Kraft Foods on Social Collaboration – An Interview

In a couple of days, NewsGator is hosting a webinar with Kraft Foods to talk about the idea that “social business is not just about technology.”

In advance of the session, read more about Kraft’s approach via an interview between Rich Blank (from NewsGator) and Vinicius Da Costa from Kraft.

Key discussion points:
– Vinicius coordinates social collaboration tools at Kraft, including strategy / roadmap / execution.
– “Collaboration” doesn’t mean technology. It does mean “tapping into the knowledge inside the company and being faster, more adaptable, and more competitive.”
– SharePoint is the platform of choice, but “usability and adoption of out of the box SharePoint was a concern.” For social capabilities, NewsGator brings more.
– Change management is essential.
– Collaboration is a means to an end – it’s very aligned with Kraft’s vision and strategy.
– Mobility and device independence are two key concerns.
– Kraft wants to create “knowledge spaces,” not necessarily “physical spaces.”

My Comments
1. There is a lot of alignment between Vinicius’s approach and what I advise. See SharePoint Roadmap for Collaboration (book), What Does It Actually Mean to Offer a “Platform” (blog post), and User Adoption Strategies (book), for example.

2. The emphasis on mobility and device independence plays into Pillar 2 of the 7 Pillars framework. The benefit of working with NewsGator, in this regard, starts to come together with the iPhone and iPad apps for Social Sites.

3. I like the phrasing of the emphasis on creating “knowledge spaces,” not just physical spaces. For global companies like Kraft, thanks to technology that makes it possible to create virtual spaces that people inhabit while working, they will have a great way of pulling people together, without relying solely on travel and three-day workshops. A well-designed (don’t think about technology design – think about social design) and moderated knowledge space / community of interest / community of practice can create a shared heartbeat across the organization – that transcends the barriers of time and space.

4. To hear more, sign up for the webinar.

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