AstraZeneca embraces collaboration with Salesforce Chatter

It isn’t often that a company creates massive growth and excitement in the use of its social intranet – but AstraZeneca (AZ) has!

In the last year, Chatter use has exploded in their global workforce, from 6,000 to 27,000 active users, a 350% increase that’s helping embed AZ’s three strategic pillars of ‘return to growth’, ‘achieve scientific leadership’ and to be ‘a great place to work’.

Two years ago AZ embarked on an ambitious journey to rationalise several disparate and disconnected intranets, with the goal of enabling its 61,500 employees to find, connect, collaborate and share information from anywhere on any device.

Nucleus, a new social intranet was developed on Salesforce to build further unity across AZ’s global workforce. A place where employees filter and personalise content – so accurate, relevant information ‘finds them’.  Nucleus content is fully integrated with Chatter and comes to life by putting shareable conversations around articles, news, stories and announcements.

AZ’s previous social collaboration activity created initial spikes of activity and interest, but as is so often the case, this soon faded.  The lessons learned were clear, AZ needed to invest in a user adoption programme – and they asked Sei Mani to deliver a range of engaging and highly visible adoption services that would create real and lasting change in working behaviours.

The brief was to evolve and increase the perception of Chatter – to a level where it would be recognised as the professional, community-centric collaboration service across the organisation. We provided a ‘Product Leader’ to own, manage and deliver the Chatter evolution. A continuous consultation programme with business users was started – and through this, employee’s communication challenges and needs were unearthed.

In parallel, a Chatter Genius Desk was set up to provide scheduled and on-demand training, conduct surveys, produce adoption reports and build ‘lighthouse’ communities to act as best practice examples of group collaboration.

The Chatter Genius Desk provided coaching and support for a wide variety of initiatives and outcomes across the business. These ranged from HR communication campaigns and ‘Ask the Leadership Team’ initiatives, to sharing Cambridge Science park travel tips and medicine development and diabetes forums.

The power of social media to advance AZ’s strategy is now starting to be realised, both in connecting globally dispersed teams and in facilitating collaboration and fostering new ways of working between people who haven’t previously met. In one example, a request for help relating to a chemical process resulted in sixteen supportive and valuable responses within 24 hours from engineers, scientists, and others across the globe.

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As a result of our partnership with the AZ team, there are now over 18,000 profile pictures (22% of employees), 2,500 groups and over 10,000 trending topics. New Chatter posts receive on average 3.5 responses, and a post or comment is created every 4 minutes.  Adoption matters.  Done properly it works, and it didn’t take an army to achieve remarkable results – just a small, dedicated team of people from Sei-Mani and AZ.

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