InformationWeek interviewed ThoughtFarmer clients Farm Bureau Bank and Continuum in a new article, “How SMBs Can Embrace the Social Intranet.” From the article:
At Farm Bureau Bank in San Antonio, Texas, [Richard] Hamlin was looking for a way to make the financial institution’s 100-plus staffers feel more involved in their jobs and the workplace. “I wanted to tie all of us together and make everyone feel like part of a community,” he said. “So far, it’s been a huge success.”
On one hand, ThoughtFarmer is a platform for structured knowledge exchange, with each department maintaining its own data repository. The accounting department stores expense reports, for example; HR posts job openings and W9s. Having all of this data available to employees company-wide has dramatically boosted Farm Bureau Bank’s efficiency and productivity, Hamlin said.
On the other hand, the software’s social media-type features provide a virtual town square of sorts, allowing employees to get to know their colleagues and find out what’s happening in different departments both inside and outside the office. Staffers can visit the “Barnyard,” a subsite of the intranet, to post items for sale at the online General Store (baby carriages, gently used furniture, bicycles, whatever); read the Employee Spotlight profiles; scan the company calendar to find out when and where the Farm Bureau softball team’s next game is; and view photos taken at the company picnic.