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Andy’s Answers: How McGraw-Hill does amazing things with its social intranet

2 min read

Brands & Campaigns

What could help a huge corporation such as McGraw-Hill operate more efficiently, connect global offices, crowdsource ideas and develop products? Patrick Durando, senior director of global new media, prescribed a social intranet. It’s kind of like Facebook for an enterprise — but, Durando warns, don’t tell your executives that.

Instead, tell them about the story of how one employee met with a client, figured out the person’s biggest issue, essentially “tweeted” it internally and received 25 answers across all departments on his cab ride back to the office. Durando says that’s what a social intranet can do.

Durando shared how McGraw-Hill’s social intranet, Buzz, became a practical tool for collaboration in a presentation at‘s BlogWell conference in New York. Here are some take-aways from his presentation.

  • Lightning-fast lateral connections get stuff done. The company’s social intranet did what e-mail couldn’t do. It opened collaboration and communication across physical, hierarchical and departmental boundaries. Employees in California and Argentina were answering complicated questions for a colleague in the U.K., and employees were learning about and commenting on new company policies from a blog.
  • Expertise can shine here. As people began contributing to the social intranet, it became clear that there was some untapped expertise. With searchable experience in everyone’s profiles, colleagues could find help from the people who had the expertise. Even better, that content could live on in the social intranet even after the employee left the company.
  • There’s a place for the water cooler. McGraw-Hill had no problem with people making the social-intranet experience personal — the company encouraged it. The company believes soft social interaction helps employees become comfortable with contributing on the bigger stuff. However, when pictures of pets were becoming more viral than bright business ideas, the company had to make a distinction. That’s the reason Durando suggests establishing a place within your social intranet for water-cooler topics.

You can see Durando’s presentation. His slides are available.