We all know that social business collaboration is key in bringing efficiency and heightened engagement to middle and large organisations. Yet, few firms succeed in fully leveraging their online collaboration tools. Why? According to Laurence Fourcade, Vice-President of Knowledge Management and Online Collaboration for Keolis, it’s all about identifying your value proposition.
Here Laurence explains why your value proposition is make or break for enterprise collaboration projects, the challenges they overcame, and how she ended up in knowledge management.
Q: Laurence – tell me about you – how did you get into this industry and organisation?
I worked for 12 years in the US in the international freight transport industry, mostly in management consulting. As I returned to France after a two-year stint in Istanbul (Turkey), I decided to cross over to the “real life” – on the other side of the consulting world, into the client world. I joined Keolis (a global private operator of public transport) in 2012 as Head of Knowledge Management, with clear commercial objectives.
I quickly realised that KM and associated collaboration could be a tremendous lever for operational purposes, and we embarked on a full programme that I proudly lead now.
Q: Your industry and org is steeped in tradition, but is also an industry under a lot of pressure, what does that mean for you?
It means only great things: we constantly have to reinvent ourselves to adapt to societal changes (autonomous vehicles technology, digital innovations, investments into public transport infrastructure), I would not want it any other way!
Q: You look at defining your purpose and value – why are these so important to the success of a collaboration project?
You cannot launch online collaboration project simply because everyone else does it. You need to first identify why it can be interesting in your firm: what concrete problems will it solve? And remember, these problems are going to be different from your neighbour’s or competitor’s.
The most important thing is to establish these needs from the perspective of your future users, not from top management. Finally, make sure you select the right KPIs, because measurement will be key to the ongoing success of your project.
Q: Culturally what are the issues you face as you drive collaboration in your firm?
There are many cultural barriers inherent to a multinational group. The biggest barriers we have to overcome are: fostering trust and sense of belonging, overcoming fear of the cultural differences being larger than the expertise common denominator, and the need for training on a new tool and a new way of working.
Q: What do you love and find difficult about your role?
I love to impact an entire company culture through technology empowerment based on deep human values. But I remain very humble as we cannot disillusion ourselves with the fact that we touch every single employee yet. We still have a way to go.
Q: What would you like to improve?
I’d love to be able to convince every employee of their worthiness to share their work, but barriers are deeply rooted in people’s humility.
Q: Finally – you are marooned on a desert island for a few weeks – you have everything you need, food, comfort, nice place to stay – but only have the following to keep yourself occupied: A record player with only three songs or pieces of music and one item of luxury. What would they be?
I can’t picture myself running on music, I would rather have 3 books: philosophy, psychology, and astronomy – this would keep me busier, longer! The one luxury item would have to be my bunch: my 3 kids!
About the Speaker
Laurence Fourcade is Vice-President of Knowledge Management and Online Collaboration for Keolis. With a passion for process improvement and effective collaboration across, she provides meaning to internal digital transformation, enhancing employee engagement.