Intranet case study: Universal McCann (UM)

By Toby Ward — Universal McCann (UM) is a global media communications agency with 2,800 employees in 66 countries. UM undertakes massive marketing campaigns and media buys for large Fortune 500s such as Coke, MasterCard, Microsoft, and others. With a highly distributed workforce, UM found that knowledge and expertise was often trapped in geographic silos that could not be shared easily with other offices.

UM considered a variety of different intranet and social computing solutions and ultimately selected Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) with an integrated NewsGator Social Sites solution.

“The fast-changing media environment in which Universal McCann works demands that our employees have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on, not just in their respective markets and account groups, but globally across the industry,” said Quentin George, worldwide officer for digital strategy & market innovation for Universal McCann. “In order to deliver our clients the ‘Next Thing Now’ we must share and learn from our collective knowledge and experience. We found NewsGator and Microsoft’s social networking tools to be the ideal way to facilitate communication and knowledge sharing across geographic and division boundaries – leading to improved productivity and increased innovation.”

The UM intranet, also called LIMO, features:

  • Enhanced personal profiles
  • Social networking
  • Subject matter interest communities
  • Search for the most relevant or popular content
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • RSS

“Teams can actually interact with, in safe secure areas, with the client – post documents, post status reports, post media plans – where they can work together in a secure environment online,” says Paul Roer, VP Content and Creative Director with Universal McCann. “People can get to know other planners on an account; get to know research people; and they can meet each other in this virtual environment and share best practices.”

Once on the LIMO intranet, UM employees can also form social networks, and build communities based on areas of interest, rather than geography or project teams. The integrated Newsgator Social Sites solution automatically builds profiles of users based on the user’s actions on the intranet. Users are able to find the most relevant colleagues and subject matter experts based on the user’s activity. This activity “surfaces” recommended connections based on common RSS reading, community memberships, tagging, etc.

“Communities support ad hoc formation of groups to facilitate cross-geography & cross-team collaboration, information sharing, & communication around client projects, interests, or activities,” according to Laura Farrelly, Director of Marketing for Newsgator. “Communities enable members to engage in rich discussions, share documents, track activity, & surface relevant, dynamic content.”

According to UM, NewsGator and Microsoft have delivered “immediate business benefits while providing a technology that can easily expand & evolve as the organization’s needs change” including:

  • Improved productivity & streamlined workflows
  • Better collaboration & communication across the global UM network
  • Increased innovation
  • Lower technology complexity & support costs
  • Improved compliance with corporate security & privacy policies
  • Enhanced client service
  • Ability to become a “smarter collective organization, faster”
  • Increased adoption & usage of the intranet

“Microsoft & NewsGator offered us an enterprise-class social computing solution that delivers the social networking features we need today while providing us with a platform that can easily evolve as our needs grow & change,” says Jason Harrison, Worldwide Chief Information Officer, Universal McCann. “In addition, their solution integrates seamlessly with our technology infrastructure & security protocols, helping to lower our support costs.”

For screenshots please visit The Intranet Global Forum Facebook group (membership is free).

If you want help in figuring out if MOSS can meet your specific business requirements, and where it might fit in your particular enterprise architecture, Prescient Digital Media has a wealth of experience in requirements analysis and content management system assessment and selection.  Check out our CMS Blueprint offering and contact us for more information.

Toby Ward is the CEO and founder of Prescient Digital Media. For more information on creating a social media strategy for internal audiences, check out Prescient's Intranet 2.0 Blueprint and download our updated Social Media Checklist.

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