Monday, July 28, 2008

Facebook Intranet at Serena

Do you want to know more about how Serena started and uses Facebook as their Intranet? I do!
Well, Andrew McAfee is keeping us posted. He (and Bill Ives) have written about it before (and I've pointed to those posts before here and here). Now McAfee serves us with an interesting long post with an interview with 2 Serena people on this topic. Go ahead and read it all. Here are some excerpts.

Reasons to use Facebook as their Intranet:
A third, and what we believe is a radical thought, is that most Intranets are built on a wrong assumption. They’re fundamentally built to make content available to employees and trickle only a tiny bit to customers. We believe that the vast majority of content an organization produces is customer facing, with only a trickle back behind the firewall for truly proprietary materials. This belief achieves two major goals: customers are better served and receive better and more frequent
communication in their language, and rather than companies pushing it through email (the "most evil" application of modern times) customers can pull it at any time. (...) We share the common belief that work and home lives are starting to become intertwined.
Answer to the question if Facebook isn't too open (confidential information etc.):
You’ll notice that we do all of this completely out in the open. Why? Because we believe Serena Software is a living entity, that companies should be personified as much as possible. We want customers, vendors, partners, prospective employees and anyone else who is interested to be able to easily find out more about our company. We want to be approachable. (...) Often we hear, "aren’t you concerned about confidential information being put on Facebook (or the internet in general)?", our response is "if someone wants to release confidential information about your company maliciously they will find a way to release
it".
Do they have a policy how employees may use Facebook/their Intranet:
While we can certainly see why people might take offense to certain topics and/or opinions we have not changed our communications policy despite our social networking initiatives. At the end of the day, we trust our employees to use common sense. We consistently tell them "be smart, do what you think is right".
Should others also use Facebook as their Intranet?

We’ve only seen benefits so far, and feel that our employees are all gaining immeasurably because of it. The first question companies should consider is "what is the corporate culture we are looking to create?" The answer to that question will dictate how you move forward.

I'm curious what you think about this initiative. Do you know of other companies also doing this?

In the interview it says they didn't discard their "old intranet". I'm curious what kind of data/information they still have on there. Or to restate that: how open can/may a company really be?

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