Enterprise social software has traditionally been the remit of companies where "knowledge workers" predominate but, with spread of the smartphone and tablets, franchise businesses are cottoning onto the benefits of closer, up-to-the minute collaboration.
The Cheesecake Shop is among the latest batch of firms to deploy an enterprise social system - think of a Facebook for business. Founded 21 years ago, the Sydney-based chain has 180 stores and 2000 staff in Australia, 16 outlets in New Zealand and 14 in the UK and Poland.
Based on the World Manager software platform, TCS' system will be progressively unveiled to franchisees over the next eight months by an in-house project team.
It is expected to supersede an intranet that to date has been the company's repository for recipes, operations manuals and other corporate documents.
The term "enterprise social" is used to refer to a social networking layer, on top of traditional collaborative tools in a business environment. Features typically include: document sharing, updated posts, blogging and the ability to create shared spaces and Facebook-style online communities.
Gartner anticipates global spending on enterprise social software will reach $1.08 billion in 2014 while IDC predicts the market will be worth $4.5 billion by 2016.
Vendors, including Microsoft-owned Yammer, Salesforce-owned Chatter, Jive, Telligent and IBM, compete in the space. Start-ups abound and the sector is yet to produce a clear market leader.
TCS national marketing manager Peter Dable said the system would enable the company to deliver consistent induction and training programs online to new staff.
Previously, training was the responsibility of franchisees and some did it better than others, according to Mr Dable: "There's a feeling this hasn't been executed well through all stores."
Full story: smh.com.au/it-pro