GE Goes Box (What about Its Other Collaboration Tools?)

Box announced a new strategic customer: GE.

GE’s IT organization, tasked with bringing innovative, cutting-edge technology to roughly 300,000 employees located in more than 170 countries, selected Box to:
– Make it easy for employees to collaborate across business units and with external parties;
– Unify business information across applications, thanks to Box’s open platform and integration with other cloud and on-premise solutions; and
– Provide IT with the control and administrative capabilities required to govern and protect sensitive content at scale.

Box and GE both place a strong emphasis on creating environments that foster productivity, efficiency and collaboration.

What is unclear is what this means for GE’s current collaboration tools. Does Box and its services complement, compete with, or replace what GE’s employees are already using?

October 2013 – Jive Software
From a presentation at JiveWorld last year:

GE’s social business journey began with its small consulting business and a community that grew from 250 to over 4000 internal users. In this session, GE will review its marketing, adoption and rollout strategy; how it launched Jive University as its user support hub (with questions, videos, classes, and library); how it created a strategy behind the support system including a process for community managers to support users; and it’s “light bulb” lessons learned. The company will also address how it sustained adoption and usage, how it built bridges between its internal and external community; and how it transitioned GE Engage to a true customer support portal.

See:
– Jive Communities, Breaking Free From Email: How GE Became Social (there’s an 18 MB PDF of 33 pages available there)

August 2012 – Cisco Quad
GE is using Cisco Quad / WebEx Social to power a social collaboration platform inside:

GE recently launched Colab, its own social collaboration platform (using Cisco’s WebEx Social – formerly Quad – as the core engine) for 60,000 users to date (with a goal of reaching 100,000 users by year-end). These 60,000 users represent more than one-third of GE’s 150,000 knowledge workers, the company’s target audience for Colab.

According to Ron Utterbeck, GE’s corporate CIO, more than 3,000 new user groups have been created on Colab since it launched. Employees are using the platform because they can do their day job easier by linking in and networking with their peers.

See:
– Cisco Blogs, GE Brings Social Collaboration to Life with “Colab”
– TechTarget, GE brings social collaboration to life with Colab
– Sloan Management Review, GE’s Colab Brings Good Things to the Company

July 2008 – SupportCentral
GE has an enterprise collaboration system with over 50,000 communities and more than 100,000 experts on board:

As an early professional networking platform, SupportCentral has provided sophisticated means for GE workers to connect to one another through their personal profile page, as well as communicate expertise. Everyone has access to a shared web storage system that they use to access their files and documents from any browser anywhere on the internet. With the personal and shared web file and document system in place, they are beginning concerted efforts to shift to using online documents, with no recent desktop office suite software purchases for individual employees.

The cost savings are so many millions a year that GE, despite being a famously metrics driven company, doesn’t require an ROI justification model for SupportCentral budgeting. As CIO Gary Reiner said in a recent Fortune interview, SupportCentral “is becoming…the heartbeat of the company.”

See:
– ZDNet, GE’s Enterprise Collaboration Backbone

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