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Social collaboration best practice highlights: Ricoh's story

By Angela Ashenden posted 05-16-2014 10:09


In my posts for this blog, I regularly reference my practice of speaking with organisations to identify best practices that I can share with organisations that are just setting out on their social collaboration journey, and so this month I thought I'd share some highlights of one of the case studies that I've published.


Technology firm Ricoh America's social collaboration story stems - like many other examples in this space - from an intranet consolidation project, as a result of the company's acquisition in 2008 of the US company IKON. In order to maximise the synergies from the acquisition, multiple initiatives were under way to better connect the different parts of the organisation to support sharing of knowledge, expertise and best practices in order to drive efficiencies and maximise opportunities. At the same time, Ricoh's intranet was in need of significant modernisation, and the company's CIO saw this as a great opportunity to re-evaluate the intranet strategy, and to take advantage of new technologies.


Following the technology selection, the newly appointed project leader kicked off a pilot; though it was initially started with 400 pilot users, an open invitation model meant that by the end of the two-month pilot, there were 3,000 people on board. Confident that this was the right solution and approach, over the next 12 months the team worked with business areas to gradually rationalise and migrate content, switching off old intranets and redirecting employees to the new platform. The new intranet was officially launched in April 2013 with all employees having access. Just eight months later, adoption had reached 30% across the 25,000-strong employee base, with intranet contribution at 20%.


While there are many best practices that can be drawn from Ricoh's example, I want to highlight just three here:

  • Investment in training and education - as part of the launch activities, Ricoh developed a substantial library of video resources to help staff understand how to use the platform and get the most out of it, as well as offering regular web conference sessions and face-to-face sessions. More importantly, these continued well beyond the launch, and compulsory training was even introduced for all staff in early 2014.
  • Advocate programme - this voluntary programme was introduced a couple of months after launch, and now has an impressive 200 advocates signed up. These help spread the load for training, communication and support for the new platform, and take part in a quarterly conference call where they share use cases, insights and ideas.
  • Senior sponsorship and involvement - the initiative was a strategic initiative from the start, and the commitment of the CIO and CEO to championing its purpose and encouraging participation has been key to the initiative's success. Equally important was the creation of a "Business Governance Team" which includes directors from across the organisation, and meets regularly via conference call to discuss issues or concerns relating to the intranet, and to share best use cases.

The full report is available here.


If you have a social collaboration success story you'd like to share, please do get in touch! You can reach me at angela @ or via Twitter at @aashenden.

#socialcollaboration #casestudy #bestpractice #MWD #Collaboration #Collaboration