Reaping Business Rewards from Social Networking

Manhattan Associates provides software and professional services that help clients ranging from American Outfitters to Walmart optimize their all-important value chains. “We help companies with distribution complexity manage everything from their warehouses to the trucks that ship inventory. That’s where we shine: taking complexity and simplifying it,” explains Chief Financial Officer Dennis Story. The company’s expertise has a major impact on its customer’s efficiency and bottom lines-and now it’s using social technology to do the same for its own organization.
Manhattan Associates not only has offices in 9 countries, but roughly 60% of its 2,200 employees are highly mobile, spending most of their time at clients’ premises. According to Story their communications environment-“was perpetuating what we did in everyday life, which was work is silos. What we needed was better communication and global knowledge management. We were looking for collaboration not only across the globe but across divisions. As a company we knew we’d be stronger if R&D and our professional service organizations were tightly linked.”
In late 2011, Manhattan Associates decided to see if social networking could help bring together their company together and drive productivity. They started with the freemium version of Yammer, and according to Story “within 30 days, 90 percent of our employees had setup profiles and were using it. I call it “the revolution to evolution:’ Yammer took off in such a viral way, my take-away is that there was a lot of pent-up demand to collaborate.”
Yammer is now the glue that connects not only Manhattan Associates’ globally dispersed offices, but its highly mobile workforce. “We’re nomadic,” Story says. “We go where the customers are, where the money is. Yammer feeds our mobility footprint. It doesn’t encumber us; it allows us to be free.” Manhattan Associates has also discovered that their media solution has led to a better bottom line. “By capturing and sharing the solutions our reps come up with to address client’s challenges, we’re far more efficient,” Story says. That means more billable than non-billable hours. That’s the Holy Grail for any company: effectively harnessing knowledge in a really cost-efficient manner.
Smart companies figure out how to provide a medium to employees so that the folks have tribal knowledge share it with others who are facing complex problems.
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