Yammer, SharePoint and the mobile experience

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a very interesting webinar called "Yammer + SharePoint + Mobile = Oh My" which looked at what the integration of Yammer within SharePoint really means.

The webinar started with the presenter outlining the case for social and mobile solutions and there are certainly some interesting statistics out there to support the case for social and mobile solutions. They include the following:

  •  95% of users want to take advantage of BYOD policies and use their own devices rather then their employees Laptop or PC
  • 34 hours a week is spent by millenials on social tools
  • 70% of an an IT budget is spent on maintaining existing equipment
  • There will be 1.2 billion mobile users by the end of 2013

Given these figures organisations need to think about how they can leverage the potential of social tools, by looking at some of the benefits it can bring, especially in relation to tasks that are undertaken on a regular basis by users, so:

  •  38% of users spend time looking for information
  • SharePoint can help find/surface information
  • Social networks can be an efficient way of finding information
  • Social technologies can raise productivity by 25%

Whilst these figures are all very good and make for pleasant reading, organisations need to justify an investment in social tools, by looking at some of the "hard" benefits. These were outlined as follows;

  • Competitive advantage
  • Employee retention - If you leverage social tools you're likely to get more employees
  • Improved institutional knowledge
  • Increased productivity
  • Employee acquisition
  • Employee engagement - Social tools make engaging employees easier

Ultimately individuals should be able to access the tools they need to undertake their work the way they want to access them. On the fly, when they need it and how they need it. The presenter then looked at how Office 365 and Yammer could be used to facilitate a social and mobile experience. SharePoint and Yammer is actually an interesting proposition, especially with the changes Microsoft have made in SharePoint 2013. These include:

  • Mobile browsing with HTML5
  • Device channel support
  • Responsive design
  • Yammer (newsfeeds)
  • SkyDrive Pro

It was certainly interesting to hear the thoughts of the presenter in relation to the 365 experience, which he indicated has to be the best experience across all devices and to be a truly compelling experience has to be available across all devices and internet browsers. There was then a brief discussion of the role Yammer has to play within the social experience. The presenter described Yammer as the conversation layer, driving conversations within organisations, which ultimately drives knowledge sharing and engagement.

The presenter then looked at how we "do social" and what some of the issues are with implementing a social experience. I think the biggest issue is that social technologies will change the way we work, so culturally an organisation has to be ready for social tools, otherwise they're just going to bomb.

The presenter suggested taking a two pronged approach to any implementation. By looking at the different goals, different audiences have. So users are looking for tools that make their lives easier and fewer systems, whilst the organisations might be looking to make money/save money as well as empower the user.

Another consideration is what IT will think. They may be looking to reduce costs, have less support calls to deal with and be able to respond to the business faster and more efficiently. The presenter also suggest the best way to develop and deploy a social and mobile experience is not to go for the big bang approach, but to pick a pilot group, understand the technology challenges they're facing and decide whether a social and mobile approach is relevant before moving on to the next group.

Measurement and adoption

This was looked at in some detail by the presenter, with him describing social measurement like trying to nail jelly to a wall! So if you are looking at measurement it's important to make sure what you're trying to do is achieveable and that wherever possible you demonstrate your successes early, ultimately this will encourage other individuals and groups to use social tools.

Another discussion point was around adoption with the presenter suggesting that for a social experience to be successful, there are a number of critical factors. These include the following:

  • Executive sponsorship
  • Engaging users from Day 1
  • Having the right processes in place
  • Making your efforts measurable
  • Having launch events
  • Investing in training
  • Having an invested and engaged user community
  • Keeping it simple

This was a really interesting webinar, but you don't have to take my word for it. You can watch the webinar in full at the CMS wire website.