We all know Dell as being a major force in the computing industry. It is a massive company that has been trying to become better communicators with their customers, which is something they previously have not be so adept at accomplishing, due primarily to the blogging works of Jeff Jarvis on his site BuzzMachine.com, which so aptly coined the phrase “Dell Hell” at the time. Well times have changed and Dell has initiated a program called Ideastorm, which originated from Michael Dell in January 2007, with the purpose of increasing their social media skills, specifically in the blogosphere. Dell is a direct company that is utilizing their new communication tools. The way Ideastorm works is an idea is posted (marketing, sales, service, etc) then users vote positive or negative on the idea. Following this, discussion and comments are circulated concerning the idea to work out tweaks and what not. The final step is called Ideas in Action which finalizes the ideas. They have 10,000 plus ideas and have implemented around roughly 200. This project is immensely successful for Dell and is one of the reasons they have been headlined on many social media sites as being a company at the forefront that cares about consumers and their input.
Ideastorm is built on the software available at salesforce.com which is the same service that Starbucks uses for their similar consumer idea blog. With Dell being the direct to consumer company that has made them the hugely successful business that they are, it is not necessarily the return on investments that is their primary focus. They have followed their culture of being a company that is dynamic and democratic and this has proved to be immensely successful for both communication, innovations, and ultimately sales. Ideastorm gets positive and negative feedback, but what Dell has understood, which many companies must be doing if they want to survive in this ever-changing economy, is to realize that all feedback is good feedback if you’re using it to better your business, goods, services, whatever it may be.
Although it might not seem so, not many resources are committed. One individual, Communicator Vida Killian manages the site with an additional full time person reading the comments. The genius behind it is the 40 Dell employees who monitor the blogosphere, whether they be engineers, marketers, etc, the fact of the matter is that dynmaic employees with varying expertises are all contributing their ideas and thoughts. To commennt on the blog you must simply sign up and with subscriptions currently around 45,000 members it is obvious that Dell’s Ideastorm is a huge success.
Such a success that it gave birth to Dell EmployeeStorm, which is more of an internal site that gives Dell employees the opportunity to not only share, but discuss ideas for innovative Dell technologies. It was the efforts of the company Cohn&Wolfe that helped to implement both the EmployeeStorm and IdeaStorm strategy, so check out their site.
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