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Private social networks playing Facebook role in more workplaces

Carolyn Duffy Marsan | Oct. 21, 2011
From retail chains to electric utilities to manufacturers, a growing number of U.S. corporations are harnessing the power of social networks to modernize how their employees communicate with each other, business partners and customers -- making these firms more nimble in the marketplace and leaving their less Facebook-savvy rivals trailing.

"This is improving our customer service, without question," Green says.

Chatter also is influencing how DenMat designs products.

"In the past, R&D would have developed a new tooth shape for our Snap-On Smiles, and the sales people would have run with what was developed. Now we have a platform for asking dentists about it. We have developers on Chatter talking about new features and functionality," Green says.

Green says he's comfortable with the security features of Chatter, which are important to DenMat because of federal healthcare privacy laws. He says employees are smart about not posting sensitive or private matters on Chatter, and that seemingly mundane conversations about the weather or sports teams seem to help build relationships among colleagues.

"If you're not investing or not putting together a roadmap for collaboration across departmental boundaries, then you are probably going to be at a competitive disadvantage against companies who do," Green warns. "These platforms really do help a company be more nimble."


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