Tales from NATO: Why Every Business Can Benefit from a Social Intranet

international-flags.jpgThe word “social” causes many enterprises to cringe, maybe more so if they have strict regulations, security policies and standards. This was the case for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). While they wanted a communications solution that would improve business efficiency and performance across their offices and countries, they were concerned about the security and safety of their employees and intellectual property (IP).

The concern is understandable. We hear it every day from the smallest to the largest of organizations. Businesses want greater efficiency, productivity and communication without putting people and property at risk. But finding a collaboration platform that offers those capabilities can often seem like hunting for a mythic white whale. It’s seemingly unattainable.

colbert-moby-dick.gifHowever, that isn’t NATO’s story. And it doesn’t have to be yours, either. NATO implemented Incentive’s social intranet, and, well, the rest is history. They’ve found a way to meet the future of work and to do it in a way that’s simultaneously effective and secure.

Distributed Workforces

Regardless if your workforce is distributed across the city, nation or world, you likely have many of the same goals NATO has. You want your employees to:

  • Work together across multiple offices;
  • Communicate in real-time; and
  • Collaborate on files, projects, etc.

These are real challenges that can go unmet with traditional collaboration solutions. In many instances, employees have to use five apps or more to simply get work done.

This approach makes work cumbersome, not to mention inherently insecure. Employees aren’t likely to create multiple secure passwords for apps they need on a daily basis. They’ll use the same password or variations of their top three.

password-o.l.jpgChanging the reality is simple. Employees need a single platform that features all the functions they need. With a social intranet, they get that and more. They log in and are able to work with team members in the same building or across the world; to communicate in real-time via instant messaging and wikis; and to collaborate on files, projects and other work.

Information and Departmental Silos

It can be hard to find the information or person you need when everything is siloed. It makes communication and collaboration difficult, if not impossible. Employees need a function that delivers the data they need, when and where they need it. When you consider the average employee wastes 2.5 hours a week at work, you need every little productivity gain you can find.

Put a little more time back in the plus column with Incentive’s universal search function that removes silos and other obstacles to communication and collaboration. We sometimes refer to it as “search and rescue.” Employees can search for the needed files, projects and native documents like wikis, blogs and even chats, as well as fellow workers and subject matter experts, and find them quickly.


When NATO began using the universal search function, they discovered a number of benefits, and eliminating information and departmental silos was only one of them. Here are a few others:

As a result, NATO was able to improve work efficiency and effectiveness.

Application Integrations

Many businesses use other applications in conjunction with social intranets like Incentive. NATO, for instance, uses Microsoft SharePoint for its classified files. Incentive integrates with the installation, ensuring security and adding a social layer for improved usability. That is, Incentive mimics the look and feel of popular social networks, which decreases onboarding time and increases day-to-day usability and functionality.

Incentive also strikes a balance between transparency and security. With NATO, the social intranet is installed behind the their firewall, making it possible for employees to do their work and communicate with each other without putting the organization at risk.

With Incentive, security is at an all-time high – but so is collaboration and communication. NATO is meeting their employees’ expectations for a more modern workplace, and they’re seeing great results with the initiative. Employees are happier in their work, and they’re more efficient, productive and engaged.

Social Intranets for Every Business

In return, NATO is seeing better performance across the organization. They’re hitting more of their bottom-line goals, which is helping them achieve the ultimate one: fulfilling the goals of the North Atlantic Treaty signed back in April 1949.

With Incentive, the past, present and future are communicating and collaborating and leading to positive impacts to the workplace. And that’s a story for every business, from the largest, most security-conscious ones to the most transparent startups. If that isn’t the white whale caught and captured, we don’t know what is.

Want to learn more about how Incentive improved communication, collaboration and organization results for NATO? View the case study now!