Company uses collaboration, open source for online success

Fostering a collaborative environment while delivering social media and SEO solutions through open source platforms has been vital to the success of Brisbane based company, Reading Room.

Reading Room's director, Sarah Vick, spoke to Computerworld Australia about the company's success, saying the decision to expand operations from the UK into Brisbane was an easy one to make.

"Because lots of people are working in growing businesses, and because the city is a very friendly place to be, it has been really easy to network and meet like-minded people," she said. "Brisbane is developing a worldwide reputation for its focus on innovation and technology and it's a really exciting time to be here."

With collaborative technology cutting travel expenses at the National Australia Bank, Vick said Reading Room had recently undertaken a joint project with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

"In conjunction with a team of students undertaking a Masters of IT at QUT, we have just completed the research phase of a project to analyse and recommend solutions for effective internal social networking," she said.

"We have been so impressed with the results of the research that we are continuing with the project into a second implementation phase where the students work closely with us to trial and evaluate their proposed systems into our work processes."

Reading Room's client base includes Queensland Rail, Queensland Museum and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Office, and while some IT managers are grabbling with the issue of whether or not to block social media sites in the workplace, Vick said that trusting her staff to use social media in a responsible way has been key because collaborative technologies are vital in today's digital workplace.

"Early adoption of social media in the workplace is one of the ways the company stays true to its values, allows staff to collaborate creatively on projects and shares knowledge across three time zones," she said. "We put together the best teams with the most relevant skills to work on projects, regardless of where individuals are, and that means using social and collaborative technologies is essential."

The Queensland Museum worked with Reading Room to turn its website into an online museum and as a result, created a new presence online.

"Their new digital presence not only opens a gateway to hundreds of thousands of specimens, but it also opens up exciting opportunities for immersive user journeys and connects with social networks," she said.

While Vick said Reading Room sees itself as a digital communications agency rather than an IT company, the continued use of open source software and the use of HTML 5 is the next priority on Vick's IT agenda. "We're doing some exciting new projects with HTML 5," she said. "...obviously mobile technologies and apps are becoming increasingly important to our clients."

This story, "Company uses collaboration, open source for online success" was originally published by Computerworld Australia .

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