As businesses look for new and better ways to innovate, many are turning to crowdsourcing. But gaining insights requires more than software, people and connections points. At CoreLogic, a publicly traded financial information and data analytics firm headquartered in Irvine, Calif., there was a fundamental need to revamp the way people interact and communicate internally.
“It was difficult for teams to develop an identity because people work remotely in satellite offices scattered around the country,” said Robin Gordon, senior vice president in the Solutions Management Center. “As a result of silos, we had people who understood things only in terms of their specific business unit or group.”
Creating new interaction points and breaking down the walls across 58 distributed offices was paramount.
“We wanted to have one company working together rather than different teams and departments moving in different directions,” Gordon said.
As a result, the firm turned to social business provider POPin to build a more collaborative organization. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform captures ideas and spurs innovation through the use of discussions, voting and other tools. “It introduces a fundamentally different environment than email and other conventional electronic communication tools,” she said.
The system, which went live in January, is already making an impact. Gordon introduced the tool to a pilot group of about 100 employees and immediately tossed out a business problem. She witnessed an adoption rate above 85 percent and recorded more than 1,000 points of engagement within a few weeks.
“It had a transformative effect on idea generation,” she said. “There was a change in mindset from problem-solving being a pain point to enthusiasm over generating ideas.”
For example, in one instance, CoreLogic used the tool to reinvent the way user authentication takes place across systems and servers. “We now authenticate across hundreds of products the same way. It is far more efficient approach.” She adds.
In another case, Gordon used the platform to examine incident tracking and address an internal problem using an existing tool. “We put about 300 people on a conference call and had them use the POPin system.” Participants generated hundreds of ideas. More importantly, “People could view ideas and results live, they could ask questions via the conference call and work through the problem very rapidly and efficiently.”
Gordon walked away with a fix at the end of the session, she said. “We had a strong sense of priorities and the best way to approach the problem.”
The company is now expanding the use of the collaboration platform. One of the unexpected benefits, Gordon says, is that there’s a far greater understanding of the challenges that others face within the organization. Collaboration, including anonymous interaction, helps teams address friction points and minimize passive-aggressive behavior–something that has been a problem, she admits.
Although sessions can become contentious, “There’s suddenly an acknowledgement that a problem exists and teams need to take action…What makes crowdsourcing so valuable is that the janitor’s idea can trump the CEOs. It’s a way to create a very horizontal and agile organization.”