This afternoon at Forrester’s Content & Collaboration Forum, Christian Finn, director for collaboration and enterprise social computing at Microsoft, shared some insight into how the software leader is reinventing knowledge management with social media.

Better Know Your Colleague

By using their enterprise podcasting module, known within Microsoft as Academy Mobile, Finn illustrated how employees can share information with each other. Whether you’re on the road visiting customer site after customer site, or in a cubicle developing code, what you see, do and interact with all day matters. Sharing your point of view with others can help facilitate ideas and encourage feedback and may even solve problems.

But Academy Mobile wasn't a dictate from the boardroom. It was an idea that started in the hallway. And it was marketed to employees not through a PowerPoint, but at a bar.

Share & Be Rewarded

Employees, whoever they may be are encouraged to share video to illustrate what they do and how they do it. Believe it or not, what one does on a site visit can influence what the engineers do, or at least it should. Microsoft is proving that it does, but they’ve learned a few things along the way.

To build a network, like their podcasting module is one thing. Making it catch on is another. Here’s what they recommend:

  • Make it easy to participate: Don’t making sign up complicated and make it accessible to everyone.
  • Rewards to participating: At Microsoft, employees are given points whenever they provide feedback, start a discussion or comment. These points can be cashed in for merchandise or vacation days.
  • Raise awareness: Spread the word where employees are, like company events.

Ultimately, employee portals are for employee discussion. They don’t want to feel censored or ignored online, so don't limit what they can do.

At Microsoft, nothing is anonymous, which cuts down on risk of posting inappropriate content. As well, nothing is vetted before posting, which fosters an environment of trust and support.