Cerner has a long history of enterprise collaboration, first introducing collaboration tools and standing up communities in 2009. When we moved all collaboration into Office 365, associates quickly moved online communities into Yammer, Teams and SharePoint. We introduced Yammer to our employees in September of 2018 as part of a replacement for a previous collaboration platform.
Currently, nearly 2,000 Yammer groups have been created at Cerner with a number of different use cases, ranging from communities of practice to organizational communication to answering questions about a program or initiative. You can learn more of our story here.
In a company the size of Cerner (nearly 30,000 associates), it is important to be able to quickly find and share information effectively. As our associates answer questions and collaborate with one another, subject matter experts become evident to the rest of the community.
Thanks to this ability to share information, work collaboratively and identify experts, one team at Cerner was able to save 1,000 hours of manual work through automating of a process.
Here’s their story...
One of the consulting teams at Cerner has a process that involved inputting legacy data into a different application to prepare a client to use a new application. This manual process has numerous opportunities for mistakes and formatting errors, in addition to the time involved from the team. The team’s manager knew that there was the opportunity for automation through Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), but didn’t have the expertise within the team to automate the process.
The manager (Cheaney) searched “Visual Basic” within Cerner’s Yammer network, and found discussions in the Office 365 at Cerner Yammer group about using VBA. He noticed that one associate was knowledgeable/helpful with VBA questions. This employee was responding to questions on Yammer about VBA and helping other employees troubleshoot problems.
The manager reached out to that person (Henry) and explained the problem his team was trying to solve. Henry said he could create a VBA macro with just a few hours of work. Henry did so, and the consulting team now has an automated process for managing and manipulating the data. Using this VBA macro, the team is saving a minimum of 1,000 hours per year on previous manual work, with no errors or formatting issues.
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The manager of the consulting team had this to say about Yammer, “Yammer is great to connect people and solve a problem. I would not have been able to connect with another expert (Henry) if this tool hadn’t been around.”
Tips for finding experts in your own Yammer network:
Make sure your culture supports collaboration - Cerner has a culture where sharing information and working collaboratively is encouraged. The VBA expert (Henry) had the support of his team to spend some of his day actively participating in Yammer discussions and sharing his knowledge, in addition to getting knowledge from other.
Provide a mechanism to share success - We have a group on Yammer dedicated to Community Owners and we actively solicit examples of collaboration success. Make sure you take the time to collect, share, and record those successes.
Acknowledge those who share information – Provide those who exhibit great collaborative behavior with rewards (small swag) or with shout-outs in the community.
To learn more about Cerner's Yammer journey, check out the Case Study.
Lance Yoder is Manager, Workforce Adoption, in the Shared Services Engineering organization at Cerner. His team is responsible for driving adoption of collaborative tools, community management and content architecture on several platforms, including Office 365. He helped lead Cerner’s rollout of Yammer in 2018. He has presented at various industry and local events on content strategy and collaboration, including the SharePoint NA Conference in 2019.