As a consult who helps customers use products like Yammer, I get lots of questions. And a common question I get from customers is, why should we use Yammer?
It’s often in relation to them using other services for communication already, and rolling out yet another service must make sense for them.
There are quite a few services in the Office 365 suite available today that can be used as tools for communication. These include:
Skype for business Online
It’s not hard to see why customers gets confused about what service to use and when. Therefore, it’s important to customers to understand that each service has its own purpose. Sure, some of these are overlapping but the audience and type of communication differs greatly!
Often times my clients are not interested in a technical walk through at first, but rather focused on outcomes and business benefits. I compare Yammer to services my clients already know or currently use, and then explain the benefits of using it often in addition to those.
The key point is to make these benefits relevant to each organization and department. Developing specific use cases with each business group helps define success and understand how the technology will support the goals.
I worked with a customer who struggled with internal communication. They used a on-premises version of SharePoint and a few moderators posted company news weekly. After they discovered that users in fact did not read these posts or even visit the intranet at all, this customer called me.
We conducted a survey which revealed that users just didn’t feel engaged and received no response when they had feedback. The team explained that even the moderators who were posting the news, rarely visited the intranet between postings. Furthermore, it was discovered that users started mailing feedback and reactions back and forth, creating long mail threads which ended up nowhere and created misunderstandings and confusion.
Fast forward our conversations together, I explained the concept of working out loud and creating a companywide communication channel, where everyone is invited and have the ability to participate. We introduced them to Yammer and showed how Yammer could be used in a two-way dialogs that their current solution could not.
We took the company news to Yammer. We also provided basic training to a group of pilot users and gave them access to use the service.
Two weeks later we did a follow up survey, and it was a success. The moderators and pilot users had shown a huge increase in engagement and they enjoyed the conversations that accompanied the news.
In addition, during those short two weeks we saw the pilot users start to create Yammer groups of interests and they came up with ways they could use Yammer within their own daily work. Their company culture was starting to become an outward expression via their conversations in Yammer.
Consequently, we ended up working together to implement Yammer across the whole organisation and they are using Yammer to this day.
So, what’s the conclusion of all this?
Make sure to answer the “what and why” first! Don’t get into the technical details and talk about features and all the other stuff possible! This step is great fun too, but it’s secondary.
Make sure to get to know your audience, asking what do they need and what do they want to do? It’s about making sure our customers are using the right service for the right purpose, to make a successful rollout. Just giving them the features isn't enough. It’s the outcome of these features that’s most important step, at every level of the organization.
Adam Deltinger is a consultant with a long technical background but today working mostly to empower businesses with the help of Office 365 and the modern workplace! Adam meets with customers almost everyday struggling with how to communicate, and how to do that in the most effective way.