Making the Enterprise Social

Making the Enterprise Social
In my last two blogs I talked about moving to the cloud and the way in which mobility is changing the way we work. The explosion of data and proliferation of smart devices has created new expectations from our customers and employees who want to be able to work and collaborate anytime, anywhere from any device. The future of enterprise technology requires solutions that are connected and highly collaborative.
Social technology is driving changes in how we get things done.
At Microsoft, we are using our own technology to improve collaboration and increase productivity. We’ve made great progress in creating an evolutionary and comprehensive foundation for social enterprise through new Office, SharePoint, Lync, Skype, and Yammer. SharePoint is pervasive at Microsoft and is how we share, collaborate, and co-author documents. Now in the cloud with Office 365, our teams can access sites and information hosted by SharePoint anytime, anywhere and stay in sync.
Within my division, we rely on this collaboration constantly. Most recently as we prepared for a high profile business review which required the ability to access and edit content across time zones. While I was in the room for many of the preparation sessions, I also had customer visits scheduled in Europe. While traveling, I was able to access, review, edit, and provide feedback on slides between customer visits.
With help from Lync, I was able to see the comments and content contributions being made. Lync also allowed me to connect in real time to the various reviews and preparation discussions. We used Lync to share the PowerPoint and OneNote files and collaborate via voice and video conferencing from the Redmond meeting room around the world. The Lync functionality in conjunction with SharePoint allowed us to immediately add subject matter experts who had contributed to the content into the conversation. We could see their availability and send them an instant message directly from the people card next to their SharePoint comment requesting they join the conversation and contribute their expertise.
Yammer has been a valuable way to engage and connect our employees in a less formal environment. It is fantastic to see the discussion, idea sharing, and active communities across all levels of Microsoft. We connect, learn, and help each other solve business challenges across the world. I launched our division’s Yammer group this past summer and see a constant flow of communication with individuals sharing news, asking questions, and getting answers quickly—regardless of geography, org chart, or time zone. Through Yammer, we’ve dramatically expanded our reach to incorporate feedback and ideas from across the company—we are very much living in a social enterprise.
As I meet with customers around the world, they actively engage me in conversations around how Microsoft can help bring additional levels of innovation and creativity to what they are already doing with our technology. Social technology is a dominant force of change and is a perfect example of how we can help customers innovate. The main questions I receive during our enterprise social conversations include:
  • Will our culture embrace making social a part of everyday work?
  • What is the right technology strategy for today and the future? Should we implement point solutions or take a more platform approach?
  • How do we drive adoption to reach critical mass quickly?
Figuring out how your organization will answer these questions is a natural part of the process of becoming a more social enterprise. It is our role to help you remove barriers and give your employees and/or customers a voice and the information and tools they need to become more productive and collaborative.
Here are two examples of customers who have successfully implemented Microsoft’s enterprise social technologies in their companies.
  • A university in the United Kingdom selected Microsoft Office 365 to help improve the reliability of its messaging system and reduce IT administration and costs. By using Office 365, the university expanded the communications and collaboration capabilities it offered its staff and students, including students in the distance-learning program. Using Lync Online, staff and students can view presence indicators in applications like SharePoint, Outlook, and the Lync 2010 client to find colleagues quickly to collaborate, share documents, engage in a PC-to-PC call, or a web or video conference. Looking forward, the university is exploring how to take advantage of SharePoint Online as a content and document repository and an extension of its e-learning tools with team sites, wikis, blogs, and search.
  • A footwear company in the United States implemented a Microsoft Unified Communications platform for messaging, communications, and collaboration to help employees increase productivity and work better together. The company recently upgraded to Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to provide enterprise voice and innovative call center solutions based on Lync technologies to its customer service agents, which resulted in immediate improvements in call response times. The company was impressed with how quickly their employees adopted the technology. They also saw dramatic increases in productivity and collaboration as partners and vendors were able to join meetings, share desktops, and chat using the Lync web client.
Please share how you are innovating your business with Microsoft’s enterprise social solutions and let me know how I can help you and your company on your journey to be a social enterprise. You can reach me at