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7 Years Later How Has Collaboration Changed Hornbill?

Trevor Killick -
7 Years Later How Has Collaboration Changed Hornbill?

The year was 2012 and at Hornbill, collaborating was pilling into a meeting room with remote workers dialled on a conference phone and knowledge sharing was an internal Wiki server. This was all about to change as first post was made to a new in-development Collaborative Platform that 7 years later underpins all aspects of the business.

Its hard to imagine a world where i couldn't post a question to the entire company without sending an all company email and get responses within seconds but in 2012 Slack was still a year away from entering the public domain, Yammer had been around for a few years but collaborative working was still very new.

Now collaborative working is everywhere Hornbill, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Facebook Workplace and countless others are being used by over 80% of businesses. Collaboration has become such a core part of the philosophy at Hornbill that our very own founder and CEO Gerry Sweeney contributed a chapter on the subject for the VeriSM Publication: Unwrapped and Applied.

Posts vs Comments


While it started slow, for a while many in the company were so attached to email that it took reaching the tipping point before important or timely conversations were no longer being duplicated on email as well as the platform which was inefficient and frustrating. Once reaching that tipping point there was no looking back collaborating is a more efficient and inclusive way of communicating with coworkers.

We used to organise our weekly football by sending an email out to a list of people in the company. It was certainly unmanageable (There is always at least one person who clicks "Reply All"...) and difficult for employees to opt in or out without having to personally chase the organise. We now manage it all via a Workspace, easy to opt in and out and you can personalise your notifications depending on the week you're attending.
Ehsan Shahneh - Senior Software Engineer

Once the majority were on board collaboration started changing the company, now you could follow "Workspaces" based on your personal interests, whole company updates added a transparency where everyone could see and ask questions on important announcements no more important than "Birthday Cakes in the Kitchen" and even the weekly 5 aside football is organised in its own workspace.

It's not all just fun, games and cake we have a multitude of workspaces for specific teams where relevant questions can be asked from subject matter experts as well general feedback sections. Industry news, the latest web development technologies are all discussed and followed by colleagues that have an interest or something to share. Collaboration has brought everyone closer together, as more of the workforce globally shift to remote working collaborative tools are vital. Not only to keep in touch and feel part of the team but it share knowledge and ensure a productive and efficient environment to work in for all.

Being a remote worker, I often felt disconnected from the rest of the business before we started using Hornbill Collaboration. Daily stand-ups, email and Skype were great tools to communicate with peers that you're working directly with, but give you very little visibility of what's happening across the rest of the business, and limited opportunities to knowledge-share. Since we started using Collaboration, I've felt much more part of the business as a whole, rather than a small cog in a big wheel, hidden away up North. For me, Collaboration had made Team Hornbill feel more of a team than ever before - even when we’re hundreds (or thousands) of miles apart!
Steve Goldthorpe - Senior Software and Integration Engineer

Over the last 7 years in excess of 340k individual posts have been made by people at hornbill and that content has driven an excess of 1 million comments. Thats a-lot of collaboration and a huge amount of vital knowledge about products we support and internal systems as well a few cat gifs are nested in there so finding the relevant content is vital. Hornbill not only allows you to search specific Workspaces with time frame and the person who posted as filters but also you can bookmark a post.

Keith posted 18 months ago on twitter "They said Reddit is the Front page of the internet but I think Hornbill is the front page of the intranet." and i couldn't agree more. The first tab open in my browser is always Hornbill and the newsfeed is always open somewhere, I'm not sure i could work without Hornbill or some collaborative platform; email only gets used for sales people to spam me or the occasional automated system that we haven't plugged in to post on a Workspace.

They said Reddit is the Front page of the internet but I think Hornbill is the front page of the intranet.
Keith Stevenson - Cloud Engineer

In the next post we will look at how a Collaborative Platform that powered our Service Desk changed how our Support Team function and the impact on our customers.

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