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Posted: 2/14/2013
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Manhattan Associates Solutions Provider Weds Social Functionality with Business App, Boosts Bottom Line

Solutions provider Manhattan Associates wanted to reap business rewards from social networking by combining Yammer social functionality with Microsoft SharePoint. It now enjoys collaboration that transcends organizational and geographical silos and a mobile workforce that taps into corporate “tribal knowledge” anytime, anywhere. Savvy knowledge management means successes are replicated, significantly boosting productivity and the bottom line.

Business Needs
Manhattan Associates provides software and professional services that help customers, including American Eagle Outfitters and Walmart, optimize their all-important supply chains. The company’s expertise has a major impact on its customers’ efficiency and bottom line—Manhattan Associates wanted to find a solution that would do the same for its own organization.

“We help companies with distribution complexity manage everything from their warehouses to the trucks that ship inventory. That’s where we shine: taking complexity and simplifying it,” explains Dennis Story, Chief Financial Officer at Manhattan Associates.

All international enterprises are complex organisms, but Manhattan Associates is more complex than many. Not only does it have offices in nine countries, roughly 60 percent of its 2,200 employees are highly mobile, spending most of their time at customer sites. “We want our software engineers to have good tools when they need answers quickly,” Story says. “They don’t have the time to search for a file or a document.

“Technology wasn’t solving our problems,” he continues. “The enterprise software we were using was built for a static workforce, and our communications environment was just perpetuating what we did in everyday life, which was work in silos. What we needed was better communication across divisions and global knowledge management. As a company, we knew we’d be stronger if R&D [Research and Development] and our professional services organization were tightly linked.”

In late 2011, Manhattan Associates decided to see if social networking could enhance its IT infrastructure and drive productivity. “I’d heard a lot about Yammer, and a CFO is always a sucker for a low-cost alternative, so I signed up for the freemium version,” Story says. “Within 30 days, 90 percent of our employees had set up profiles and were using it. I call it ‘the revolution to evolution.’”

Yammer is now the glue that connects not only the company’s globally dispersed offices, but its highly mobile workforce. “We’re nomadic,” Story says. “We go where the customers are, where the money is. Yammer feeds our mobility footprint. It doesn’t encumber us; it allows us to be free.”

* What excites me about Yammer is that it’s changing our culture and making it a whole lot easier to solve our clients’ complex problems. It has the greatest utility and usability of any application in our enterprise. *

Dennis Story
CFO, Manhattan Associates


“I was out on the road for 40 weeks last year,” says Zach Zalowitz, Senior Consultant at Manhattan Associates. “Sometimes it’s hard traveling, since there’s not always someone available to give you assistance. With Yammer, though, everyone I need to communicate with is just a click away.”

According to Story, connecting on Yammer isn’t just easier, it’s deeper. “It’s rich internal communication that pulls people out of their silos. Plus, it’s persistent and searchable. The ability to bookmark something and come back later really helps me be more efficient.”

For Ron Carolino, Principal Business Analyst at Manhattan Associates, increased efficiency is also the name of the game. “We get the same questions over and over, and when they came in through email, we’d have to answer them each time,” he says. “Within weeks of implementing Yammer, that was eliminated, which saves us a huge amount of time. Now we can focus on documentation and design—things that really add value to the product and improve clients’ experiences.”

The company decided to integrate Yammer with its business apps. Microsoft SharePoint is Manhattan Associates document-management tool of choice. “We rely on SharePoint,” says Susan Croteau, Senior Operations Analyst at Manhattan Associates. “It has crucial features like version control. Now that it’s integrated with Yammer, we can message somebody on the fly, or throw a question out to a group—all without leaving SharePoint. Plus, global search allows us to search both Yammer and SharePoint, which really broadens our knowledge base.”

By marrying Yammer’s social functionality with key business applications like Microsoft SharePoint, the company now enjoys higher productivity. Its improved collaboration bridges information gaps and supports a highly mobile workforce.

Effective Knowledge Management
Questions are answered quickly and solutions that are shared can be replicated, which significantly boosts productivity. “By capturing and sharing the solutions our reps come up with to address customers’ challenges, we’re far more efficient,” Story says. “Using Yammer increases margin and drives profit. That’s the Holy Grail for any company: effectively harnessing knowledge in a really cost-efficient way.”

An End to Information Silos
Yammer transcends organizational and geographical boundaries, so R&D knows what’s going on with professional services, and workers in the Atlanta headquarters are attuned to offices in Tokyo and Bangalore. “What excites me about Yammer is that it’s changing our culture and making it a whole lot easier to solve our clients’ complex problems. It has the greatest utility and usability of any application in our enterprise,” says Story.

An Empowered Mobile Workforce
Half of the company’s staff is mobile, and with Yammer, they can tap into the corporate network to get the answers they need. “Smart companies figure out how to provide a solution to employees so that the folks who have tribal knowledge share it with others who are facing complex problems,” says Story. “Yammer has done that for us. There’s nothing more powerful than a workforce that self-selects the best ideas so they reach the top.”

A Better Bottom Line
By bringing social functionality to the company’s IT infrastructure, Yammer drives productivity—which increases everything from customer satisfaction to billable hours. “We’re using Yammer to go toe to toe with competitors. It makes us leaner and better at what we do,” says Zalowitz.

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 2200 employees

Organization Profile

Founded in 1990, Manhattan Associates is a global solutions provider that offers software and professional services to help its customers optimize their supply chains.

Software and Services
  • Yammer
  • Microsoft Sharepoint Server

Vertical Industries
IT Services

United States

Business Need
  • Mobility
  • Social Intranet

IT Issue
  • Supply Chain Planning and Execution
  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management
  • Interoperability