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As improved digital connectivity brings the workplace into the living room,
employees have come to expect the same sharing and collaboration tools
at work that they have in other spheres of their lives.

The Challenge

With more than 30,000 members worldwide, ASM International — the largest association of metals-centric materials scientists and engineers in the world — needed a way for its chapter members, task forces and board members to collaborate and network. It knew that any intranet it created would have to manage data and documents both public and private, in various defined groups, where access could be customised depending on a user’s committees, subscriptions or membership.


Developing a vital collaboration platform that will be used organisation-wide, not just by some people or teams.


The Solution

To do this, ASM International commissioned Placecube, which it knew had the skills and experience necessary to deploy a collaboration platform that fitted its needs based on Digital Place. According to Jason Fahy, CEO of Placecube, there are three activities which, when combined, make up a modern digital employee intranet: connections, communication and collaboration. In order to create the most value, each activity must occur in sequence. He explains: “For example, it’s fruitless to communicate before making a connection. That would be like talking on a phone with no one at the other end, something that happens on far too many intranets today. Once a connection is made, meaningful communication can happen and this can lead on to collaboration.”This approach is embedded in Placecube’s Digital Place and its Community Cubes which, with bring together a user-

friendly interface, open source technology, collaboration capability social media integration, networking capability, chat functions and web conferencing to meet all of ASM International’s requirements. Accordingly, a pilot programme was implemented and to make an accurate comparison between Digital Place and their existing platform, ASM International’s web committee set up profiles, using the Digital Place Employee Workspace to share documents. The platform’s social media capabilities also gave the committee an increased ability to network and share information. At the same time, the IT department at ASM International was using the platform as their intranet, testing whether the platform would increase efficiency and productivity by streamlining their communications and reducing wasteful printing.

Key Solution

Focus on the three essentials in order: connection, communication and collaboration.


The Result

The pilot was determined to be a complete success. As a result, Digital Place was rolled out to ASM International’s board of trustees, chapters and committees as a replacement for their previous collaboration tool. Fahy says: “This Digital Place Design allows the committees to collaborate privately and securely within their own workspace and share confidential documents and conversations.” The platform also allows ASM International’s staff and members to chat and connect via Skype, share calendars and schedule

recurring meetings and web conferences for the first time. Users can also easily search for, tag, rate and comment on content. The new platform has made it much simpler for ASM International’s members and staff to share knowledge and collaborate, a huge boon for such an established and richly experienced institution. Fahy explains: “The single largest contribution to innovation growth comes from collaboration. Any technology — like Digital Place — that helps people work better together is worth investing in.”

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