Recently I had the opportunity to have a conversation about social collaboration with Vinicius Da Costa, who is the Associate Director of Social Collaboration Solutions at Kraft Foods.
Rich Blank: What's your role in the organization when it comes to Collaboration & Content Management technology?
Vinicius Da Costa: As a leader in Information Systems (IS), I coordinate social collaboration tools internally at Kraft Foods which includes the long term strategy and roadmap as well as the execution of the IS investment portfolio of related projects. I also focus on research and network with other organizations and universities to understand what the next generation of trends that might benefit Kraft Foods.
RB: How does Kraft Foods view collaboration?
VDC: The word “collaboration” has become a buzzword and it doesn't mean technology. Our user community expects they can exchange ideas, find experts, and search for relevant content in a faster way. It’s about tapping into the knowledge inside the company and being faster, more adaptable, and more competitive. If people sit in 2 parts in the globe, the expectation is that they can easily connect, resolve issues, work on projects securely, leverage the scale of knowledge and information faster... what and who you know inside the company helps everyone excel and can avoid duplication of effort. People who share are learning and adding more value to the organization than those who don't. And our leadership understands and expects that.
Certainly in IS, we have a clear understanding of what collaboration means to business. There's an expectation and demand for IS to provide the best solution/capabilities to the company. They expect us to understand what they are looking for, provide solutions, do research on best practices, and deliver innovation with our technology.
RB: Kraft Foods has made a investment in Microsoft technology for collaboration. Why Microsoft as opposed to other vendors?
VDC: Microsoft is a strategic partner with Kraft Foods offering a suite of technology with a global agreement at a cost that is competitive.
RB: Can you talk a little about your experience deploying SharePoint globally at Kraft Foods?
VDC: Technically, SharePoint's broad capabilities are strong but usability and adoption of out of the box SharePoint was a concern. Some of Microsoft’s partners are doing a great job developing social capabilities layered on top of SharePoint. They add agility and innovation to Microsoft products and solutions. We had to focus on the human component and change management which included partners such as NewsGator to enrich the social capabilities of the platform and bring a more enhanced user experience.
RB: What about your experience on the business side?