make a small change to the original content; in this case 18 different versions.
  • People can’t access valuable content in your inbox, let alone when you’re on holiday or have left the company.
  • You can’t go back to people you sent an email to 18 months ago and ask them to note a small change in what you sent them.
  • If you had been lucky enough to send it to thousands of people first time round, they certainly won’t appreciate 18 more updates at various, random times over the next 18 months

This alone is worth the investment in social collaboration technologies.   A former CEO of Hewlett Packard said many years ago, “If HP knew what HP knows, it would be three times more profitable.”   That was back in the 1990's when preserving institutional memory in this way wasn't possible.  Today, Jive makes it a simple reality.