Improving communications productivity with integrations using Firstup by SocialChorus


JD DePace


Geoffrey Robichaux

Product focus: integrations for productivity

As the digital workplace becomes increasingly complex, organizations must support more systems and work environments and employee roles than ever before. Learn how top enterprises are using Firstup’s platform integrations to reach employees in any system, intelligently deliver key applications to every worker and drive simplicity and productivity.

Video Transcript


Welcome everyone to Integrations for Productivity. My name is JD Depace, director of product management, here at Social Chorus, and with me is Geoffrey Robichaux, senior software engineer and lead engineer for our assistant command integrations product. Today, we’re going to talk about how Social Chorus, can help you reach all of your employees and provide a unified digital employee experience anywhere, through content microapps and assistant command integrations. The digital workplace has only gotten more complex as organizations support more systems across more employees working in new environments. There are more tools, more employees are working remotely, it’s only gotten more complex. And as you all know, it’s very hard to provide a unified experience to all workers. Your wired workers are overwhelmed with information and tools and your non-wired workers are disconnected from the same information and tools.

What compounds this? If these issues are happening for each group at the same time, and all of you are tasked with reaching and informing wired and non-wired workers with vastly different needs and access to tools and information. Taking a closer look at these two issues, here’s what we see. The digitizing of the workplace has overwhelmed the wired worker. There’s a proliferation of tools creating digital noise. You and I see this every day is wired workers. I have about five systems I interact with every day. I get desktop notifications, emails in app notifications for everything, multiple platforms, all with notifications to multiple devices competing for my attention. This constant competition for attention leads to noise.

You’re wired workers are overwhelmed with information and don’t know what’s most important or how to get what they need. On the other hand, the digitizing of the workplace has locked out the non-wired worker, which happens to be 80% of the workforce. The non-wired employee has at best a high friction experience when accessing the same tools their wired counterparts do. At worst, they’re completely disconnected from the tools and information they need. If you’ve ever said, I can’t do that now and not on the VPN, you can understand the experience of a non-wired worker. They’re always on the outside of tools and information. So either there’s too much information or too much friction, and ultimately both groups are tuning out. 82% of the workforce is not actively engaged.

So there’s the doom and gloom. How are we going to help you connect non-wired workers and streamline communication to your wired workers. Have you heard from Tim Christensen, our CTO and other speakers today? The vision of Social Chorus platform is to reach every worker wherever they are with personalized, engaging communications and experiences, including two way interactions across your enterprise services. Social Chorus makes the digital employee experience work for every worker. And we do this through three pillars, automation, anywhere, and intelligence. We automate through our orchestration engine, which targets the right content, resources and systems access for each employee. Then it follows up to ensure they receive and act on critical messages. We provide an employee experience with personalized access to information systems anywhere, bringing information to your employees, wherever they choose to work. The platform gathers engagement data across all end points. So you can measure your workforce response, take the pulse of the organization and optimize is needed. They were going to focus on two areas. We feel will solve the challenges of the digital employee experience for these groups, the content microapp and our assistant command integrations.

Content microapps is a new product built to drive engagement anywhere with targeted, customizable content experiences in any system. This is the next level of reaching and engaging every worker, wherever they are in the channel they prefer. We know we need to reach employees in the tool they work in every day. So we could deliver targeted customizable content experiences to any application with no code, configure the experience for employees, customize the look and feel so they match your brand and drive action and get feedback with comments, translations, and advocacy. Not every worker is engaged on a desktop during the day. In this case, the content microapps can power digital displays, [inaudible 00:04:55] , shared workstations to keep all of your employees informed. Let’s see the content microapps and action. You can blend the content micro app into your existing systems seamlessly, refresh your intranet moments, enhancing the investments you’ve already made with SharePoint, Sycor, Adobe experience manager and Google sites with an easier and more effective way to publish content and engage employees.

We know it’s best to reach employees and the tools they live and breathe every day. So you can use content microapps and specialized tools as well. Marketing and sales platforms like HighSpot and Salesforce, and IT platforms like ServiceNow, knowledge basis like confluence and collaboration tools like Ms Teams. And of course, digital signage, digital signage are easy to set up and tailored to provide a meaningful experience at a glance as employees are through the lobby or a personalized content to keep non-wired workers updated on the platform. Unlike broadcast communication content microapps are designed to get feedback and drive action, increased engagement with likes translations, and the ability to share articles externally, right from the Microapp.

And employees can view content either within the content microapp or the new independent tab. This option allows employees to consume content within the tools they use most versus having to navigate to a new platform, reduces context switching and improves employee focus. And the content microapps give every employee whether engaging with your content, the ability to provide two way feedback through commenting. The beauty of the Microapp is how easy it is to implement. All of the Microapps that we’ve just used were installed with no code through an I-frame, URL or script. The content microapp is easily embedded to enable all of the use cases we’ve reviewed aside from effortless installation to these platforms is every one of these microapps can be published to easily.

Your communicators only have to press publish once to target content to any or all of the content microapps. And because it’s embedded in your systems, we give you the tools to customize the look and feel of that microapps. You get self-service options to format color, fonts, transitions, and more to match your brand without the need for a designer. Configure the experience for employees, adjust the layout, select what type of content to display and give each user a personalized feed of news and information.

We know security is important, so we have multiple authorization and log in options to meet every use case from a public lobby display to embedding it within a trusted internet. I’m going to pause here a moment and see if there’s any questions in the chat. We have one question, where you talk about how microapps are different than content amplifiers. So content amplifiers has a current feature that we have on the platform. Content microapps is a new feature, this is built for engagement and it’s built for that customization. So whereas amplifiers were broadcast and you can embed and broadcast information to your employees, what we have with microapps, is the ability for far more customization, really make it look like your brand, really start to structure exactly how you’d like to these, to look and feel.

And then also giving employees the ability to like, comment, give feedback. And those employees that are using microapps will actually show in our experience platform as well. So you can get groups that are either using and engaging with content through a microapp, groups that are engaging through a mobile app, groups that are engaging for our desktop together and looking at that content and engaging.

That’s all the questions that I see for this right now. So thank you. I’m going to turn it over to Geoffrey and he’s going to review assistant command integrations.


Great. Thank you, JD. All right. So content microapps solve for the personalized content experience, whereas assistant command integrations are all about bringing the tools closer to the employee. Currently workers have to sift through many different systems, five, 10, sometimes even 20, really, depending upon their type of job and those can be cumbersome to work with just to get their job done. Deskless workers have it even worse because a lot of software applications are simply not built for mobile use. With assistant command center, your employees will be able to access critical content, company links and perform those common tasks with minimal login prompts. So this may be familiar. Let’s say, you’re going to file an expense report. There are many barriers to entry here. Is it worth filing the request given the time that it takes and everything you have to do and considering how much money you’re going to get back?

Should you even do it now versus later, based on when the payroll runs going to be, or do you even know when the payroll runs going to be, do you have everything that you need in order to submit that request? There’s a lot of different, even mental barriers, just getting that done. And lastly, do you even know where you need to file it, systems change and it can be confusing where you should actually file it. So let’s say you get all of that together. Now, how is the long is it going to take to actually get it approved? Some systems you just have no notifications. You may have to reach out to your manager directly. The problem is you just can be out of touch with the process and not informed. With assistant command integrations this is exactly what we set up to solve. So we’re going to look at a real example of how this works in ServiceNow requesting a hardware device.

So here, we’re going to see employee named Ashley request a Microsoft surface pro 4 tablet. Now she’s already familiar with the assistant on the right hand side. So she’s going to go to the ServiceNow integration. Go into the service catalog and find exactly what hardware she wants to order. Now it’s going to drop her directly into ServiceNow, right where she needs to be in order to make that request, she can change around any configuration that she wants to and submit that request right there. She doesn’t need to fumble around in another software application and recall how to use it or where she should actually be to submit that request. This minimizes fatigue and allows her to get back to what she does best. So let’s follow that ticket some more, see what happens. Up until now, the request has been with the employee. Now it’s with the manager, managers get many emails, meetings and other distractions, and that context switching is costly, what if that employee’s request is really urgent. They actually make it worse and reach out to the manager, ask them if it’s going to be approved soon.

When the manager is going to get in and look at the details, it might only be that they need to look at the title, the name, some of the configuration, the price and simply approve it. But that request was backlogged due to the overall friction and noise within their entire system. Maybe they didn’t even get the email or didn’t see it. With assistant the manager’s going to get a direct notification in real time, cutting right to the point with information they need to see. You can see there, they get the name, the configuration, all of the information that they need. And if they still wish they can securely approve the request right on the spot. So in a few moments, we’re going to see IT’s involvement, but let’s take a minute and look at Ashley’s perspective first.

So just like the manager, Ashley’s going to be notified. So Ashley gets a notification and right there, and it was approved. This increases confidence in the process and lowers the likeliness of her reaching out and like I said, further increasing that noise. Plus if she needs to, she can always go into the integration and check the status of the request directly. Okay. Now let’s go back and look at the IT involvement. So assistant is meant to solve for the 80% use case for the employees. Minimizing the time spent just finding things, just getting from where they need to be, bringing those common use cases closer to exactly where they are already. So this interface, we’re going to see the IT worker. They’re going to go in, approve the request and just make sure that everything’s in order to finish that and further the procurement process.

And indeed they can see it’s approved. And everything is good. So all of this is in real time for these different users. So now let’s check back with Ashley one more time and see what she sees. Ashley sees another notification, and now that the hardware has been ordered. There you go. So through this whole process, Ashley is been kept up to date every step of the way, building confidence, transparency and saving time. Now behind the scenes, we have built an integration platform where integrations can be added rapidly and each can be customized to your company’s unique needs, even targeting integrations to specific departments or users with their audience controls. Now, this is only one of the example integrations on the social course platform, there are many more things to, come from integrated search to look across all of your systems, to tools that will help others contribute integrations. Our hope is to bridge the gap between all of your software tools, providing frictionless access to core systems for every worker. Helping your employees get information they need to take action more quickly with less effort. All right, back to you, JD.


Thanks Geoffrey. And of course as users use content microapps and assistant command integrations to access these systems, we give you insights to take action. Every click impression is tracked to deliver real time visibility and give you real comprehensive workforce intelligence. So we’re going to pause here now for questions on command intergrations or anything else that you’ve seen today. Okay. Are you seeing companies use Social Chorus as their intranet platform? We have an existing employee portal where we have social course embedded as an RSS feed. It feels like a lot of the new features overlap with what we offer through our employee portal for our company SC is solely newsreader advocacy tool. So the short answer to that is yes, we do have companies leveraging Social Chorus as part of their intranet solution.

We have companies that use Social Chorus that intranet a landing page for their employees. We have companies that have used microapps or solutions similar to microapps to really update an intranet refresh and accomplish that in a fraction of the time, it would take to completely revamp an intranet. So I would say there is far more that Social Chorus could do for you, for beyond news reading advocacy. Be it intranet, becoming a landing page for you and part of your modern intranet solution or even a refresh of current intranet.

Is integrated search across systems platforms available now, or is that a future feature? Geoffrey, do you want to take search and how we’re looking at that for our command integrations.


Yeah. So we have some pieces in place now and it’s obviously something that we want to continue to grow the number of different resources we can pull from. So not only do we want to have the integrations pieces exposed within that right-hand side, but really bringing that information throughout the rest of the interface. When you go into search, you’ll be able to actually look and get those results, handle any logins or security that you may need to do. But it’s a bit of a mix of both, some things in the works and obviously lots of plans down the road.


Great. Thanks Jeffrey. That was also another question from Anne, really interested in integrated search, it’s a pain point right now within our organization. And we are seeing that with organizations, as you have employees on the Social Chorus platform, they’re interacting on the desktop or the mobile app, they can search, how can they also search your SharePoint? How can they also search other platforms that have content and information, so that is something that we’re talking through and working on currently.


And JD, there was a message directly to me asking a question about Microsoft Teams. One of the things with all of this as you said in the beginning, we want to get to every worker wherever they are. So it’s not about choosing one thing or another it’s about building momentum together and solving for the employee. So if you’re using one solution or another, our goal is to create that connection, to make sure that everyone is involved.


Great. We also have two questions came in at almost the same time around security, how the integrations work from a security perspective, our SCF is fairly open, you don’t have to resign and frequently our company portal signs you out after 15 minutes for security reasons or requires two step verification every seven days, does that just wade people from using the program and then somebody else, Karen has asked about passer of data from payroll, HR systems, like Oracle to the assistant command integrations, and these are great questions. When you think of a platform like Social Chorus, news and information, you want that to be open, you do not want to create frictions. You don’t want to have to lose users log in over and over. When we think about our command integrations and you’re moving from news and information that’s targeted and personalized to, I would like to see my payroll data, our command integrations allow for an additional layer of security.

So you saw on the demo, Geoffrey had to log into ServiceNow to approve because he needed to prove he was a manager in that system. He had the authority to do it. You are able to set your social chorus settings to say, don’t force log out a user, let them come in and see news and information. But when they go to a command and intergration, or they say, I want to see my paycheck, or I want to view my PTO or however you’d like that set up. We had made sure that we authenticate the user, and then we can set that to make sure that that’s at an interval that works for your security team at your company, the pastor of data, we are going through your system. And we are looking at the data. We are not storing your data, taking your data, moving your data. So it is all very secure.


And if I can just add a little bit more to that. So we literally have had grids where we’ll look at different software solutions and different policies, and it’s a bit, you get to pick what you actually need. Some organizations are a little bit more relaxed and some software, some SAS solutions are super strict. Some of them don’t even have in terms of the technology, a lot of them use OAuth 2, some of them open ID connect on top of that. Some don’t even have refresh tokens. So you literally have to go in and login every single time once that token expires. So we look at all of those different dynamics and especially when you’re integrated through SSO, we’re able to oftentimes map the user within social Horace, back to the user within the SAS product. So it really does depend if it’s a very sensitive kind of information within that external system.

We’ll definitely ask for authentication earlier, but as we saw within ServiceNow, maybe it’s not quite as much of a barrier that needs to be there. So you can view information and we’ll use client credentials more of like a server to server communication to just get some of that information and the context of that particular employee. And then like JD said, when they actually going to take action, we certainly request that they log in, we verify who they are and then they can take that action and it takes that action on behalf of them. So if you go into the actual SAS product, you would see that they took that action.


Great. Thanks Geoffrey. Well, Dan is asking what would be able to embed assistant integrations into our intranet similar to microapps. So yes, that is on the roadmap. So right now we’re talking about content microapps. One of our roadmap items is to also take our concept of assistant that smart inbox integration, and also allow you to embed that throughout our organization again, allowing workers to really engage with content notifications, integrations, wherever they want to work during the day.

And I think I had one other question I don’t want to skip anyone’s questions. Can microapps be custom tools are only predesigned apps for a specific catalog? So when we’re talking about microapps and embedding it is a platform that allows you to either use a URL or an I-frame. So many of the platforms that I mentioned in the demo, HighSpot Salesforce, AAM, Google SharePoint are definitely going to be on that list. If you have a custom tool that you’ve built internally, if it can visualize a URL or an I-frame, then that would be something that a micro app can embed too. Also on our roadmap, are SDK’s because we do know that clients and organizations have their own native apps that they’re building and we’d also want to extend our microapps to those as well.

All right. I think that is all of the questions that we have on the chat. Thank you so much for asking those great questions. Wait, one more. Do assistant notification work inside of the microapp for example, if I’m using microapp in Teams, do I see my notifications? So that is similar to the question that Dan asked about our assistant coming through as a microapp, and that will be something that’s on our roadmap and it would be something that we’ll be working on [inaudible 00:25:50] of this year. Great. As you can tell, we are very excited about these new products we’re rolling out. We truly feel that this will make the digital employee experience work for every worker, and I know we just touched the surface here. We only answered a couple of questions. So if you have more questions really specific to your company, please reach out for detailed demonstration. You can go to and get a demo. And thanks again for your time and attention and please enjoy the remainder of the conference.


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