Thursday, 22 September 2011

Flexible working and social media at Virgin Media

Next session from Virgin Media on a pilot they're undertaking about flexible working and social media

They have 20k employees in 800 UK sites. High amount of travel and entertainment expenditure. Very email centric. Lot of voice conferences.

A number of drivers for change including cost savings in travel and hotels. Also improving the experience for employees and improving the way people interact with each other. Their property footprint is high with only 45% utilisation so efficiencies needed there.

Obviously another driver is the trend towards consumerisation of IT. The best toys are now at home and everyone wants to use them, especially the execs with their tablet devices. The consumer experience is being defined by Apple and Google. Bring your own device, any device any time, and
enterprise apps need to look like consumer apps.

So, they Introduced Quad, social software from Cisco, and WebEx for video conferencing

In space terms, this has enabled a shift to shared spaces, more breakout spaces, less offices and cubicles. Wireless everywhere. Also removed loneliness of home working. They've seen a huge increase in flexible and mobile working.

Annual benefits have seen £5m savings in property and £2m savings in expenses.
Big increase in productivity, as staff have more time with less travel. Staff satisfaction has improved as has their work life balance.

There were one off costs in terms of infrastructure and licences, but these have been recovered.

Introduction of WebEx, especially video has made a huge difference to the organisation. Used for training, troubleshooting, meetings, working from home discussions.

Quad has created the opportunity for serendipity. Filtered, relevant, personalised information comes to you. The demise of the inbox. You find stuff you didn't know you needed to know. Also enables conversations between people that are previously unknown to each other. New relationships have been built.
Enables discovery of skills in people, and the unlocking of the power of workforce. Can ask question across the organisation or in a community. Very good search capability.

Good example of a major network outage. 1 engineer in a data centre used quad to find the engineer who knew who to fix it. He was in a hospital waiting room, luckily with his laptop. With the use of quad, WebEx and remote log in, he fixed it.

Virgin Media are currently running a pilot with 1000 people. Good take up, lots of WebEx sessions initiated from Quad. Lots of communities formed.

They've also seen evidence of the social software rule, which I'd never heard before of 1:9:90. 1 content creator 9 commenters 90 lurkers, apparently exemplified by Twitter.

The lessons they learned:
Preparation is key. Understand the business. Do lots of research. Have clear goals and objects, and know what you're measuring
Won't be successful without board level sponsorship and participation
Breadth and depth of Quad gave users choice of platforms which is essential.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Chris Barran said...

Bet the engineer in the hospital waiting room was pleased.

Chris Sexton said...

My worry was what was he doing with a laptop in the hospital waiting room anyway!