ABB grows internal collaboration through ‘social email’

Familiar interface increases uptake of Microsoft
ABB, the power and automation technologies group, has adopted
‘social email’ software from as part of its effort to
improve collaboration across the global business.

Prior to the implementation, ABB’s employees would access on
average six to nine platforms to get their work done. This required
them to toggle between their IBM Lotus Notes email, various
Microsoft Office applications, instant messenger service from
Sametime, web-based applications such as SAP and file servers
including eRoom, Microsoft Sharepoint 2010 and Lotus Notes team

“These context switches waste time and interrupt their focus,
impacting every aspect of our business, from sales and marketing to
engineering and R&D,” said Thomas David Jones, ABB project
manager of group IS projects.

The company therefore decided to implement a technology from that would enable staff to reduce the number of platforms
they need to access to do their work, by integrating SharePoint
with Lotus Notes.

“ closes one of the biggest IT gaps we’ve ever had at
ABB. It’s a great app that transforms the email client into a
social and collaboration workspace,” said Jones.

Instead of storing documents on their local hard drives and
sharing them as email attachments, employees can now share a
single, centralised copy of documents on SharePoint, alongside
related emails.

Users can also use Sametime via their email to connect and
collaborate with colleagues, and ABB said that they are also more
ready to adopt SharePoint’s social features because they are now
convenient to use.

Overall adoption of SharePoint has also increased.

“Initial collections of and IIS logs indicate there’s
been significant increase in SharePoint adoption, both in terms of
unique users accessing SharePoint and the number of team spaces
deployed for project, departmental and regional work,” Jones

The number of unique users of SharePoint has grown 43 percent at
ABB, while the number of team spaces used has more than doubled.
For example, the company’s corporate R&D division has started
to use team spaces to manage all their projects, up to 400 a

Being able to merge existing applications was a key factor for
ABB’s adoption of

“ABB doesn’t want to shock users with a ‘rip and replace’
strategy that replaces their familiar clients or IT environments
with something new and unknown. We want people to experience a
natural evolution of their familiar tools, with useful new features
in an updated interface,” said Jones.

ABB started rolling out to its 124,000 users in
February. It aims to introduce additional collaborative tools to
the business over the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, direct selling company Amway has managed to reduce
email traffic at its company headquarters in Michigan by 42 percent
after it installed’s software.

Previously, the 6,000 staff at Amway’s head office used their
browser to access and share published documents on Windows
SharePoint Server, but did not use SharePoint to co-author new
documents. As a result, the company found that the employees
emailed nearly 73,000 attachments a day.

“Most people live in email. More often than not, they resort to
sending documents back and forth, because people think it’s faster
and easier to email a document than to switch contexts and deal
with multiple browser windows.

“In fact, they lose a ton of time searching for the most current
version of a document and merging input from several people,” said
Sandy Harvey, senior analyst of messaging and collaboration at

However, as ABB has also found, adopting has
encouraged staff to increase their overall use of SharePoint.

The company deployed the software as a sidebar widget in the
Lotus Notes 9.5.1 package, and in the first few months it helped to
reduce the number of email attachments sent every day by 42 percent
to an average 42,350.

“Our business users love having SharePoint access within email.
The amount of time people save using a single, easy-to-use
messaging and collaboration interface has been a huge advantage for
our customers,” Harvey added.

Amway has been using since June 2010, and is now
looking into rolling it out to its other offices around the

Come to the European SharePoint
in Berlin.

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