Telus had a lot invested in Microsoft products, Pontefract admits, since it was already using OCS (Office Communications Server), Office and SharePoint 2007.
"I'm not speaking for the CIO, but I'm assuming that Microsoft integration was a compelling argument to go with SharePoint 2010," he says.
With that said, Ponte points out that SharePoint 2007 did not have much social computing and SharePoint 2010 has made great strides in this area.
"The 2007 version had some discussion board features but that's about it," says Pontefract. "SharePoint 2010 allows you to connect people, follow your colleagues and see what they're doing or working on. It opens up the notion that it's okay to put your hand up and say, 'How can I help' as much as asking for help."
Telus is using SharePoint 2010's enhanced MySites — which include profile pages similar to those on Facebook — to "make a connection between Telus employees' skills and talents and what they contribute, such as user-generated content and blog posts."
On SharePoint 2010's MyProfile page there is an "Ask me about" section for each person that lists his or her areas of expertise, so co-workers can see a person's skills and ping them for help on a certain subject.
Pontefract underscores the benefits of connectivity between SharePoint 2010 and the rest of the Microsoft ecosystem. When viewing somebody's MyProfile page there's a "presence" tool next to the profile picture displaying whether that person is online, in a meeting or offline.
"The presence tool integrates into Outlook and OCS so just by hovering over someone's picture there are options to e-mail that person, send an IM, place a phone call or set a calendar request meeting."
The organization chart for a group has also been elevated in SharePoint 2010 using Silverlight to display people's clickable pictures, titles and job descriptions. "You can move vertically up and down to see the hierachy. It puts in context what was a static text-based organization chart in SharePoint 2007," says Pontefract.
Advice: Don't Navigate Culture Shift Alone
Pontefract can't stress enough that instructor-led classes are a thing of the past, calling them "single-stop shop thinking." Social networking tools, he says, represent a fundamental and philosophical shift in old school learning.