Embracing behaviors in a new technological age
Tim Christensen, CTO, SocialChorus, explains to Business Chief how the employee engagement platform understands the nuances of employer to employee communication, making it the best in the market.
SocialChorus has earned its name as one of the top employee engagement platforms by working with CEOS to maximise the delivery of information to employees in what is an increasingly misaligned environment. SocialChorus was founded by Greg Shove and Nicole Alvino in 2008, and as the company started to gain momentum, Shove was on the search for a CTO who wanted to transform the company, taking its consulting-based foundations and making it a truly staff-led. Tim Christensen's belief in creating genuine value in people’s day-to-day lives aligned with Shove on a philosophical level, and so he joined the team to create a software that would achieve this.
He explains: "Initially we didn't have a firm idea of what we desired the product to be, but we knew what we wanted it to do: improve a person's day."Christensen, who hails from a working class family, reflects that over the last 30 years very little has been divested to the blue-collar worker, despite the continued evolution of technology. “For this reason, we wanted to build a product that didn't discriminate against position or function; one that promoted equality and added value into every worker's day." Reflecting on the five years since, Christensen shares one particular milestone he is particularly proud of: increasing the product’s daily users from a few hundred to over half a million. "It's very rewarding to see that it is working and making an impact,” he says “This has always been about reaching as many people as possible, and my personal satisfaction is seeing this impact on an individual level."
Considering SocialChorus’ success, Christensen explains that, while there are several platforms designed for internal communications, knowledge management and collaboration, there is no concrete space in enterprise that connects knowledge and news. "From a workflow perspective, we aim to make the communicator more effective, assist them in telling the right story and we will assist in its delivery and amplifying the goals of the communicator." This, he explains, benefits the worker. "If we can make their lives easier in two minutes each day, then we've been successful, because we're looking at it holistically, both from the worker and from the communicator."
Within this, SocialChorus must embrace the existing preferences of CEOs and workers when delivering information. "For example," Christensen explains, "a CEO may communicate via email, or workers may receive information when congregating in the break room. Our role is to amplify these messages in a way that enhances preferences, and not just discard them." This often becomes an oversight that has caused many companies to lose out on delivering an optimised service. "Some competitors want to push organisations to use one centralised platform, but if marketers enjoy using Marketo, or engineers enjoy using Slack, or if a grocery teller uses a break room, then that needs to be respected. For example, if you get your information in the breakout room, then a digital display may be the best way to communicate information, or by sending it to their personal email. By pushing users to move to a different platform altogether, another hurdle is placed between the communicator and worker, and that is not solving the issue," says Christensen. "Real success is getting customers to engage with the content, not getting them to engage with the content on our platform."
To carry this attitude with confidence and success, the platform must be accompanied by exceptional service, which Christensen believes the team at SocialChorus has in spades. "We have a great deal of pride in all that we do. For example, our support team will not be satisfied with anything less than SLA 100%, and they will be disappointed with even 5% less. This sort of attitude is present across all of our departments, and prospective clients can see this from us when deciding between us and a competitor: they can see how much we care. As a smaller company, we don't want to win on scale or number of features, we want to win on quality."
While competitors have larger teams, Christensen explains that having a smaller team rewards a much higher quality of due to the close-knit dynamics and collective conscientiousness, and this is reflected in positive customer feedback that deems SocialChorus the best in the market. "It is rewarding to know that we have an excellent product,” he says, “it doesn't just give out features, it solves real problems."
Christensen forecasts that this year will bring a number of new challenges: "I will likely begin working on new translations and transcripts, as well as low band-width usage." One of his key challenges is to connect the CEO with employees in demographics with low technology, or in other instances, where the CEO may not speak the same language as employees. "I would like to be able to have a CEO record a message while traveling to an airport and have the service transcribe and translate it to go into an article to be distributed to workers, say perhaps, in Zimbabwe, where there is a weaker internet connection. This would give these workers the same access to information as those in headquarters."
As data is only growing in value, Christensen shares that the next step in the company's growth is to build upon SocialChorus' analytics capabilities in order to deliver insights and intelligence, not only to discover trends, but to be able to identify why they change and how to respond to it. Paired closely with this, machine learning will be used for auto transcriptions and translations, and AI will enable recommendations and relevancy, for speed and tuning.
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Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.