Proctor & Gamble’s business strategy seems to be to find creative ways to maintain the popularity and marketability of their current products as well as to continue to progress and cater to the needs of the “Facebook Generation” by creating newer, more modern brands. Collaboration and innovation play an integral part in that business strategy. As stated in the case study, Proctor & Gamble is a huge company with over 100,000 employees. This means that there are over 100,000 ideas for how to maintain and improve the marketability of the current product line and just as many ideas for new products.
This seems that it would present an issue in sharing ideas quickly and efficiently. According to the text, Proctor & Gamble employees were using email to communicate and essentially share these ideas. That means over 100,000 emails were being sent at any given moment, multiple times a day. Email is the way most companies prefer to communicate but when you have thousands of them coming every day, it becomes a very ineffective communication method because I’m quite sure that most of those emails don’t get read.
So finding better ways for employees to communicate and collaborate to share those hundreds of thousands of ideas and be able to provide feedback. Eventually those 100,000 ok ideas will become 20 or 30 great ideas that Proctor & Gamble can use. Innovation is the piece of the puzzle that will allow Proctor & Gamble to take those ideas and find ways to realize them. Proctor & Gamble is using a number of different technologies to increase their collaboration efforts including a variety of products from Microsoft.
As stated in the text, the standard for communication at Proctor & Gamble has been email, specifically Microsoft Outlook email. The key to making employees comfortable with the switch was to provide them a way to make the change gradually. Proctor and Gamble used Microsoft products primarily because they wanted to make sure the new systems were compatible with the old systems to provide that gradual transition for employees.
Below is a list of collaboration systems implemented by Procter and Gamble. Instant messaging: This allows employees to communicate amongst themselves in near real time. – Web conferencing: This allows employees to have conferences with one another from different parts of the world with the click of a button. It adds to the efficiency of the collaboration process tremendously. – Microsoft Outlook: This is essentially a task management system. It provides the email access that employees are used to along with a task manager, calendar and note taking applications. – Microsoft SharePoint server: This system provides employees a way to stay connected.
Among other things, Microsoft SharePoint integrates the Microsoft Outlook accounts of employees so that an employee in California can view the calendar entries of an employee in Beijing. – Teamcenter: These products make it simpler to share product data. It supports 3D product data sharing and is based off of Microsoft SharePoint which makes it compatible with the other Microsoft based collaboration systems. Until the implementation of the collaboration systems, Proctor and Gamble employees did not have an efficient, effective way to communicate and share ideas.
These collaboration systems allowed Proctor & Gamble employees to practically be in the same office even when they’re in different parts of the world. With the simple click of a button, employees can store, view and send product data. They can also view the calendars of their colleagues which would mitigate the scheduling conflicts. They can manage their calendars online, write notes and manage tasks all without leaving their seats. Collaborative tools are only effective if employees use them and grow in usefulness as more and more workers contribute to them.
Some of the collaborative technologies were slow to catch on at P&E because people can be resistant to change. Getting some P&G employees to use the newer products was a struggle because many insisted that the newer collaborative tools represented more work on top of e-mail as opposed to a better alternative. P&G was determined to implement more efficient and collaborative methods of communication to take the place of some of the outdated processes. For example, some researchers used to write up their experiments using Microsoft Office applications, print out their findings and then glue each page into notebooks.
Now P&G’s IT department can create a Microsoft SharePoint page where the researchers can post the results of their experiments. SharePoint provides a single location to store presentations and experiments that is accessible to employees throughout the entire company. The addition of InnovationNet, which contains over five million research-related documents in a digital format, makes accessing additional research material easy.
P&G adopted Cisco TelePresence conference rooms at many of its locations across the globe. For a large global company, telepresence is an excellent way to foster collaboration etween employees all over the world. Today’s updated telepresence technologies make it possible to hold high-definition meetings over long distances. In fact, since the rollout of Cisco TelePresence technology at P&G, the company estimates that 35 percent of its employees use telepresence regularly. The benefits of telepresence include more efficient flow of ideas, quicker decision making and reduced travel time, which is a significant savings to P&G and personal benefit to their employees who prefer to stay close to home.