Big Data on the way YOU work

Big Data on the way YOU work

Totally by accident, something popped up on LinkedIn this morning which turns out was a glorified advert for an IoT/PowerBI dashboard solution which tracks employee performance in relationship to their environment.

Personally (and professionally) these types of ‘behaviour’ tracking tools fascinate me. Tech companies spend millions developing capabilities to help us work better and organisations spend millions deploying them but the expected benefits never materialise. There is a big discussion on the whole change / adoption approaches taken by organisations in nurturing the workforce but these types of ‘employee performance’ tools begin to move us to the next steps by exploring the way we as individuals / organisations work and eventually providing solutions, not just around technology but also on behaviours and environment.

Tools like those mentioned in the article above, and others such as Microsoft My Analytics, can eventually tell us how much time we spend on email, in meetings, creating documents, extent of network etc. It could also look at enterprise wise behaviours – i.e. if you project team are spending most of their days in meetings you may have a cultural issue around decision making; if managers are spending too much time in hastily arranged meetings and email there may be a fire-fighting, hero and devolution issue in the culture; if a leader’s network doesn’t extend far enough across the organisation there may be an engagement issue and so on.

So, technology that tracks the way you work and can present remedies from both an individual and an organisation context can be a very valuable capability for companies undergoing digital transformation. You sense its part of the reasoning that companies such as Microsoft are buying training and learning components and LinkedIn so they can begin to link ways of working to job families, skill sets, organisation culture and beyond. It will begin to dramatically change the way organisations look at design, recruitment, technology and the physical environment.


Technology is a people business

Technology is a people business

Interesting article about digital workplace trends. Interesting for me is that 5 years ago these type of trend articles were almost entirely focused around technology. Now the shift is towards the people, cultural and behavioural aspects. That’s reflected in the disciplines within the consultancies that produce these type of reports. They are no longer published by the technology streams but from Human Capital Management and Org Design areas of the consultancies. Technology is becoming a people business.

Stewardship of the Enterprise

At a session today with a company to talk about the tasks around Enterprise Community Management (ECM) – the initial stewardship required to develop a Yammer network.

The tasks can vary dependent upon your Yammer strategy (every company should ideally have a Yammer strategy closely linked to the overall business strategy (and related KM, New Business, People, L&D, Engagement strategies etc.) which will help define the priorities around the ECM tasks.

Other companies Yammer strategies have included:

  • Help change a ‘command / control’ company culture
  • Remove middle management roadblocks
  • Develop untapped future talent
  • Remove remote team’s reliance on reporting into the centre
  • Support development of a social learning programme

And the ECM tasks can vary greatly to help meet the strategic requirements.

Here is an outline of some of the tasks we will run through.

  • Help sections – maintain and update ‘Getting Started’ and Help areas on the network
  • Use Cases – assisting to develop use cases to show case the possibilities of Yammer
  • Stewardship – making sure everybody plays nice and all voices are heard
  • Formal Governance? – some companies need this so generally you’ll be involved in coordinating
  • Promotions – active in promoting Yammer through numerous channels
  • New Joiners – getting Yammer on various New Joiners radar
  • Coaching – determine how this is dealt with. Some formal ‘how to’ or focus on behavioural change and community management (my preferences are the last 2)
  • Events – running events around Yammer (Yamjams, 30 days of Yammer etc)
  • Advocates – nurturing advocates of the network
  • Strategic Initiatives – involved in any planning around big initiatives
  • VIP’s – Not everyone gets the same treatment so if someone ‘special’ joins Yammer give them the ‘silver service’ treatment
  • Community Management – developing good community management practices. Linked to coaching
  • Case Studies – Pulling together case studies to show the value it delivers. Good storytelling works wonders
  • ROI / Metrics – Pulling these together. Linkage to overall governance

Adoption by hierarchy

Following on from the ‘Adoption by Chance’ approach an alternative if the ‘Formal Approach’ or adoption through hierarchy (and highly recommended if you were even thinking of taking the ‘Adoption by Chance’ approach).

The formal approach is based on:

  • Engagement through leadership / key stakeholders
  • Implement a formal approach (defining and delivering) to educate on the collaboration technologies.
  • Refine approach and collateral as the programme develops

Adoption through hierarchy


  • Understanding of the ‘What, Why, How’ of the technology from a leadership perspective and ensuring they are fully aligned
  • Colleagues ‘on the same page’ and at the same stage of the journey
  • Knowledge of all available materials
  • Formal support process
  • Increased ability to maximize the applications available – larger number of use cases surfaced
  • Ability to get access and collaborate across all areas of the business
  • Comprehensive approach


  • Slow and time consuming – early motivators may lose interest
  • Pace set by leadership or project team – not the users
  • Too much detail – information presented won’t necessarily be applicable to all
  • Too rigid
  • Loss of interest increases and users drop interest of the ‘journey’
  • Rational approach but doesn’t appeal to emotional interest
  • Potential to be exclusive and siloed

Adoption by chance

Having looked at 3 very different approaches to adoption of collaborative technologies here is my take on the drawbacks and merits of each.

Today we start with the ‘throw it over the fence’ approach. I would suggest this is generally favoured by IT folk who need to ‘get it out there’ and their focus is not on sustained usage or business value.

Success is generally low and adoption is by chance

• Self-contained, no need to engage with other areas of the business prior to deployment
• Low cost – little resource required
• Enables rapid deployment
• Creates an enterprise-wide awareness (if communication channels are effective)
• Enables a swift campaign to be executed
• Meets immediate technology enablement requirements

• Awareness does not guarantee engagement with tools
• Little understanding of how they can be utilised
• Little control over how the business will use it
• Little adoption once early motivated adopters have been engaged
• Little adoption or engagement once campaign has finished
• Little sustaining or legacy behaviours in place
• All behavioural change is by chance or self-understanding

Adoption by Chance, Hierarchy or Community

Sticking with the ‘power of 3’ theme from a previous post (The Power of 3) here are the least / most effective approaches to adoption (habitual usage) and sustained business value from collaborative technologies.

1 – Throw it over the fence and let the business get on with it (Adoption by Chance).
– Provide access to the tools
– Provide access to training areas
– Develop communication / launch plan
– Create messages and deliver through formal channels
– Email alerts
– Portal / Intranet
– Traditional Change Agents
– Leave it to the business to ‘go figure’
Adoption success around 10-15%

2 – Common Formal Approach (Adoption through hierarchies)
Favoured by many of the consultancies involving engagement through leadership, implementing a formal approach around defining and delivering the programme which is refined, together with collateral that is recycled and enhanced as the programme develops. The formal approach includes elements such as:
• Developing the pitch
• Defining ‘What’s in it for me’? for business areas
• Technology Planning
• Engagement planning
• Adoption services
• Build and sustain
Adoption success around 45 – 60%

3 – Social Approach (Adoption through informal networks, tribes and communities)
This generally involves engagement through informal structure of companies with adoption built around explicit use cases (not abstract but rapid, high volume explicit use cases) and supported by:
• Deploy waves of rapid use cases
• ‘Word of mouth’ through networks
• Nudge channels
• Informal advocates
• Social learning
Adoption success around 55 – 70%

The power of 3

Over the last few years it’s been pleasing to see how some of the collaboration software vendors have been changing their tune over how to successfully adopt their technologies.

If you compare the early adoption collateral for Jive, Yammer (O365), Chatter (insert numerous names here) and look at the adoption approaches they now recommend – built around behavioural change, habit formal and other techniques from neuroscience and related disciplines – those of us from the ‘people’ side of technology feel more comfortable than ever in championing the mantra that good adoption of collaborative technologies is more about psychology than technology.

Using the ‘power of 3’ psychological approach here is my take on the ‘do’s and don’ts of adoption broken down into 3


  • Don’t focus on technology / product names and keep use of traditional corporate channels to a minimum
  • Hierarchy won’t be effective – no ‘trickle-down’ effect in most organisations. Leadership support is important but it must be active (role modelling not just telling)
  • Don’t tell people the whole story, show then everything at once, or provide just one approach / route for success


  • Focus on behaviours and scenarios with short bite size coaching and messaging (power of 3)
  • Create a bottom up / ‘word of mouth’ approach, developing social learning, role models (doing rather than telling) and nudge rather than command
  • Work on volume (light lots of little fires – develop use cases, nurture advocates, present at meetings) and then focus energy on those that catch fire and show potential to grow)