The Social Enterprise


Today I was fortunate enough to attend Microsoft Canada’s Engage Roadshow which has been going around Canada talking about Microsoft’s perspective on a Social Enterprise.  I’ll post the link to the PowerPoint because it has some great content (pretty sure I can share, didn’t hear otherwise) however I wanted to reflect on what was discussed and what a Social Enterprise means to me.

Some interesting stats to start:


350 million tweets per day

Facebook Logo

955 million engaged users

Skype Logo

~25% of all international call minutes

People are connecting today unlike they’ve ever connected in the past and it’s now transforming the way we view our enterprise and how we connect at work.  We have phones and email as the standard fare, and in more and more places instant messaging like Lync or Jabber.  While these IM tools are allowing us to instantly connect and have followed the same path as what’s available to consumers, as to are social media sites.  Companies like Yammer have come onto the scene in the last few years and are taking the same principals seen on Facebook, Google+ and bringing them to the enterprise, allowing people across a distributed work force to connect and share ideas in what is a very familiar atmosphere.  It’s this familiarity that should allow a concept like this to go viral inside a company.  Companies are catching on, 85% of Fortune 500 companies are using Yammer for example.  However some corporations still have reservations.Yammer Logo because they don’t see the value, or it’s hasn’t been properly communicated to them.

This is where today’s road show really helped bring some perspective into how to sell this idea to the executives.  Microsoft’s last slide this morning really summed it up and said the following “Social is about empowering bottom-up organization (individuals, communities, groups) to make top down business goals successful (increased revenue, lower costs, reduced turnover).  Now this is great from a marketing perspective but really how do you do that?  Again how do you sell this to your executives who are viewing this as just another time waster and bringing another “Facebook” like site to distract employees?  The key to that question is you need to solve a business problem and not try to find an excuse to be “social”.  If you are an IT leader that has any insight into the vision or objectives for the year, you’ll need to tie your social enterprise strategy to those visions or objectives if you want traction.

@JoeBoughner discussed just how to do that and you can read that via the slides I’ve shared below.  The strategy is quite simple and if you think about it, is the same method you would apply to any initiative you are trying to get buy in.  If you can demonstrate value and how it supports the companies vision then you are less likely to be told no.  I think where I struggle is finding examples and hard case studies that demonstrate this.  Social Enterprise is still quite new and while Yammer does have case studies, you need to be able to extrapolate what is relevant to your company and what problems you are trying to solve.  For example I really like the case study that was done on Xerox I think it shows exactly what value Social Enterprise brings to a company. Yammer Case Studies – Xerox

I really think having a Social Enterprise allows for a workforce to connect and be engaged with employees that they otherwise wouldn’t engage with.  If your company is diverse and even if it’s not, it gives people a great way to ask questions and seek out information in a very familiar way. We cannot be expected to know everything nor should we.  We need to expand our connections are work just like we expand our connections outside of work.  Being engaged in a community and contributing just has that overall good feeling, and if you are able to help out your fellow colleague, all the better.  A great link that was provided by a fellow Yammer connection @BrookeMartin sums it up with this picture below:

What they know now

I’m looking forward to putting together a business case later on this year to formalize our Social Enterprise strategy.  We’ve been using Yammer for over 2 years now (pre-Microsoft acquisition) and have seen ups and downs in it’s usage but overall have had some good content and discussion.  If we actually put together a strategy and as mentioned above, demonstrate value, then I believe we will have a larger engaged enterprise and can show things like increased revenue, an engaged workforce and in turn a reduced turn over rate.  New employees these days are expecting Lync/Jabber, Social platforms, and collaboration tools as standards, its up to companies to ensure they have these items in place to attract the best talent, because if they don’t, those potential employees will go to a company that does.

Microsoft Engage Roadshow (YEG) – Power Point

I’ll end with a great info-graphic summing up the benefits of a platform like Yammer.


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One Response to The Social Enterprise

  1. Pingback: Enterprise social – Why we are high on Microsoft | non-linear thinking

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