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Collaboration: multipurpose solutions

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When ONA Investigación deployed software, eXo provided initial support, after which the cosmetics company was able to maintain the eXo Platform on its own. Twenty different workspaces were set up to support departments including finance, marketing, administration and laboratory. The sales office workspaces were organized to reflect the sales regions. Other workspaces were set up to support functional areas such as logistic systems, delivery and legislation related to cosmetics.

Now that eXo Platform is in place and provides numerous mechanisms for collaboration, ONA Investigación can communicate more efficiently and share information through the activity stream. Brochures, training materials and purchase orders are among the types of information that are now centrally accessible. In addition, ONA Investigación uses eXo Platform to host meetings, and also regularly uses the wiki, chat and forum capabilities.

Unified strategy

EXo Platform is used to solve classic collaboration issues. “We have customers who have multiple business units that are siloed, and they need to communicate better across departments,” says Patrice Lamarque, VP for products at eXo, “or like ONA Investigación, they have employees who travel extensively who need access to information and an easy way to interact with colleagues. Finally, many of our customers have offices that are geographically dispersed, and the employees need to work more collaboratively.”

The problem of e-mail is ongoing. “Some companies are still relying on e-mail as their main collaboration tool,” says Lamarque, “and then information becomes buried in e-mail threads. Documents, wikis and messaging are better ways to share because the information can be organized and retrieved more easily.”

Another effective use of a unified collaboration platform is by companies that have accumulated different technologies that are not working well together. “They may have a content or document management system, calendaring and chat, and are struggling to integrate them. Even when they do, it is often complicated for the users,” Lamarque adds. Having all the collaboration functions within a single interface provides a more streamlined and efficient user experience.

Creating a social hub and publishing an activity stream is another productive application of collaboration tools. “Rather than being pushed by a communication department, information can be pulled in by workers according to their areas of interest, and it then becomes actionable information,” Lamarque explains. “EXo Platform can be used to convert a traditional intranet to a more social environment that drives engagement and innovation.”

Collaboration with customers is a somewhat untapped area, according to Koplowitz. “Very often, customer interaction is handled by just a few people in a company,” he says, “and they are not usually product developers or R&D staff.” Therefore, those employees have little direct knowledge of customer needs or wants. Although ideally the output from customer listening tools reaches the right people, that does not always happen. “It does not make sense that customers and product developers rarely interact,” Koplowitz adds. He sees potential for this type of interaction in the future, supported by wider use of collaboration platforms that better leverage marketing and customer-facing investments.

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