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From Enterprise Search to Mobile Collaboration, One Intranet Solves Many Challenges

A Jive Interactive Intranet has helped Starwood solve a multitude of problems, improving everything from enterprise search to corporate communications and mobile collaboration.

As VP of Enterprise Systems Brad Carr explains, a Jive Interactive Intranet has had sweeping impacts at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The intranet is bringing employees across the world together for better collaboration; helping to engage deskless workers and millennials with its consumer-style user experience and mobile capabilities; making it easy to find people and content; boosting productivity and alignment; and providing seamless interoperation with other tools  – all while reducing costs and IT workload.

Video Transcripts

Modernizing the Intranet

So Jive at Starwood is our intranet portal, used by every employee in the company. It’s important because that’s where they go to find information, to access other tools, and to get content to do their daily job. Before Jive, we had an intranet portal which was a burning platform in the sense that it was old, out of date, with a lot of security vulnerabilities, and it was really a one-way communication device. We described it as our megaphone. So we really wanted to engage the employees better, and Jive was the platform we chose for that. We chose Jive because it met all of our requirements, all in one package, from being able to securely control curated content, to open, unregulated – if you will – collaboration. And it does a lot of integrations with some of our other tools like our Microsoft Office products, our browsers, and our IDP, our login process.On top of that, it was fully mobile-enabled, which was a key tenet of our requirements.

Launching On Time and On Budget

We went to the cloud right away, and it allowed us to really deploy very quickly. We didn’t have the six month lead time on setting up all the infrastructure. Our rollout consisted of moving some of our existing content over. That was really the long pole in the tent. A little bit of time just doing theming to give it the Starwood brand, but we deployed it overnight. Because it’s cloud-based, we were able to deploy this to all of our 250,000 users in one email. And we did it on time when we expected it to happen, and we did it within budget, which really speaks to the features and functions that are already in Jive – but it’s your ability to configure it relatively easily. So for an IT department, it gives us a lot of credibility.

All IT projects have doubt about whether they're really as far along as they say they are: "Are you really on budget?" And we were able to prove that, yeah, we can do this on schedule, on budget.
Customer Headshot
Brad Carr
VP Enterprise Systems
Starwood Hotels & Resorts

A Global Collaboration & Communication Hub

One of the powerful things in Jive  is that we can use it as a communication vehicle, which is, from our corporate departments, our travel and entertainment policies and things like that, things you typically don’t want people to collaborate on, right? It is what it is. That is right alongside an open, collaborative platform where people can find other people and they can exchange ideas. And it’s all in one platform. Search works across all of those things. So it’s really nice to have that single tool that does both of those things.

People are collaborating, they’re connecting across these geographical boundaries, which we never would have seen before. And they’re visible to other people, so other people now can engage in those conversations. We’re also using the Office plugins pretty extensively so that people are collaborating, they’re co-creating documents on the platform. And we’re really trying to drive that kind of information out of email into Jive. People are really connecting to one another. They’re re-engaging with people they may have worked with in the past. But the real power is the speed at which people are coming to conclusions or coming to best practices and the way in which those best practices are being shared across the globe. Our call centers, for example, use it now to very quickly get out to all of our agents globally.

There are real communities that are being formed. There's a sense of belonging. People are sharing experiences and making connections out there. In many parts of the world, our employees don't have computers. All they have are phones, and the fact that Jive comes mobile-enabled and is very full-featured mobile-enabled was a key consideration for us.
Customer Headshot
Brad Carr
VP Enterprise Systems
Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Enterprise Search That Works

Jive solved one of the biggest pain points we had with our prior platform, which was search. Search would find the wrong thing, it wouldn’t find anything. The Jive search is super intuitive. It’s super easy. It’s very Google-like. You type in what you’re looking for and, nine times out of ten, it comes right up. So people are really using search to its max. Before we couldn’t find things. You searched around, you sent emails, you made phone calls.

Today it takes five seconds to find what you're looking for, whether that's a policy, whether that's a person, or whether it's a presentation that somebody posted three years ago. It's all readily available.
Customer Headshot
Brad Carr
VP Enterprise Systems
Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Engaging Millenial Workers

At Starwood, our legacy tools were not intuitive to millennial workers, especially the younger generation. As they come in, they’re expecting tools to be easy to use, not have to go to long training courses. Jive, we found, is very easy for these people to sit down and start using right away. It’s very familiar to them, it’s a little bit like the tools they use at home. And for a lot of our workers, they don’t really have computers, they have phones, and the fact that Jive comes mobile-enabled and is very full-featured mobile-enabled was a key consideration for us.

Out-of-the-Box Integrations

One of the great things about Jive is all the out-of-the-box integrations that come with it. We use extensively the Microsoft Office products, so Excel, Word, PowerPoint. We can publish right from your desktop, right from within those tools to Jive. We can co-create with other people. They can edit simultaneously with you. We also use the Outlook plug-in, which allows us to take an email and publish it to Jive and to take all those conversations from an email, a lot of people on these emails, and put it in Jive as a discussion. So those are two cases that we use it very extensively. There are a lot of other ones that we use, but those are the two that are most popular.

The Advantages of Cloud

So Jive was my personal first experience with a Cloud-based product. I will not go back. It was easy to get into the cloud. We’ve tested it. It feels secure to us. It’s fast. It’s available. It’s taken a lot of the headaches out of things that we do when we put things in our own data center – speed to deploy, speed to market, new feature functions. I’m always going to be looking for things in the cloud from here on.

Increased Productivity, Employee Engagement, Customer Satisfaction

So Jive is to Starwood, at the base, it’s our intranet portal. But really, it’s a place where you go to get information, to find people who have common interests or common jobs, and really to collaborate and solve problems, find those best practices, drive productivity in our operation and ultimately, I think, improve our guest experiences in our properties. Which means loyalty, it means shareholder value. And I think, to the employees, it means it’s a funner, better place to work.