My personal gems from IntranetNow

GemsOn October 5 I participated in IntranetNow, and a wonderful conference it was!

There were plenty of interesting and enjoyable presentations but below are the ones that resonated most with me:

1. An excellent Yammer use case

Baxter Willis of WM Reply shared a great Yammer use case from one of his clients, drinks business Diageo.
Apparently they have an archive of all bottle types, advertising materials, recipes etc. Nobody was really aware of that department, until recently. They are digitizing their content and the archivist posts something interesting on Yammer every day, e.g.
“Did you know that Pimm’s has been associated with Wimbledon from the 1930’s?” accompanying a picture of a nice old newspaper ad proving her point.
This lady is now the toast of the company and her Yammer group is very popular.

I like this because it is another easy way to share knowledge, which would otherwise be hidden in the archive. Posting it on Yammer costs nothing more than 5 or 10 mins a day. It helps the Marketing and Social Media people in their current work by giving them new insights to the company and its history.

The new Smirnoff label is now based on earlier labels throughout time, and this is also caused by this work!

2. How to get feedback from your employees

Emma Morrison and Usman Hasan of Hyde discussed the their intranet redesign, based on feedback sessions with their employees.

What I liked about this is that they used a simple but effective approach of lunch sessions, and shared their learnings.

The “let them rant” or “whine and dine” idea resonated with me, as I have also found that sometimes people just want to vent, sometimes not about the intranet itself, but about related things.
In my situation I have heard from several annoyed people who had been handed over a team site due to reorganizations – either because they had a new role and the team site came with it, or because the previous owner had moved on. Someone else’s team site can be quite hard to handle as the setup and especially the permissions are not always documented or intuitive.
I have learned that the best way to help them is to go through their site together, trying to make sense of it (looking at site contents, checking permissions), rather than trying to defend something or taking it personally. 🙂

3. Improving an intranet with no budget

Janet White shared her approach to improve an intranet with very simple means and no budget. Anyone who can get good results with creativity and elbow grease, rather than money, is my hero!

Using simple tools like card sorting, tree testing and talking to users helped her to improve the navigation of the intranet (better labels and better structure) and some of the content.

Note

I have linked to the Slideshare versions of the presentations as I expect the information on the IntranetNow website will be replaced next year.

Image courtesy of Aasimshaz

Advertisements

Using Yammer for a business process

YammerWe tend to think of Yammer as an optional communication and collaboration channel, where you can discuss topics and share information with and ask questions to all your colleagues, independent of where they are in the organization or on the globe.

But Yammer can also be used as part of a business process.

I recently talked to a Retail Sales organization that has been using Yammer for several years for a number of business processes.

1. Sharing information about customers.

A Yammer group has been created for each major customer.

Sales people visit shops, shop managers and customer head offices.
If they see empty shelves where their product should have been, incorrectly priced products, packaging with peeling labels, a nice display idea from a competitor, or anything else they find remarkable, they take a picture and upload that to the Yammer group with their comments.
This way they share it immediately with colleagues and the back-office, and the back-office can take instant action if necessary.
(For long-time readers, this is very similar to the process we had to facilitate with a Team Site as Yammer was at that time not an approved tool within that company)

YammerBus-Nicedisplay
Example of something interesting at the customer.

2. Flagging opportunities for improvement.

A dedicated Yammer group facilitates this process.
Whenever something could be done better, this is mentioned in this group, such as:
“I notice that the company flag at the Customer Center looks a bit worse for wear – can we have a new one?” or  “Can we please agree on a standard update interval for prices as I now have to find the latest prices in my own files rather than in the system?”
The Sales Managers discuss these suggestions and take the necessary action.

YammerBus-ImprovementsPost
Example of a potential improvement: reduce postage costs for samples

 

3.  Sharing winning strategies and achievements.

Another group has been created to share wins and winning strategies, as well as losses. Of course the Sales people are eager to share their wins, or show how they have added value or made a customer happy! Losses can also be a source for learning of course.
That information helps colleagues in two ways: they know what is happening with that customer, and they may learn different tactics to increase their negotiation repertoire.

YammerBus-Winexample
Example of win and interesting developments.

 

Not perfect

Is this perfect as a business system?
No. Yammer is not a CRM or Task Management system and conversations are easily lost without a process in place to capture and follow-up on them. Management and back office need to capture all posts manually and turn them into action lists and reports.
Posts are sometimes shared in the AllCompany group instead of in the group. (But you know you can move Yammer posts to different groups, right?)

YammerBus-Move conversation
In case you did not know – you can move conversations to a(nother) group!

 

But it works for them – the mobile Yammer app saves time for the Sales people, who are the face of the organization. They are on the road a lot and taking a picture with their phone and explaining in a few words at which branch of which customer they are and what they see, is quick, easy and useful.

As the Sales force does not often meet at the office, general improvements or the sharing of sales tactics might be forgotten without the Yammer group – but with the app they can share details immediately from any location.

Examples work!

The scenarios above may not work for you. But I have found that sharing examples help people to imagine what they can do with Yammer.

The other day I showed a rather skeptical audience these, and some other examples, of using Yammer. I also explained that, contrary to email chains, Yammer conversations are visible for people who get added to the group, e.g. new employees in the team.
All of a sudden one person said: “Aha! I am a Subject Matter Expert and I get a lot of emails from different people, asking me the same questions over and over again. If we use a Yammer group, we can share the questions and answers with everyone. That will save us all time. ”
We created that group there and then – it was also a good demo for the audience 🙂

Can you share some examples of how you have used Yammer for business processes?

10 things you want to know about Yammer external networks

YammerSome weeks ago I offered a project team to create a Yammer group. It was a team with a lot of externals, so it had to be an external group. Or so I thought.

However, it turned out I had to create a new “child” network off my company network, because external groups were not available at that time. They are now, but your administrator can turn this off, so a child network may still be the only option available to you.

This has been a great learning experience since a child network has some peculiarities: it is different from a group (obviously), and also different from the company network.

So of course I am logging all the interesting things that I find as the project develops; for myself, my colleagues and for anyone else who is involved with external Yammer networks.

For the administrator:

  1. The URL of your new network will be https://www.yammer.com/name  so you are competing with all the world. Your desired name may already been taken, so have a few alternatives ready.
  2. The person who creates the child network is automatically added as the (child) network administrator, with all the trimmings. If you do not like the idea that everyone in your organization can become a network administrator, you may want to limit the options to create child networks, and can decide to make this option available for the parent Yammer administrators only. (If you are a Yammer admin, go to Network Administration > External Networks)
  3. You need to invite everyone with their email address; you can not use the existing network to select from.
  4. Some companies do not allow their employees to join any external Yammer network, but need approval from their Yammer admin. This is a setting that lives in the same place as nr. 2.
  5. This is a separate network, not a group, so people can create groups under this network. You can not turn this off.
  6. The parent network has more administration settings and options than the child network. For instance, the “External Networks”, Ïnvite Guests” and “Account Activity”  options are not available in the child network.
ExternalNetworksAdmin
Part of the  parent network admin settings.

 

For the users of your network:

You may want to inform them about this in a quick user guide. I have logged them in a Yammer Note on the All Company network.

Network Note
Yammer notes are a good way to capture information for the group/network.

 

  1. The new network will not be visible under My Groups; instead you have to navigate networks via the gear wheel next to your profile pic (bottom left at the moment of writing).
  2. Since this is a separate network, you will have to refollow those people you want to follow.
  3. You will also have to re-set your email notifications for this network
  4. Make sure that you are on the correct page – you enter the default homepage but this is not the same as the All Company stream. (Which does not feel logical to me, but that can be me)

Have you found any other “gotcha’s” for Yammer external networks? Or have I got it wrong on some things? Please share!

Yammer Groups videos

YammerVideoI wish that Microsoft would create a Yammer training video whenever the interface changed. Yammer works exactly the same for all of us, so it would be nice if we all did not have to reinvent that wheel.

What differs between customers, apart from the masthead they use, is their reasons for using Yammer. This results in very interesting case-studies of the benefits Yammer can bring in that organization. I have already highlighted a few in my earlier post, and I will continue to add those to my collection.

But there are different themes for Yammer videos than demo’s or teasers.

This hilarious video from Virgin Trains tries to stimulate the use of Yammer Groups as opposed to the All Company Network.

By the way, their Yammer launch video (and the case study: getting an alpaca out of the train) is also worth watching!

And this set of 3 videos are about Community Management. They compare a Yammer Group to a party, with guidelines to match. I love the analogy, I love the characters, I love the warning at the beginning, and I want that Bat-device! 🙂

Part 1: Starting Out

 

Part 2: Managing and Maintaining

 

Part 3: Promoting and Expanding

Although the look-and-feel may not be suitable for use in every organization, the recommendations at the end of every video are solid and helpful for all of us who have a role in managing communities on Yammer (or other enterprise social networks, of course).

It’s discovering videos like these that make collecting intranet videos so much fun!

By the way, you can filter on “Yammer”  in my collection to see all Yammer-related videos. And as always, please let me know if you know any good additions!

Yammer promotion videos

YammerVideoMy latest post triggered the question:
“Do organizations create separate promotion or instruction videos for their Yammer rollout?”

Yes, they do.

So…they are now in my collection, tagged with Yammer.

I have found many that just demonstrate the standard functionalities. I think that is a waste of effort, since there are plenty of tutorial materials around.
Therefore I have focused on videos that are specific to an organization, that  demonstrate how you can use Yammer within your team, with your specific issues. Those add real value, because demonstrating a case that people can relate to, is a good way to make people understand the benefits of Yammer.

These are my favourites:

Qantas

This is more like a teaser, informing catering employees how to use a specific Yammer group to collaborate with internal and external partners.

VerizonWireless

Tongue-in-cheek animation about project management in Yammer and the power of Yammer topics. I must admit that I was not aware of all functionalities of Yammer topics so I learned something new!

I am sure I will be adding to my collection over time. And as always, if you know another promotion video for my collection, please share the link!

Creating an adoption plan with the Office365 Customer Success Center

O365successAt the Office 365 summit  I learned about the Office365 Success Center. This contains tons of resources and planning tools to get your Office365 launch and adoption planned. I was quite happy about that because it means all those Microsoft/Office365 customers no longer have to reinvent all wheels themselves. (You know I hate that)

A Yammer implementation (Work like a network)
I recently had the opportunity to do a Yammer implementation for a specific team so I was eager to test-drive the tool and share my experiences.

0. Access and sign-in.
Go to https://success.office.com/en-us and go to Adoption > Adoption Plan. My default Dutch version does not have the Adoption Plan options, so please add “en-us” to the URL.

How to create and access your plan.
How to create and access your plan.

After signing in, click on Create New, add title and description, and after saving the following screen is shown. (All progress bars are grey if you start)
You can see different steps with their progress. You set the progress yourself using the Save (in progress – blue) or Finish (finished – green buttons below every topic.
You open or close the item with the icon on the right of the section.
As you go along, you will also see many document-based templates on the left-hand side of the page, such as tips or templates for posters/flyers. This blog focuses on the online plan.

Progress Overviw
Progress Overview. You start with only grey boxes and you set the progress yourself.


1. Stakeholders.

You can select which roles are involved and add their names. You can also remove all roles not needed. In this case, we only had a few roles, but it was a useful exercise to note the names and responsibilities for everyone in the project team.

Adding names to roles
Adding the names to the roles.

2. Vision
The tool tells you to use ”1-4 sentences” but it is unclear exactly how many characters you can use. There is no warning when you exceed the character limit. In that case your data is simply not saved, or an older shorter version is saved.

Vision statement
Enter the Vision statement


Suggested improvements:

  • Add information about the # of characters allowed for the Vision. Show a warning when you are using more.
  • Make the Vision statement more useful, by e.g. prompting to check or revise the vision during creation of your plan.  I understand that a tool like this can not tell you that “this action or metric is not in line with your vision”, but I would like to be prompted to review the vision or to check if your action plan will promote the vision.

3. Scenario
Next in line is the Scenario you are looking for. There are 5, and I chose “Work like a network”. You can then prioritize the scenarios, but we only had one so there was no need.

4. Success Metrics
Of course you have to measure if you are on plan.  You get 6 examples, but you can add, edit and delete according to your own plans.
The examples were very useful for the exact wording of our metrics, but the display is a little odd 🙂

Success Metric section
The Success Metrics section. Good content, but the display needs some work.


Suggested improvements:

  • In the plan, please improve the display of the texts – there is html in there (screenshot)
  • In the Snapshot, check display – many spaces between words are missing.

5. Activities
Selecting your Scenario filters the suggested Activities for your project. These contain a very complete overview of all possible actions during pre-launch, launch and post-launch, including a proposed timeline.
There were a few that we had not thought of and gladly included in our plan.  There were also a couple that were not relevant for us, so we removed those.

Activities
Activities, grouped by Pre-Launch, Launch and Post-Launch.


Suggested improvements:

  • Replicate the names of the Stakeholders automatically into the Owner fields.
  • Explain what the square box does. (highlighted)
  • Replace “Office365” by “Yammer” in the Activities texts if you select the “Work like a network” scenario.

6. Snapshot
You can save and download a Snapshot (in Word) of your adoption plan, with all information you entered as well as a lot of explanation, tips etc. This turned out to be many pages (25 in our case for just 1 scenario!), and it also does not sort as in the plan.
I had to rework it (mainly removing all content that was not added/modified by ourselves) to make it into a concise actionable sharable plan.

Snapshot in Word
The Snapshot is your total plan in a document


Suggested improvements:

  • Add an option to create one Snapshot per scenario. Success Metrics and Activities may be different for each scenario.
  • Remove the additional info from the Snapshot so you end up with a concise plan, preferably in Excel so it can be turned into a SharePoint Task List 🙂 
  • Make Snapshot available as PowerPoint and/or Sway  so it can instantly be presented and/or shared.
  • Check texts for consistency: e.g. the Stakeholders are called Project Members  in the Snapshot.
  • Accept the comments in the first pages of the Snapshot.

Conclusion:
The concept is excellent. This tool and the templates will help you structure your adoption plan for the maximum chance of success, without having to invent everything yourself.
I have suggested some improvements mainly on the execution part. I expect Microsoft will be solving those soon. The current plan is already much better than when I used it a month or two ago.

Have you used this tool as well and if yes, what were your findings?

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net