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Connecting Organizational Silos: Taking Knowledge Flow Management to the Next Level with Social Media by Frank Leistner

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CASE STUDY 1: THE HUB (SAS)

A number of the lessons and observations laid out in the book are based on a couple of case studies that I was fortunate enough to observe. For the first, I was closely involved, and able to watch every detail of the process unfold; for the second, I was more remote (geographically and organizationally), but still derived valuable insights from the case.

The first case study is The Hub. The Hub is the ESN that SAS launched in 2011 to support its global staff. It offers the key features that people are used to finding on external social media platforms, including:

  • Posting messages and comments to other users’ posts.
  • Evaluating posts by using a “like” button.
  • Following other users to subscribe to their stream of posts.
  • Sharing links, photographs, and other documents.
  • Creating groups and joining those created by others.
  • Providing features in a central environment so that others can follow conversations.
  • Creating and using descriptive words (tags) to categorize posts and content on the fly.

In order to give some perspective on the case, I will describe the background and environment this ESN was launched into. SAS, a global leader in business analytics software and services, is a privately held software company that employed approximately 12,000 employees in 53 countries at the time The Hub was launched. It is an organization with a considerable number of technically oriented staff and a large group of developers. In 2011, about 24 percent of revenue was ...

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