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Manufacturing

Case Study:

IM Flash Technologies turns to NewsGator

Based in Utah in the US, IM Flash Technologies is a joint venture of Micron Technology and Intel, formed to manufacture non-volatile memory, specifically NAND Flash memory, for use in consumer electronics, removable storage and handheld communication devices.

IM Flash Technologies uses SharePoint exclusively for its intranet. To save costs, the company wanted to use as much of its existing infrastructure for its social computing platform. The company turned to NewsGator and had three strategic objectives for its deployment: enhanced employee engagement, improved access to experts and more fluid free-flow of ideas. In a market characterised by razor-thin profit margins, the company was challenged by the need to improve the speed and innovation in product development while maintaining strong protection for its intellectual property. NewsGator’s tight integration with Microsoft technologies and its security mechanisms allayed those anxieties.

Microsoft’s DIRA framework – guided by six themes that enhance innovation and productivity – helps discrete manufacturers select the right next-generation technologies to improve performance and profitability and create an adaptive, engaged, and agile business. Social computing technologies like NewsGator are key elements in this framework, enhancing cross-functional and cross-organisational collaboration, and enabling manufacturers to innovate new customer-focused products faster.

IM Flash Technologies has more than 1,600 employees who are segmented into large groups of knowledge workers who require significant amounts of information to do their jobs. The company’s hierarchical structure can sometimes inhibit individual role contribution. “Role-based productivity is huge here. That’s one reason why the NewsGator/SharePoint platform is such an attractive solution,” adds Brian Hunter, corporate communications lead. “We are a hierarchical organisation by nature, and the transparency of social computing can run counter to our very nature. And we realised that being more transparent and opening up new channels of communication across the enterprise can help us achieve those goals.”

With Social Sites, we can offer similar tools designed specifically for business purposes, while maintaining tight security controls

Brian Hunter, IM Flash Technologies
 
Support for smart, connected devices was another important issue for IM Flash Technologies. With IP protection a top concern, the company once had strict access policies against the use of personal mobile and computing devices in the enterprise. But it realised it couldn’t continue to stand still in the fast pace of technological changes, as well as the changing generational needs of its increasingly younger workforce.

With NewsGator, IM Flash Technologies is starting to bring connected devices into the network to facilitate a freer flow of information, collaboration and access to expertise. “Younger workers are accustomed to using consumer-based social computing tools. With Social Sites, we can offer similar tools designed specifically for business purposes, while maintaining tight security controls,” says Hunter. “Providing tools in an environment that matches workers’ experiences can be an important way to recruit and retain employees and helps ensure that business processes happen through the company’s business systems instead of an external web source.”

Perhaps the biggest improvement IM Flash Technologies sought was employee engagement. “We learned that employees like to be part of change management. They like collaborating directly with senior leaders. They like to be involved in cross-functional communications. And job satisfaction ultimately benefits the company not only just in employee retention, but in improved product ideation and performance,” Hunter says.

To find out more about Newsgator’s social business solutions, download the whitepaper.

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