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#WomenInTech meet Stefani Butler, founder & MD, the plat4m group LLC - Yammer evangelist

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An interview with Stefani Butler by Lesley Crook Yammer adoption consultant, Perspicuity, a Microsoft Gold Partner (UK) presenting GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Yammer story session, Wednesday 27 Sept. 

 

#WomenInTech is a key theme at MSFT Ignite taking place in Orlando 24-29 Sept with +25k delegates. The blog spotlights outstanding #Yammer #WomenInTech from around the world and how we #WorkOutLoud. Stefani is based in Indianapolis, US. We met on the Yammer Customer Network (YCN),  and have many shared interests including Indy where my sister has lived for the past 20 years, both gemini (networkers), aunties and our love of pooches. Really looking forward to meeting Stefani this coming week at #MSignite.

 

Tell us a little bit about your organization the plat4m group.

I started the plat4m group in 2006 during my time in the Washington, D.C. area. I was consulting for public and private sector businesses in need of Strategic Human Resources management and Employee Communication services. The client work was rewarding. I landed (via word of mouth and strong referrals) quite a few big brand clients in the District. Yet, I found myself back in Corporate after a couple of years consulting. I wasn't ready to lean-in to my launch, per se. So, I reverted to what was comfortable for me a steady role with steady work and minimal risk.

 

Fast forward to January 2016. I was working as an Office 365 (formerly Yammer) Customer Success Manager with Microsoft. It was my dream role! I loved what I was doing with Microsoft and with customers in the customer success, adoption and change management space. My rare hybrid experience in both Human Resources and Corporate Communications gave me a unique perspective into the full employee experience. In my world, the two have always co-existed, HR and Internal Communications. So, when navigating through the nuances of sometimes challenging technology implementations and transformations, it was easy for me to lead with the individual myopically in mind vs the product.

 

When I, along with my other amazing friends on the Global Customer Success team, was laid off from Microsoft in June 2016, I quickly realized that the perspective our team brought into technology deployments and implementations was still relevant and very much needed across a diverse set of businesses. Instead of hopping into a new role and furthering someone else’s vision, I decide to re-launch the plat4m group and grow mine.

 

Your practice is known for its trademarked service model, Adoption as a Service®. Can you share more about this model and how it's impacting technology transformations and end user adoption success.

When I left Microsoft, as I mentioned, I recognized that our work was still very much wanted and needed when you looked deep into the average customer's experience with Office 365. I looked at the basic model I was using with my own customers and decided to break it down to a very easy, scalable adoption and change management model.

 

Our service model involves five simple steps for a business to follow to achieve measurable and sustainable end user consumption with Office 365 or any cloud technology, really: Assess, Aim, Act, Analyze and Adjust. I felt so passionately about this model and the overall value of focusing on the individual as the key to successful end user adoption, that I decided to trademark the phrase Adoption as a Service® and make it the foundation of our entire practice.

 

While our niche is technology, we also apply this five-step model to organizational transformations, corporate communications, and general change management engagements. 

 

How has Yammer impacted the way that you and your clients work? 

Yammer was my first technology love! Seriously, the first time I used it at work, I thought, how in the heck did we survive without this before now? At that time, I was the Global Internal Communications Lead for a well-known high tech automotive company, with approximately 140k employees around the world (including ~20k contractors).

 

Being surrounded by experienced engineers, technical fellows, and patent owners wasn't exactly the ideal scenario for me when I initially lobbied to launch Yammer. You're talking about a group of people who tend to be extremely risk adverse and aren't keen to share their knowledge or IP with others. But in time - through the development of solid use cases, data-driven KPIs, and proofs of concept we were able to influence the right stakeholders to introduce this way of working into our infrastructure. Although that initial Yammer experience was more organic in nature, I've used many of the lessons learned from that experience with my clients, both when I was with Microsoft and today with the plat4m group.

 

Yammer is about getting, being and staying connected to the people, processes and projects that matter right now. Traditional work forces us to balance the right now with the later-on. Many times, we'll get stuck in the later-on stuff without being intentional about what needs to happen right now the stuff that needs to happen RIGHT NOW to make this team/ project/ customer a success.

 

What would you say is your most valuable skill? 

Complexity isn't my strong suit. I'm straightforward and simple, which many people find extremely valuable. Using this skill, I advise and show businesses how to keep their processes simple, their communications succinct, and their follow up steady.

 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone struggling to drive change in their organization? 

When it comes to change, I believe success hinges on a business's ability to continuously analyze and adjust. By applying the three strategies above (simple, short, steady), you substantially increase the likelihood that people will adopt new ways of thinking, learning, and working.

 

When you intentionally create an environment of trust and give people permission and room to fail quickly, you minimize the barriers to change. Establish that you are introducing something fresh versus something new that your shift will happen together as one team. Support those fast failures with quick ways to analyze and adjust, then get back on track towards your stated goals. Your people want to wow you. Let them.

 

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