Updated August 1 at 11:45am

Social tools being adapted for Web-based QC tool

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

Houston-based oil-rig consulting firm The Athens Group first started using a quality-management system from Traction Software Inc. of Providence six years ago for an upcoming push for ISO 9001 certification.

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Social tools being adapted for Web-based QC tool

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Houston-based oil-rig consulting firm The Athens Group first started using a quality-management system from Traction Software Inc. of Providence six years ago for an upcoming push for ISO 9001 certification.

The international company soon discovered that documenting its quality controls was only one of the ways it could use the software, which Traction has been developing for nearly 20 years.

Now after many jobs and a successful ISO certification, the software, called TeamPage, powers Athens’ company intranet.

“The reason we chose it is because it is Web based with a good security audit and trail feature,” said Thomas Cogdell, DTA quality manager for Athens Group. “Every change to every document is tracked and reported on, and nothing gets lost. It gives us the flexibility to encourage employees to add to the knowledge base freely and the quality control we need.”

Athens’ embrace of TeamPage to create a corporate intranet is an example of a larger wave of companies expanding Web-based quality-management software into a broad array of applications touching on the way employees work and interact.

Traction Vice President of Sales Jordan Frank said in the last few years, customers have taken the TeamPage package and run with it into new functions the company hadn’t originally imagined.

The driver, he said, is the dynamics that function in social media, in which a flexible system builds on itself and adapts to users’ needs.

“What’s been happening is we had a solution that has been leading the social-collaboration market, which was founded with blogs and wikis and Twitter-style project-management posting,” Frank said. “People have found all these ways of structuring knowledge management and put them into an enterprise 2.0 social collaboration effort.”

TeamPage operates like an internal social media platform and online news site for a company, allowing employees to communicate in the most efficient way possible.

Frank said the potential in manufacturing appears particularly powerful for small and medium-sized companies without the resources to create sophisticated internal systems in house.

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