What’s Next For Collaboration and Internal Communication?

What’s Next For Collaboration and Internal Communication?

Collaboration and internal collaboration is continuing to be a major focus of all businesses, and there were insights from several different industries during the Business Development Institute’s Future of Collaboration and Internal Communications Summit in New York City last month. (Enterprise Strategies Principal Patrick Durando also spoke on increasing the participation of senior executives in enterprise social networks).

Here’s a quick overview of the terrific content shared:


Webcasting & Internal Stakeholders

Trevor Loe, of PR Newswire, described internal webcasting success stories from the utility industry, non-profit entities, and financial institutions, especially benefiting from the ability to easily store and archive webcasts. To launch a successful webcast, he recommended knowing your audience; keeping content simple and easy to understand; being creative and engaging; using natural language and scenarios; and, most importantly, providing a clear call-to-action.

    • Bottom Line: Webcasting is a powerful (and largely underutilized) tool that can connect and inform employees, as long as the goal is clear and the message is well-prepared and well-positioned.

Failing Fast

Ira Gottlieb, of NuWave Communications, interviewed Susan Thomas, Senior Business Systems Manager of Gilt, about corporate culture around collaboration. Gilt focuses on agility with smaller deliverables and emphasizes failing fast–then moving past that failures even more quickly. With their employee leadership philosophy, Gilt concentrates on finding the best employees and creating decentralization around projects, where trust and transparency are critical. Most importantly, Susan stated that businesses (including Gilt) must identify and know exactly what they are solving internally before taking action.

    • Bottom Line: Collaboration happens when failure is not feared, top talent is employed and empowered, and problems are identified before solutions are started.

Employees & ESNs

Nina Kelley-Rumpff stated that 77% of employees never use their enterprise social network (ESN)–adoption is simply not happening. To improve communication in the workplace, social collaboration must surface at the point of decision making. Nina described how SAP implemented SAP JAM for 65,000 global employees and created an internal network to find people with the right information–doubling the use of social tools internally. The challenge at SAP was tailoring training for employees on specific tools to use–a process aided by executive support; showcases; intuitive user interfaces; and other game changers, such as mobile access.

    • Bottom Line: Social collaboration must surface at the point of decision making and training must be customized to prepare employees to use the right tools and ensure enterprise-wide adoption.

Role Of Mobile

The paradigm is changing with mobile devices, according to Jeff Corbin who referenced Michael Saylor’s predictions about mobile technology. He argued that the app is to mobile computing what the URL is to desktop computing. Jeff pointed out that the vast majority of employees are not behind desks and struggle to communicate simultaneously and consistently–leading to disconnection and disengagement. Mobile will help bridge that gap, especially with the power of push notifications, suggesting that email was very 20th Century and push notifications are very 21st Century.

    • Bottom Line: There is no debate that mobile computing is making desktop computing less relevant, and push notifications will play a role in making it likely obsolete in the future.

Social To Business Collaboration

Lori Nitschke, the Director of Digital and Interactive Marketing at Marsh, Inc. an Enterprise Strategies client, described the progress Marsh made with social tools and processes starting in 2011. The corporation struggled to get employees to talk about what mattered to the business and, with changing priorities from a new CEO and CMO in 2012, Marsh consolidated their internal platform using Chatter and experienced tenfold growth. Lori cited several reasons for success: systems integration putting collaboration in a business context; focusing on getting managers to use the system with executive coaching; staged rollout; collaborative company culture that translates online; willingness to take the right risks; and focusing on the ultimate goal. Lori cautioned that the process involved considerable commitment to training and change management, but produced significant results.

    • Bottom Line: Change management and executive mentoring are critical aspects of a successful internal transformation from social to business collaboration and ensuring business objectives are achieved.

What's Next For Collaboration & Internal Communications?See You On “Corporate Tube”

Aaron Wald from Kaltura described the recent trends in video around business, all leading toward YouTube for the enterprise. By 2016, he stated that every organization that wants to be a leader in internal communications will need to deploy a Corporate Tube with effective, value-driven content. As corporate videos become more popular, so do corporate film companies, such as The Story Teller Studios (visit the site here), as corporations are looking for professional videos that they can use for a variety of purposes. There are countless opportunities to make business processes more efficient or streamlined using corporate videos, such as communication from senior leaders, corporate onboarding, and sales training.

    • Bottom Line: Corporate videos are quickly becoming an integral part of an internal communications strategy, especially in onboarding and training.


The 2013 Future of Collaboration and Internal Communications Summit was a well-curated event that highlighted current trends in internal communications, best practices from collaboration leaders, and what to expect in the coming months–including what is needed to stay on top of collaboration. As business evolves toward social business, such internal communication knowledge and insights will become increasingly valuable.