Communicators SMILE in London on Monday

5 October, 2012 - 09:28
It was a day of connectivity, collaboration and community - both in person and virtually - as 175 attendees gathered to hear best practice case studies on social media inside the large enterprise.

"Once you get people working together, things will happen that you don’t expect – things you did not predict - also, some of what you expected to happen will not."

Those were just some of the words of enterprise social networking wisdom presented at simply-smile – Social Media Inside the Large Enterprise – this week.

They were spoken by Mike Grafham, Head of Customer Success at Yammer. Grafham was one of several presenters at the conference attended by 135 communicators from the likes of Vodafone, Aer Lingus, GSK, Heineken and Ernst and Young.

Internal social media in action

The conference was kicked off by Fabio Delton and Stefania Todisco of UniCredit Bank in Milan sharing their success in launching their internal site, OneNet. The two presenters – along with SMILE co-chair, Silvia Cambie, spoke of user adoption, establishing proper governance and stressed the importance of making social media platforms global since there’s “always a danger that they can get too localized.” To balance content, Delton and Todisco recommended company events as a way “to get people talking around the world.”

(Hear more about the OneNet case study on October’s simply-tv and in Silvia Cambie’s informative white paper).

Tom Barton, Head of Communications, UK at Capgemini shared his own experiences using Yammer which made for an engaging case study for those attending the conference in person and virtually.

Among his key points that registered with delegates was treating internal social platforms as “test beds” for internal and external company initiatives. Barton also pointed out the ability of social media to give an “instant temperature” check of how a company is feeling, ridding the need to wait for the annual global survey results.

Intranet best practices were also highlighted including Capgemini’s practices of structuring its intranet around hubs based on where employees are located and their particular function at the company. Content on the site is tailored accordingly. At the time of the conference, Capgemini had just switched over from 26 separate intranet sites to one!

Other Yammer early adopters who presented at SMILE were Laura Jennings and Kirsty Harvie of Diageo. Each helped to launch a social site called Mosaic and credited a supportive and knowledgeable Chief Information Officer for helping to make the launch a smooth one.

Who’s using what?

During the segment, Which Platform?, a variety of social tools were compared including Yammer, NewsGator, SnapComms and Socialcast. Polls conducted at SMILE (powered by Crystal Interactive) revealed interesting numbers in ESN platform usage among attendees:

• 50% use SharePoint

• 45% use Yammer

• 35% use Google

• 15% use Jive

• 5% use NewsGator and Chatter

10% of attendees admitted they are not on an enterprise social platform – yet.

Following Which Platform?, Mike Grafham discussed his popular Yammer platform and the way it tries to meet employees’ expectations regarding enterprise social media:

“People expect everyone to be accessible, they expect to be listened to and to be heard.” Amen.

Attendee feedback and discussions

As SMILE was taking place, additional conversations were occurring simultaneously on the conference’s own Yammer feed.

Notable comments included one attendee using Yammer in her company to report technical problems rather than reporting them to the IT Helpdesk:

“I usually find the expert within 20 minutes,” she remarked.

Other ways people are using Yammer to enhance productivity and collaboration include one example from an attendee whose customers conduct “YamJams” uniting staff to discuss a specific topic for one-hour.

“It not only provided CEOs instant feedback and gauged the pulse of the organisation it also provided users a voice around key initiatives,” she commented.

From an HR standpoint, enterprise social networking platforms can foster engagement and a strong sense of community among new hires and provide sharing of informal information such as the best travel routes to take to work and pleasant spots to break for lunch.

Adoption challenges discussed included culture issues and whether or not employees are truly ready to share information. While resistance from managers needing to rethink their leadership skills was predicted, the overall feeling seemed to echo that specialists and experts in a particular area would more than likely be willing to share useful information inside a company.

So what did attendees think of SMILE?

“I thought the day was brilliant. What I really took away from it was how an event like this benefits from some quality Yammer input beforehand and the chance to follow up so easily on contacts/themes made during the day,” commented one delegate who works in HR.

Other delegates called the event “flawlessly executed with tons of learning to be had.”

If you want to join the SMILE community on Yammer then just log-on and register. You can join the conversation and access all the materials and videos of the conference.

Credit Tim Ruscoe

Credit Tim Ruscoe.

Read other write ups:

Rachel Miller's blog / Emma McNicoll-Norbury