UBM plc is a leading global business media company. We inform markets and bring the world’s buyers and sellers together at events, online, in print and provide them with the information they need to do business successfully. We focus on serving professional commercial communities, from doctors to game developers, from journalists to jewellery traders, from farmers to pharmacists around the world. Our 6,000 staff in more than 30 countries are organized into specialist teams that serve these communities, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently.
UBM puts all its business divisions onto Jive—and transforms the company’s culture
UBM’s initiative to operate as “one company” while maintaining the autonomy of its business units ultimately led to a significant change in the company’s culture. UBM went from a federated company with divisional and functional silos to one with a UBM-wide employee Social Business network, powered by Jive, where transparency and collaboration reign. And it’s paid off in concrete terms both for the company, with tangible business benefits, and the people who work for UBM, who can’t imagine doing business any other way.
Business trigger: the need to leverage synergies
Balancing collaboration with operational independence
UBM operates as a decentralized company with more than a dozen distinct and autonomous divisional operations, primarily in Europe, Asia, and North America. UBM is disciplined at identifying acquisitions that will give them a strong return on investment. However, it was clear to management that many business synergies were going untapped. Many of UBM’s divisional staff executed similar tasks and projects; they just happened to be operating in different industries or geographies. The decentralized nature of the organization, coupled with an under-integrated IT structure (itself a result of completing more than 80 acquisitions in five years) made it extremely difficult for UBM employees to connect with peers in different locations and business units in order to share their business experience and expertise.
Model for driving business change
“CEO sponsorship = artillery and air cover”
UBM first encountered social software at an executive offsite, where 100 of UBM’s most senior executives used wiki technology to capture the dialogue that was taking place. This, they said, is just what we need to continue our dialogue when we return to our respective offices. However, the excitement and energy about the wiki technology soon died down. In retrospect the issue was two-fold. The technology wasn’t very easy to use and, without someone or some event driving the process, usage dwindled. But CEO David Levin believed Social Business could work given the right setup and support. He charged two executives, David Michael in IT and Jenny Duvalier in People & Culture, with finding a better-fitting software and a community manager to ensure adoption of it.
“Even as awareness by employees of the vast diversity and scope of UBM’s businesses is growing, UBM overall is coming to feel like a smaller, friendlier, more cohesive place as connections spread and strengthen across organizational and geographical boundaries.”
Community Manager, UBM
“Easy to use yet feature rich”
David Michael saw a demo of Jive at UBM’s own Web 2.0 conference and the appeal was obvious. He had a sandbox set up for testing and quickly concluded Jive could meet UBM’s needs. Jenny found their new community manager, Ted Hopton, leading a customer-facing community and advocating the use of internal wikis in one of UBM’s recently acquired businesses. Things moved quickly from there with just the small team of three.
“We had already researched a number of other social media and wiki products,” says Ted. “It didn’t take a formal process or an RFP to know that what Jive offered was superior. It was easy to use yet still feature rich. Our evaluation took the form of severely kicking the tires of the Jive platform during a pilot to make sure it delivered as promised.”
The secure online community powered by Jive is UBM’s first corporate-wide software solution. UBM reports that evangelizing success from the top down and bottom up, plus getting the technology right, were critical to getting 80% of their employees connected within 12 months, driving initiative, and inspiring innovation that led to benefits to the top and bottom line.
Jive drives business value across the board
Tangible as well as intangible measures
UBM has documented concrete business value and a transformed corporate culture that maps to their business objectives for the platform: information sharing and collaboration across divisional and functional silos to make the company as a whole more effective and efficient.
- Efficiency and effectiveness
Nearly half of UBM’s employees report time-savings and improved effectiveness in working with others, and more than half find information faster or more easily.
- Locating and negotiating with suppliers
Some of the more tangible measures have been hard savings where teams have shared information about suppliers to locate the best ones in a region and join together to negotiate better terms. With hundreds of offices and events around the world and no central support team, more effective connecting and sharing now takes place in Jive.
UBM estimates that 7% to 10% of usage has driven new innovation in the business leading to top or bottom-line growth. More than a third of UBM’s employees cite changes in business approaches or strategies, as well as development of new business opportunities, as a result of using the technology.
- New business development
UBM’s divisions have teamed up online to win business they couldn’t have developed as rapidly and smoothly before, such as launching a $100,000 new annual awards event across three different companies and time zones.
- Driving initiative
A number of groups have formed around functions and expertise, such as SEO and mobile applications, and now have hundreds of virtual staff, most of whom have never met and would not have known of each other otherwise. They exchange best practices, compare vendors, ask and answer questions, and even offer training sessions for each other—all without any management involvement.
“Today UBM has embraced this new, digitally focused world with, among other things, an online [community] platform… It’s just one more sign that management and traditional publisher lines of communication that run up and down the corporate structure have been overwhelmed by a new type of interaction that is peer-to-peer. This new communication is faster. It is more intuitive. And it will change our business profoundly.”
Evolving a new culture
Significant changes in the way people work
Today, after nearly three years of connecting, communicating, and collaborating, UBM is evolving into a different company. Ted reports that a comparison of user survey data from 2010 to 2009 confirms what they have been observing anecdotally for some time now: Jive is contributing to significant changes in the way people at UBM work, including cultural shifts in perceptions and attitudes. Nearly every comparison between 2010 and 2009 indicates movement in the right direction, says Ted. In addition to the examples cited earlier, the most significant benefits reported by employees from using Jive are:
- I’m better connected to my colleagues and/or the organization (61%)
- I’m better informed and stay in communication with others (64%)
- I use the wiki [their name for Jive] to work collaboratively with colleagues (61%)
- I’ve learned useful things I otherwise would not have known about (74%)
- I’ve learned about other parts of UBM and what they are doing (77%)
- I have a better overall understanding of UBM as a business (71%)
- I feel more empowered (46%)
- I’ve made suggestions and raised new ideas (44%)
Jive at work for UBM
“There is no denying that our company is a fundamentally different place than it was before we launched our Social Business initiative.”
Community Manager, UBM
Broad and growing range of use cases
UBM launched their community with a strong belief in the power of emergent technology to create value as the community grows. UBM’s broad and growing use cases generally fall into these categories:
- Improving executive communication and reach
- Collaborative conference and tradeshow planning
- Collaborative product-launch planning
- Collaborative website design
- Transparent workflow
- Increasing strong and weak-tie connections across divisional and geographical boundaries
- Building bonds among employees with non-work groups
- Coordination and collaboration among management teams
- Encouraging ideation
- Rapid sharing of breaking news
Next steps for the Jive platform include adding the Microsoft Office Connector and Ideation modules as well as upgrading to Jive 5.
Driving teamwork in real time
When the volcanic ash crisis struck Europe in 2010 (after a long -dormant volcano erupted in Iceland), UBM employees used blogs, discussions, and even created a new group spontaneously to share information, assess risks, and identify opportunities. These personal connections quickly had a business impact. Within days, UBM launched a revenueproducing webinar about the volcanic ash crisis, drawing upon the expertise and connections of UBM staff across multiple divisions and countries.
While Jive-powered connections during the volcanicash crisis morphed into a UBM webinar, doing business on a social platform transcends the bottom line, emphasizes Tracy Maurer, system administrator for the Jive platform. “Jive is about humanizing and connecting with other employees. It has helped me feel like a valuable part of the whole rather than an expendable resource. I have been able to connect with people I’ll never meet, maybe never even talk to. But because of their shared stories and experiences, I am able to care more about this job and this company. This degree of humanization leads to more employee loyalty and a stronger desire to help the company prosper&emdash; and that’s what drives Jive’s impact on the bottom line.”
“The future is so bright I have to wear shades”
That quote from Ted Hopton is so compelling, we had to put it in a headline. In his Adventures in Social Media blog Ted describes the upside potential of Social Business as “huge” in terms of company-wide efficiency, cost reduction, and revenue generation. “There is no denying that our company is a fundamentally different place than it was before we launched our Social Business initiative. Not only is it successful beyond our wildest imagination, we can’t imagine getting business done without it.”
In another blog, Ted describes the Jive platform in these terms: “It’s like a machine that our CEO can reach into and pull on levers to make things happen within our organization. The CEO [David Levin] wrote a blog post about our mobile strategy and plans, citing some successful examples. He linked to a group in our community that’s all about mobile and suggested that everyone working on mobile should list what their projects are so we can coordinate across the enterprise, share ideas and best practices, and learn from each other. Presto! A document was created in that mobile group and people added their initiatives to it… The document has grown into an invaluable resource for everyone across the company who is working on or thinking about anything mobile.”
Learn More About Jive
Jive Social Business Software brings the best features of social networking, collaboration software, community software, and social media monitoring to your enterprise.