There’s a great new case study on the Socialtext web site exploring how Amsterdam-based publishing giant Elsevier is using Socialtext’s collaboration platform to significantly improve coordination throughout its global sales and marketing teams.
I’m delighted with this use case, because it encapsulates three key vectors I believe are essential for successful SaaS implementations:
1. It’s strategic. Elsevier sells information products and services, yet prior to using Socialtext, the people in their product, marketing and sales units were trying to coordinate information through email and an “instantly outdated” intranet that required IT support for adding new content. Now everyone has access to workspaces containing the very latest versions of:
- Product collateral and white papers
- Publicity and pricing sales tools
- Market feedback and competitive intelligence
- Presentation slide decks and FAQs
This new capability for seamlessly reading, updating, and sharing crucial business intelligence provides Elsevier with significant competitive advantage.
2. It’s tactical. The team at Elsevier started by reviewing all the known best practices in implementing enterprise social media, both at Socialtext and elsewhere, and methodically implemented the “best of the best.” Then they innovated a few of their own, such as using activity feeds to identify and acknowledge especially prolific contributors. Brie Betz, a solutions marketing manager in Elsevier’s New York office, learned every detail of Socialtext’s workspace page editor, then pushed the limits to produce beautifully-formatted dashboard pages providing detailed, dynamic tag-driven information on each project’s status. Optimizing the visual appearance of the pages took extra time, but the attention to detail was rewarded with a significant increase in the number of active users and number of contributors.
3. It’s iterative. In managing the Elsevier implementation from the Socialtext side, I had the privilege of watching a single pilot project organically grow to become an indispensable tool, as more and more parts of the organization took advantage of their ever-growing knowledge-base. At first, the information in web site pages flowed primarily from the product teams, to marketing, then to sales. Today, they’re closing the loop, using knowledge being captured by account managers and consultants out in the field to reduce the time it takes for Elsevier’s development team to implement new product capabilities.