Thursday, November 11, 2010

Telstra uses Salesforce for crowd sourcing

The use of the Salesforce Ideas internal forum has created more than 300 company initiatives for Telstra since it began using the application in March 2010.

T Idea, as it is called within Telstra, allows employees to submit, discuss and vote for ideas in an open forum.

Employees can monitor the progress of their suggestions while Telstra assesses each idea against its popularity, viability and how well it aligns with existing plans.

Some of the new initiatives which were rolled out include 24/7 call centres, weekend technician appointments for metropolitan and some regional areas, and BigPond email address portability.

Salesforce Asia Pacific and Japan executive vice president, Lindsey Armstrong, said that when Telstra CEO, David Thodey, came on board he wanted to look at new ways of engaging with staff.

"He wanted to use the principles of Facebook and Twitter but in a private way to communicate on mass with people," she said.

Using the cloud meant the company was able to sidestep many of the hardware and software challenges of rolling out a new system to a large number of users.

"The power of the platform allowed Telstra to fully customise the system from user interface to backend dashboards in just 12 days, [and this is] something that could take years with on-premise alternatives,” she said.

“We are seeing a fundamental shift in cloud computing from low cost applications through providers such as Yahoo! to mobile collaboration which is influenced by applications like Facebook," Armstrong said.

The application was also extended to include contractors, partners and retail staff who can have their say about Telstra.

According to Armstrong, the use of T [idea] tapped into a feeling within Telstra that people wanted to communicate and contribute to the company.

"They got 600 new ideas in a couple of days," she said. "We learnt that people want to be part of a solution, collaborate together and receive peer recognition."

"Part of driving through change, innovation and improved customer service, means listening to what frontline staff and partners think the business should be doing," she said. "They have a direct line to customers and can provide companies with an enormous amount of insight and understanding about their customers, business and the industry."
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