Social business platform ups corporate ‘gees’ with knowledge sharing, collaboration and reward
It was at a company conference that Robin Haller, MD of Deli Spices, stood up and announced that the company would henceforth be using WyseTalk, Africa’s leading social business software (SBS) platform, for project collaboration and group communication. “The old way just wasn’t working. Teleconferences, video conferences, corporate conferences, e-mail – it was all simply too fragmented, short-lived, disorganised and inefficient,” says Haller.
Decentralised and fragmented
To get an idea of the scope of the problem, Deli Spices is the third-largest supplier of spices to the meat processing industry in South Africa. With 400 employees it is a large enterprise, but its people are spread across its Cape Town manufacturing plant and a range of joint-venture operations in all the major cities.
Haller says the decentralised nature of the business obliges its executives and managers to travel extensively, which makes meetings and collaboration cumbersome. “Our knowledge sharing practices were very deficient, and that was our main issue,” he says. “WyseTalk gives us the opportunity to bridge the gap. When a sales rep encounters new market intelligence, such as new ways in which our customers are using our products or external developments, he or she can upload photographs and begin discussions there and then. Sharing ideas with everyone at the company and encouraging other employees to try similar strategies with their customers. That was the main win for us.”
The WyseTalk team, based in Stellenbosch, managed a phased adoption of the leading-edge SBS platform, starting with the company’s executive. “They bought into it straight away,” says Gys Kappers, CEO of WyseTalk. “That is an important success factor – we feel the business must set the tone of conversations. ‘Water cooler’-style exchanges are fine too, but they must not dominate, or an initiative that begins as a runaway success might fizzle out shortly afterwards for lack of direction.”
Within 90 days, the software was part of the company’s culture and they’ve all but done away with email, he says. “We offer the full suite of SBS services to ease adoption of our platform, so the C-suite gained a rapid understanding of the objectives, organisational requirements and return on investment they could expect by adopting WyseTalk.”
From this auspicious start, WyseTalk went from strength to strength in Deli Spices as its primary means of knowledge sharing, resulting in drastically reduced internal e-mail. A McKinsey Report corroborates this phenomenon, says internal email can be reduced by an average 27% when SBS is introduced in businesses.
Beyond knowledge sharing, the software is also used as a platform to celebrate individual and group achievements, Kappers says. Haller says this “lifted the corporate ‘gees’ dramatically, as Deli Spices’ recognition of people’s achievements became immediate and observable by all. We have a rewards programme for achievers, but it is the ultimate recognition when your big idea is adopted at divisional or even company level. The culture is far more competitive as a result.”
Recognition has further reinforced collaboration and communication, with participation levels spiking since adoption. “Everyone is benefiting from real, practical success strategies developed in the trenches,” says Haller.
In addition, WyseTalk also facilitates knowledge retention within communities, says Kappers. “When new people join Deli Spices, they can get up to speed very quickly as WyseTalk offers central access to all documents and images belonging to a community. It makes for a more fluid induction period.”
In short, WyseTalk accelerated Deli Spices’ performance and output, due to a more open culture as well as intensified collaboration and community engagement. McKinsey again affirms to the validity of this, saying collaboration and productivity increase by an average of 37%, and ideas generation by 32% when an organisation adopts SBS. “In addition, client win rates escalate,” Kappers says. “We see this in many of our clients.”
Having used WyseTalk for internal communities with resounding success, Deli Spices plans to roll out WyseTalk Central in the coming months, which will allow it to incorporate customer input in selected corporate undertakings, for instance new product development. It will also be used to make announcements or conduct surveys.
Kappers says WyseTalk Central offers an excellent way to obtain real-time data, crowd-source ideas, co-create solutions to problems, reward customer loyalty, introduce social CRM and manage corporate reputation in a secure social environment that is owned and controlled by the enterprise.
“We look forward to this next stage,” says Haller. “WyseTalk has shown how much you can do with tighter internal communities. This will cast the net so much wider.”