A few days ago I wrote about how I saw social networking sites like Facebook complementing enterprise social sites used internally. This is a nice complement to my view. Serena software has introduced the idea of Facebook Fridays:
Each Friday, employees are granted one hour of personal time to spend on their Facebook profiles and connect with co-workers, customers, family and friends. This initiative will start today and will be rolled out in 18 countries where the company has offices.
Well since this post it appears that Serena is actually going a lot further than I had envisioned:
Serena wanted to promote a greater connection between people. Facebook, which is both free and a great example of web 2.0, seemed to be the right answer. They established a private Facebook group for Serena employees and they built a few simple custom Facebook apps to better enable intranet functions. Now they provide links through Facebook to documents stored securely behind the firewall. Access is just as secure as any other method. Serena employees go to specific people to get relevant information. For example, René and his staff provide press clippings and the HR people provide links to benefits information. In each case you learn about the people providing the information through their Facebook profiles, and not simply the content, itself.
Serena also has public Facebook groups to connect with customers and the broader marketplace. René said that some of his customer conversations have now moved away from email. Clients such as Stewart Cohen at Arbitron and Rajiv Amar at Intuit connect with René and his colleagues through Facebook. René is also one of my Facebook friends and I have noticed that he is usually at the top of the recently updated profile list so I can easily see what he is currently doing.
Serena has found that Facebook has also helped them with recruiting. People send their resumes through Facebook and prospective employees relate their use of the same networking tool that they use in their personal lives. Employee morale has also increased, as well as employee retention, as the whole firm is better connected. A few years ago, many people thought that blogs and business did not go together. We have seen that perception change dramatically. I wonder if the same will be soon said for Facebook and other social networking tools. Thanks to Serena for proving us with an example.
I’m still not sure that this is a great solution, but it’s good to see companies pushing the boundaries. The For Immediate Release Podcast did an interview with Jeremy Burton – CEO of Serena and you can Download the 24-minute conversation here