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Skype for Organizations: Case Studies

As far back as 2006, the Dutch bank Postbank added a link for customer service via Skype chat (http://blogs.skype.com/en/2006/02/dutch_bank_tests_skype_for_cus.html). Therapists are using it to treat patients (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/fashion/therapists-are-seeing-patients-online.html?_r=1) and although most sessions continue to be scheduled, Skype also makes it possible for patients to contact therapists for short, as-needed mini-sessions.

In September 2011, Texas Wesleyan University staff and student tutors launched a Skype-based tutoring service to undergraduate students (http://www.therambler.org/news/skype-provides-new-platform-for-wesleyan-student-tutoring-1.2646629). The tutors point their web camera at a desk service in which they can write math problems and work out solutions or ideas with students.

This is a great solution because a majority of TWU students commute, which is a situation analogous to businesses with a large percentage of remote workers.

In October 2011, the Adelaide archdiocese of the Catholic Church launched its Leap Ahead program (http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/skypes-the-limit-for-more-remote-parishes/story-e6frea83-1226162466022), which uses Skype technology to reach out to remote and isolated parishes.

It's interesting that several of those pioneering the use of communication technology to reach out are organizations that have a history and organizational philosophy of evangelism. There has been speculation that some businesses might eventually have a Chief Workplace Officer to oversee, assess and coordinate both physical and virtual workplaces.

Whether that's a new position or a function of HR and individual managers, the spirit of supervisors reaching out is one key to success with Internet communications technology.

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