August 07, 2012

The impact of Cloud-based internal social networks

By Juliet Bootle

Social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, have rapidly engulfed modern society in the last five years and organizations are following this charge by creating bespoke internal networks for employees to communicate internally. More often than not these platforms are Cloud-based, providing the potential for employees to work on the same documents together simultaneously across the globe: a true act of collaboration. But what are the main advantages of a Cloud-based internal social network?

There’s no doubt that these platforms have made a considerable impact to the efficiency of everyday work, with one main advantage being that they save time by enabling employees to communicate instantly across the office or even the world. This has the potential to create a sense of community among workers and encourage a collaborative environment by raising the visibility of international employees and making inter-office communication accessible to everyone.

Additionally, a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by the Internal Data Corporation (IDC), estimated that revenues from Cloud created innovation could reach USA$1.1 trillion/year by 2015. So making that link between Cloud-based communication and innovation is all importnat to demonstrate its impact to your organizaiton's bottom-line.

The Cloud appears to be the next stop on the technological evolutionary path. How we navigate our organizations along this route and ensure we have the right provider for our internal platform needs could be crucial to business success. Internal Communication has a responsibility to ensure that, with IT, its organization’s business goals are supported by its technology, whether that be a Cloud environment or not.

Best wishes,


July 24, 2012

As we may continue to think

By Aidan Clifford, Melcrum    Vannevar Bush

Vannevar Bush’s 1945 article “As We May Think” is remarkable in many respects. It reflects the thinking of a scientist dedicated to war but looking forward to peace, represents a new idea of managing human knowledge and is renowned as the theoretical beginning of the Internet. 

Bush looked to create a machine that would make collective memory and experience accessible to all. He headed the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), created in 1958 by Eisenhower in response to Soviet success  in the space race. 54 years later, we live in a world marked by his legacy.

The cumulative invention of the Web in the last three decades of the twentieth century forms one of the most important turning points in human history. From the turn of the 21st century, businesses have taken Bush’s legacy forward: applying the new technologies to the problems of intra-organisational connectivity. The result was the intranet – a network built for an employee audience.

Today, many organisations use internal networks to deliver tools and applications, contain complex corporate  directories and steer culture-change (i.e. take inspiration from the ideas employees post on forum conversations). The intranet has proved one of the most empowering and cost-effective technologies since the telephone. When used well it’s been found to:

  1. Increase productivity by making information immediately available
  2. Facilitate communication vertically and horizontally
  3. Make time: employees can link directly and swiftly to data
  4. Preserve knowledge: many corporate internets hold a central bank of up-to-date advice and learning
  5. Save money: IBM saves more than US$ 500 million a year performing HR services over the intranet*
  6. Create a common culture: the same information is available throughout the corporate structure
  7. Enhance personal branding: users consistently find authentic input increases their internal reputation
  8. Address the individual: intranet applications can be tailored to the user
  9. Empower employees: conversations are opened to the collective experience of the organisation
  10. Make you happy: 52% are more satisfied to be an IBM employee because of information obtained on the intranet*


Employees themselves have adapted to use their intranet to receive corporate news, access customer information and share successes. Despite its integration into many modern workers’ lives, predictions of the death of internal networks linger on the lips of many tech analysts. According to these doomsday prophets, intranets are set to be replaced by social media. Cooler heads observe that, as long as companies continue to want the ability to address and hold conversations within a purely internal audience, intranets are not at risk.

Yet, social media has its place. Toby Ward (CEO, Prescient Digital Media) explains, “Social media merely represents another channel, another technology, to augment, or enhance the corporate intranet.” Ward argues that social media platforms – SocialText, SocialCast, ThoughtFarmer – are likely to become the main technology platforms powering the intranet. Yammer is a powerful example of this. Social media is the future, not the end, of internal networks.

After all, while technology has much changed from 1945, the principles remain the same. Intranet and its forefathers have always been about information sharing, knowledge gathering and collaboration. These are principles no organisation can do without and now fall firmly within the remit of IC. Embrace your role and ensure your intranet is used to forge a more collaborative, communicative, efficient and happy organisation.

Want to learn more? Melcrum is at hand!


An introduction to SharePoint for Internal Communicators
Date: 12 September 2012
Venue: Prospero House, London

Advanced SharePoint for internal communicators
Date: 13 September 2012
Venue: Prospero House, London

Mastering Intranet Management
Dates: 18-20 September 2012
Venue: Prospero House, London

July 10, 2012

After 6,000 years, are we doing it right?

AidanBy Aidan Clifford, Marketing Intern - Melcrum

Since its inception, the evolution of writing has responded to and prompted dramatic shifts in the focus and capabilities of human society.

Around the 4th millennium BC, the complexity of trade and administration in Mesopotamia outgrew human memory.  Clay tokens had been used to represent commodities and labour, but with the diversification of the ancient near eastern economy the variety of these tokens in circulation ballooned to more than a hundred categories. The need for simplicity spurred invention and a new communication form was created: writing. Tokens were wrapped and fired in clay, with makings to indicate the kind of tokens within. Archaeologists have convincingly argued that these were the prototype for writing tablets.

Since then, technology has transformed our use of the written word, but not reduced its importance. The Egyptian pharaohs read from papyrus, the British Domesday Book was arduously written on sheepskin parchment and Gutenberg revolutionised communication with the invention of the printing press. Today, available channels are so diffuse and varied that Twitter can sell itself on the basis of a 140-character limit – excess is available in excess.  

But there are constants too. In 2012, we’re still dealing with services and commodities, but clay tokens have become a huge array of national currencies. Like the ancients, our response to the complexity of the global economy has been to simplify – translating the perceived worth of a company into share and stock options within a single system of trade.

This still leaves an economy as massive as it is intricate. Our secondary response has, therefore, been an accelerated process of specialisation. The high level of expertise required to negotiate the trading floor has meant many in the financial sector have operated without adequate scrutiny. This year alone, banks have been criticised for fixing key interest rates and mis-selling personal payment insurance and financial products to small businesses. Sir Mervyn King, Head of the Bank of England, stated this week “Something went very wrong with the UK banking industry and we need to put it right.”

While the modern economy has been made possible by mathematics, transforming the culture informing the behaviours of economic operatives will take written communication – capable of conveying narrative, emotion and a sense of duty and responsibility.

So, what does this mean for communicators today? As written communication has developed from counting to the instrument of discourse and persuasion, communicators have had to be more sophisticated in their approach. It’s now necessary to analyse your audience, leverage your resources and find a unique voice to engage and convey authority and invite action within your organisation. We come to writing 6,000 years into its development; in this period of change for many organisations, we would do well to learn how to use it effectively.

Want to learn more?


4-5 September, London: Effective writing for IC

13 November, London: Creating your internal tone of voice

July 06, 2012

The benefits of making your IC Smart

By Eloise Moench

What channel are you currently using to view this blog story? If the answer is a Smartphone then, rest assured, you’re not alone.

According to a recent Gartner survey, mobile phones are the most popular media device used each day by the public. The survey reveals that 74 percent of emails checked and 57 percent of social networking is composed using Smartphones, with the average persons’ usage amounting to eight times a day for tasks requiring connectivity.

This isn’t surprising; Smartphones keep us connected while we’re mobile, beyond just making calls and sending texts – a unique asset few other electronic devices can boast. They provide the user with the potential to increase efficiency and communication immensely. So how can this benefit us internally?

  1. Reaching the entire workforce: Smartphones can be a real solution to connecting a non-wired workforce to the wider organization. They also provide a company's remote, globally disparate and “on-the-go” employees enterprise-grade access to essential business information. And speaking of on-the-go employees…
  2. Push Communication: Ensuring company announcements reach the entire workforce, at the same time.
  3. Collaboration: With its adeptness at supporting email, corporate networks and enterprise social media applications, Smartphones are well-placed to manage interactions between employees wherever they are, whenever. This collaboration between workers can increase staff productivity and ultimately benefit the business.

Of course, not all employees will want to be accessible 24/7 and may fear arbitrarily being spammed with low-value communication day and night. But that's a blog for another day.

What are your views on Smartphones as a organizational communication channel?

Best wishes,


June 26, 2012

Ten reasons why this is a deadline you can’t afford to miss!

By Tanya Batra, Melcrum Tanyabatra

With the Strategic Communication Management Awards 2012 deadline quite literally around the corner (Friday 29 June), for those of you who haven’t entered yet, here’s ten top reasons (although we can think of plenty more!) why you really can’t afford to miss this opportunity to put yourself forward for the chance to receive industry and peer recognition for the work you do everyday.

  1. Join the ranks of Internal Communication teams who are already proud winners of an SCM Award, including those at leading organisations like Nationwide Building Society, Bupa and Heineken UK.
  2. Receive industry and peer recognition for work you've already done.
  3. Have your work reviewed by industry experts. As seasoned pros, our judges have seen and achieved a lot. So if you make the shortlist - you're at the top of your game, and if you're lucky enough to win - you can be confident you've broken the mould and established a new benchmark for the profession as a whole.
  4. Reward, thank and inspire your team by demonstrating how proud you are of their work.
  5. Benchmark your work at an event showcasing the best the industry has to offer and use the opportunity to analyse and evaluate your comms efforts. 
  6. Celebrate your wins and highlight areas where you can raise the bar.
  7. Elevate the status of the IC function in your organisation and boost the credibility of comms as a business-critical function.
  8. Boost your CV with an industry-recognised award.
  9. Prove the value of your abilities and your team's budget.
  10. Attract and retain the best talent.

With nine categories open to entrythree of which are free to enter - there’s no excuse for not putting pen to paper - but hurry! The deadline is fast approaching, and yes, this really is the final one!

Visit the website for full details, download your entry templates and get going!

Winners will be announced at an Awards Dinner on 10 October in London, the first day of our 11th Annual Melcrum Summit. Check out the video from last year’s Summit & Awards below:

Good luck!





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