Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Socialize Your Business Processes--Report From Enterprise 2.0 Conference

An Li of Yammer presented breathlessly on integrating enterprise applications with Yammer, an enterprise social network platform.  Integrating a social network with enterprise application does not seem to me like something that could be done initially on launch of such a platform, but the prospect of doing so could be a selling point, particularly with departments like human resources that track and rate employee contributions.
71% of employees don’t feel engaged because they don’t feel like they are part of a larger community. Organizations have become siloed.  Different business functions and different offices don’t talk to each other.  (Gallup poll 2011).   Yammer projects to have 8 million users by the end of the year. Even industries that aren’t technology companies such as oil & gas companies and heavy industry are paid clients of Yammer.

Building relationships is very hard with multiple offices, and enterprise software normally only reinforces those silos.  Yammer works to bridge gap across offices and departments.

Supervalue is a Yammer customer.  They are large grocery chain.  They had one user conference once a year, over three days.  Continuing conversation over the year was impossible before Yammer.  Then they launched Yammer and every store manager got an iPad.  They shared beach display photos, showed what’s going well.  They saw growth of revenue from sharing ideas that worked across organization. 

Integrating social within each application is resource-intensive.  Yammer is doing data-level integration.  Zendesk application shares an idea into Yammer.  Everyone in the organization can see it, so people from engineering, marketing, customer service can all see the problem.
They have integrated with:

·         SharePoint
·         Box
·         Salesforce
·         Ultimate software
·         Netsuite
·         Zendesk
Etc. etc.

They use the “Open Graph” protocol to get data into Yammer.  They use “Connect” to push data into enterprise systems.

Universal search lets you filter by people, groups, applications, pages, and topics.
Aggregation is really important.  An intelligent algorhythm delivers the most relevant updates. 
Integration is not pushing raw data into Yammer.  It provides transparency around other’s work in other application.

Lisa Sterling of Ultimate Software talked about their integration of Yammer with their instance of their own software product, an HR management tool called Ultimate or UltiPro (disclosure:  my firm has purchased UltiPro). 

At Ultimate, employees don’t use UltiPro as much as they use Yammer. Managers can see contributions and collaborations within UltiPro so they can see what people are doing to be successful.  Yammer also gets a feed of internal job opportunities.  The interface both consumes information and broadcasts information.  Yammer also provides a way to reward people for good work; UltiPro consumes Yammer badges, leaderboards, and rewards.   

They are moving to a single sign-on capacity.  Also tying completion of work milestones within Yammer into UltiPro.  They will also be using UltiPro to share communications, as around birthdays, anniversaries. 

Ultimate's story is a good example of leveraging information obtained through enterprise social networks.  It shows some of the benefits that might come to management from employees "working out loud", exposing their work, interests, and project activities.

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