Informal PLE – A commercial example of Leveraging the Network

Without mentioning names — just yesterday afternoon, in a conversation with a colleague, I was told this true story.

This person told me how their private firm (thousands of dispersed staff around the US) used bulk emails to ask questions (and for assistance on a variety of hot topics) to their colleagues, using pre-determined Communities of Practice membership as their guideline. Literally, first thing in the morning, when they all check their corporate Outlook accounts (many on Blackberry devices), a call-for-assistance for a specific topic or customer might be received, and within 30 or 45 minutes, the requestor likely has 20-30 replies from a variety of perspectives – each offering some sort of assistance.

Then the requestor can select amongst these opportunities and compare/contrast/combine/renegotiate – anything they desire – but the key point being, they are able to look quick and responsive to their customer’s requirements BECAUSE of the leveraging power of their Information Network.

I know that this story does not have the usual suspects of Web 2.0 tools to assign praise to: Blogs, Wikis, Google Docs, MySpace (LOL) – not even LinkedIN, one of my favorites – but it simply works. It would likely have a greater ROI than some of these other tools, if one were to be calculated, but why bother. This works. Did I already tell you, this works?

Go forth and use the tools which work. And let me know when you find some good stories, as I like to retell them to others in my Information Network.


2 Responses to Informal PLE – A commercial example of Leveraging the Network

  1. Jorgen C says:

    Hi Mark,
    I like your positive attitude, searching for ‘tools that work’. As I understand your case everybody can ask for solutions in the network, an recieve proposals via e-mail? Isn’t it a problem for their inbox?

  2. mkfrie says:

    Well you can choose your poison — either not getting quick enough results to solve your customer’s problems, or sifting through some extra emails in your inbox.

    I choose productivity over extreme cleanliness!

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