FONA International wins award through use of enterprise social software #social #cio

FONA International, a company that designs and manufactures flavors for the world’s largest food companies, has won an award for its innovative use of enterprise social networking software to improve employee productivity and transform business processes internally. Judged by CIO Magazine, the annual award is given to 100 elite companies that “demonstrate excellence and achievement in IT.”

Utilizing SocialText’s enterprise social software, FONA created a social intranet where employees can easily manage projects, events, and important manufacturing processes with little to no help from IT. With internal profiles, FONA employees can share expertise with colleagues and connect around key topics of interest to drive new business opportunities.

“FONApedia, our social intranet, has empowered our employees to work together in improving our processes internally, helping us serve our customers even better than before,” says FONA’s Steve Brewer, the IT leader who spearheaded the project. “Because of Socialtext’s flexible software as a service (SaaS) offering, we have had no hardware to manage. We are able to take advantage of Socialtext’s fast development cycles and seamless updates.”

Here’s an example of how FONA’s collaborative intranet changed the company’s business processes:

  • Many FONA employees help the company by participating in taste tests of new flavors. These tests are conducted up to 40 times a month, via flavor panels organized in their Sensory Laboratory. To manage all the logistics and scheduling of the tests, lab organizers would send an e-mail to about 50 people, who each sent back a response requesting the time slot they wanted. The organizers would then go back and forth with each participant either approving the time, or suggesting a new one. The result was more than 4,000 e-mails a month being sent, or 50,000 a year, inflicting a burden on both the organizers and the testers.
  • Now, all the scheduling is tracked via a shared workspace in Socialtext. Each month’s schedule is now posted on a wiki page where employees can see which time slots are available. This new process enables the organizers to send just a single e-mail at the start of each month, which directs everyone to that month’s sign-up page.

“At Socialtext, we measure our success by how our customers differentiate and improve their business through the use of enterprise social software,” says Eugene Lee, Socialtext’s CEO. “The business results FONA has achieved with Socialtext highlights what’s possible when an organization provides their people with fast, flexible tools to free the flow of work inside their company.”