REA Group gets Jive talkin’

Property website operator utilises social intranet to work on documents

Melbourne-based REA Group (ASX:REA), operator of property website realestate.com.au, has used a collaboration software platform to help its employees participate in projects and cut down on the use of email.

REA Group IT delivery service manager Damian Fasciani told Computerworld Australia that more than 600 employees use the company’s Jive Software social intranet.

“The return on investment is measured around tools being embedded in the organisation, collaboration and sharing of information inside the business over the past four years,” he said.

“As a platform it has helped productivity and throughput. It gets people talking from a social networking point of view. We’ve been able to measure that through productivity and engagement between staff in different areas of the business.”

For example, REA Group staff use Jive’s online forums and functionality to chat within the business. The intranet also brings different areas of the organisation together into one central repository.

Less serious items such as polls and surveys are posted so that staff can have a “bit of fun”, as Fasciani puts it.

“Rather than sending an email out to 50 people, we try and educate staff through training sessions to put a blog post up and attach documentation onto the intranet,” he said.

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REA Group now wants to go mobile with Jive and allow its agents in the field to access the intranet on their iPhone or iPad.

“Jive has a marketplace where you can integrate third party applications into the platform. We are doing plenary work to figure out what we want to incorporate into the new version.”

There are plans to introduce the service in mid-2013.

Turning to other projects, REA Group’s internal app stores which allow employees to download apps for their iPhone or iPad will be expanded so that Windows and Macintosh users can also download software.

“It’s all about the consumerization of IT and giving REA Group staff a self-service capability. This also shows faith between IT and the staff members because we’re allowing them to adopt technology,” Fasciani said.

The apps stores were rolled out in early 2012 and have freed up the company’s IT department to concentrate on new initiatives.

One of these is a cloud software as a service (SaaS) solution called Box.com which can be used by staff to access information securely.

“If their laptop dies and there is data sitting on the machine, it is backed up on this secure cloud storage platform. They can login and access the data on their iPhone or iPad,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Tags REA GroupJive Softwareintranetreal estatecollaboration

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