2010 Enterprise 2.0 Blazer: Balfour Beatty
By Kellsey Ruppel on Oct 08, 2010
2010 Enterprise 2.0 Blazer: Employee-Facing Portal Award
The Employee-Facing Portal Award was given to the customer with the best interactive collaboration environment for employees with integrated Web 2.0 tools. This year's recipient was Balfour Beatty.
Balfour Beatty is a world-class infrastructure services business that delivers services essential to the creation and care of infrastructure assets including investment, project design, financing and management, engineering and construction and facilities management services. Balfour Beatty's services can be brought together in any combination to provide an integrated capability. They work for customers principally in the UK, Europe, the US, South-East Asia, Australia and the Middle East who value the highest levels of quality, safety and technical expertise.
Balfour Beatty is a large, global organization; it has over 40,000 staff operating in over 1,200 sites in 100 countries across the world. Balfour Beatty has grown rapidly both organically and by acquisition. Turnover of staff within the construction and engineering industry is relatively high when compared to other sectors. This represents a significant challenge when attempting to retain and share knowledge and locate available expertise in a timely way across the organization. Often, innovation will happen in a local site or office and it can be difficult to make this discoverable to Balfour Beatty staff within the whole Group without a common, globally accessible platform.
There is also a movement witnessed in Balfour Beatty and other companies where increasingly, employees, especially the new graduates and younger generation, are demanding Web 2.0 features normally associated with public social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. They are expecting to be able to exploit the same features within the corporate network and within enterprise applications to form and build relationships among colleagues and utilize the knowledge they know exists within the organization. The absence of a corporate Enterprise 2.0 platform increases the risk of these types of staff using external social networking sites for business purposes and inadvertently exposing confidential information on the public internet.
Oracle Web Center Suite has enabled Balfour Beatty to build a corporate Enterprise 2.0 platform allowing employees to maintain rich profile pages, build collaborative workspaces and locate other Balfour Beatty staff using a range of built-in social networking tools and search capabilities.
Each member of staff has a rich profile page, which contains some corporate information such as operating company and job title that are sourced from the HR system, as well as a range of self service fields such as 'About Me', 'Personal Interests' and Photos that allows other colleagues to find out more about them. This encourages staff to make social connections to like-minded colleagues, invite colleagues to join on-line Communities to contribute to the development of key thinking where they could add value, and locate internal experts who can help to solve complex customer issues.
Oracle Web Center Spaces has some excellent out-of-the-box features supporting on-line collaboration, which Balfour Beatty has implemented. For example, workspaces can be discoverable allowing members of staff to search and find any existing Communities of Practice that they are interested in joining. Moderators of each workspace can decide whether this request is automatically accepted, or they set an approval workflow so they can review this against the requestor's rich profile page to ensure they are appropriate before accepting them.
Social networking features within WebCenter allow members of staff to interact across Balfour Beatty operating company boundaries and geographies. With a large diverse workforce, this is essential in order to leverage the full range of talent across the group. Staff can maintain business networks and keep in touch with colleagues' activity within a secure corporate Oracle Enterprise 2.0 platform. At the end of an assignment, staff can leave feedback for others to see on their Message Wall recommending them for other projects and validating their published expertise. Over time, this will create a very rich searchable source of information about all staff and allow their expertise to be leveraged to assist other parts of the group.
The key components of Balfour Beatty's Enterprise 2.0 Platform are:
- Rich self-service profile pages for each member of staff containing, for example, contact information, photos, skills and experience, qualifications and interests
- Social Networking capabilities including status updates (tweets) , networks of colleagues, activity streams, and the ability to invite colleagues to be a contact
- Collaboration Workspaces supporting Projects, Communities of Practice and Social Groups
- A rich set of Enterprise 2.0 Services - e.g. Blogs, Wikis, Forums, Tagging and Status Updates
- Expertise Finder allowing rapid location of staff across the world with the required skills and experience
- Engaging, easy to use interface to encourage user adoption and naturally encourage staff to interact regularly
- Access to the platform using a variety of mobile devices for remote workers, staff based on client sites, etc.
The overall benefit of the Enterprise 2.0 portal platform is to provide a rich set of tools that help to connect together Balfour Beatty staff, across geographic and operating company boundaries within a secure corporate environment. Without this, operating companies may be limiting the potential of their innovations, re-inventing the wheel, or missing out on inspiration, advice and experience from across the Group on innovation challenges and improvement initiatives.
Accepting the award on behalf of Balfour Beatty was Darryn Warner, Chief Information Officer. Congratulations!