Webinar Follow-Up: Q&A with Keith Budurka of Benco Dental

As always, we like to address all of the questions we receive during our webinars. Keith Budurka, IT Director of Infrastructure with Benco Dental, was gracious to answer the remaining questions we weren’t able to get to during his recent webinar. Without further ado, here they are:

Q. What was the business driver to move away from Lotus Notes? Is it still being used anywhere in the core business community? Did you move to Microsoft Exchange as well?

Keith: Our Development teams did not like developing in Lotus Notes. We probably lost three good programmers over the years because of Lotus Notes. Our Senior Management team hired two new people in the last three years and they both came from large companies that had experience with Microsoft products. They liked that Microsoft products were easier to use, to train users, and to find support and programmers with Microsoft product knowledge. We negotiated with Microsoft for our first Enterprise Agreement, and now we have Office on everyone’s PC (SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync).

Q. What does your NewsGator Social Sites support team look like (e.g., how many people, what are their functions)?

Keith: Our infrastructure team includes five colleagues, me, and one intern for the summer. Of the five, two are Microsoft Server and Microsoft product people. I assist with SharePoint from a power user and a business user role. I also teach users how to use InfoPath to recreate forms they were used to using in Lotus Notes. Our intern does a lot of support and training, mostly on SharePoint.

Q. How do you handle the governance of new communities?

Keith: We have a “SharePoint Governance” Community that includes representatives from IT, Sales, Sales Management, HR, Training, and Operations. Having a diversified team with different viewpoints helps us make the right decisions. One thing we do not do (or at least try not to do) is knock down an idea by saying “no.” We want to really understand what prompted the request to begin with. We don’t want to tell users how to use the system; instead we are challenging everyone to find better ways to use the system. Community requests sometimes get declined; however, most of the requests end up becoming a dedicated Social Sites tab in a community. This keeps the number of communities to follow at a minimum, but also allows content to be separated appropriately which is what many users are looking for when they request a community.

We allow each business unit to have a private community for their respective departments. This has cut down on email, but that has not been the biggest benefit. The main benefit for us is sharing information with the entire team. This eliminates ‘surprises’ because you didn’t forget to CC someone on an email who may have had valuable input to provide.

Q. Can you elaborate on your mobile strategy to empower your sales team?

Keith: We’ve been supporting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) since before it was a buzz word. Our sales reps live in their cars. They work 10+ hours a day on the road. Laptops just don’t cut it. Since issuing the BYOD policy, 88% of our users chose iPads. Therefore, we have been focused on creating tools for sales reps to do their jobs on the iPad. Now our service techs are taking advantage of this technology too.

We are a technology company (think digital x-rays, 3D pans, dental office networks), so it helps having a high tech sales and service force. We eat our dog food I guess you can say. Sales reps are really digging the “Wisdom of the Crowd” community and the “Sales Box” community at Benco – a place where we provide digital literature, video, and just about anything they would want to share with a customer, except an actual demo item. Our entire catalog is fast and accessible over the iPad. And now we are doing the same thing for service techs; their user manual/knowledge base of technical documentation is being converted to use our SharePoint environment as well.

Q. How did you tackle “tagging” in your enterprise content management system? Is it centralized or decentralized?

Keith: We did not get this “right” yet. I am still learning every day. I do now understand the taxonomy, which is stuff from corporate that shouldn’t change really, vs. folksonomy, which, to us, is social tagging from our users. The Wisdom of the Crowd community supports this initiative, as we are asking our sales force to suggest keywords for finding products they are searching for. This is how we describe the difference between the two to our users. The manufactures supply the taxonomy metadata, and our associates fill in what is missing with folksonomy.

Thank you, Keith, for taking the time to answer these questions! We hope you found them to be helpful in your “social” journey. If you missed the webinar with Keith about how Benco Dental is using Microsoft SharePoint and NewsGator Social Sites to accomplish the company’s vision of being more agile, more open, and ultimately more productive and successful, you can watch the on-demand version now!

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