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7 Ways to Derive Value from Yammer

 

This is a guest post by Ashley Furness from analyst firm Software Advice.

The social enterprise industry has been really heating up. First seen primarily as a collaboration tool, these platforms have matured into efficiency drivers that yield value for users in a variety of ways.

This week, I talked to veteran social enterprise software advocates to find out how they’ve achieved measurable gains with Yammer. Here are seven examples of ways you can derive value from going social.

1. Streamline Project Management

PerkStreet Financial sftware developers use Yammer to facilitate scrum meetings, a key component of the agile software development methodology. Rather than hold their daily morning standup meetings in person, each member of the 37-person team posts “what I did yesterday,” “what I will do today” and “barriers to moving forward” using the hashtag #scrum.

The tag allows users to quickly see what everyone is working on and chime in when appropriate. The poster can also delegate tasks to others with the “@” symbol. COO Jason Henrichs said the newsfeed is like a perpetual meeting–without having to interrupt your workflow.

“You contribute as it makes the most sense for you,” he said.

2. Augment Transparency and Accountability

Since PerkStreet hosts all conversations on Yammer rather than being trapped in someone’s inbox, management has continuous insight into the team’s progress.This also prevents work duplication and redundancies because everyone is literally on the same page.

“If you look at someone’s scrum over time, you can see whether they actually accomplished what they said they were going to,” PerkStreet COO Jason Henrichs notes.

3. Increase Communications Efficiency

FlexJobs founder and CEO Sara Sutton Fell said Yammer drastically cut down on her need to email, call or schedule a meeting to check in. Every conversation immediately has context, so newcomers to the conversation don’t have to repeat the same questions every time. Also, since documents are all in one place, users don’t have to toggle between a bunch of different applications

In addition, users can respond as it fits in their workflow. “Instead of emails that feel like you have to respond immediately, putting it on Yammer ensures that only [staff] who have the time to check out the job will do so,” she says.

4. Find Experts Faster

Centerstance Inc. Managing Partner Greg Lueck says social enterprise apps have helped his sales staff answer deal-specific questions in the moment. He recalled one situation where a partner needed someone certified in Cast Iron software integration who spoke Mandarin. The resource manager working with the partner posted the query in Centerstance’s news feed.

“They had an answer within 30 seconds… in Mandarin,” Lueck remembers. In this and similar scenarios, the employee would have otherwise “relied on a central repository of all company’s experience that is located in one person’s head, or nowhere at all.”

5. Better Leverage Information and Insights

Yammer has invested heavily in social and adaptive intelligence. These sophisticated algorithms suggest articles, files and experts based on the user’s position, connections, group memberships and resources they’ve previously accessed. This capability ensures your intelligence assets are channeled to the right people. Companies said this “answers questions before our employees even know they have them.”

6. Generate More, Better Ideas

Yammer provides several means for employees to contribute ideas-from responding to queries and surveys, to posting ideas in a group discussion threads. Users receive gratification when co-workers and leadership “like” their contribution. Then, they are continually rewarded as they watch project teams bring the idea to fruition.

7. Boost Employee Recognition and Engagement

Sutton Fell said Yammer has also created a casual way for her team to post up-to-the-minute employee recognition. She cited an example where a customer tweeted  “Want to give props to @flexjobs for great customer service. Responded nicely and quickly to my annoying emails.” The marketing manager immediately copied the tweet into the company’s Yammer feed, giving a shout out to the customer service reps in front of the entire company essentially. Without Yammer, the company wouldn’t have really had a logical place to post this feedback for all to see. The comment wouldn’t warrant a company-wide email, but is still something the team could enjoy as the fruits of their labor.

“Everyone commented with their own positive encouragement and excitement over the compliment, which just builds on the recognition by engaging other staffers to boost each other up.” Sutton Fell said. “It really brings us together in a positive way to encourage one another to keep doing good work, and it’s especially helpful considering we’re a virtual team.”

Research for this article was provided by analyst firm Software Advice.
Photo source: danorbit

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