Facebook at Work or O365

Facebook at Work or O365

Anyone who is involved in discussions with colleagues over Facebook at Work (I imagine many of you are the same ones that deal with the Slack discussions) here is an informative article around progress on the product.


I echo the authors comments around building relationships and community as a driving force for new ways of and Facebook at Work does have nice features.

However, no communities or relationships within an organisation sit in isolation from the way work gets done or linked to its strategy, processes, workflows, campaigns or initiatives. You could spend time integrating Facebook at Work with search but eventually you will need to leave Facebook at Work to deal with the outcomes of the communities and relationships.

The benefit of O365 is the increasingly ‘seamless integration’ with other capabilities that may be needed as a result of the community outcomes. For example, files uploaded on Yammer will be hosted on SharePoint. Conversation on Yammer could bleed into a Skype Teams call. Videos displayed on Yammer will play through Stream. There is linkage to Office apps, O365 Groups etc. All activity will be understood and surfaced via Delve. The need to leave O365 becomes increasingly unlikely within the collaborative process.

The compelling narrative behind O365 will be the seamless integration with the way people collaborate, not just building community and relationships, but in group work, file sharing, communicating and other collaborative activities.

One things I strongly agree with thought is “It’s not the tool but the people and programming that make enterprise social a success.”

My bias comes from a people centric perspective (rather than document or process centric) so I’ll be interested to hear other folks opinions, especially if you have been involved in a Facebook at Work trial.

Yammer and LinkedIn

Yammer and LinkedIn

I’m sure Microsoft brought LinkedIn with a specific purpose in mind although it wouldn’t be the first time they know something is good, buy it and they figure out what to do with it!

It sometimes reminds me of some of the mega-rich English Premier League clubs who buy in talent that have very little to do with the current style of play, sit them on the bench and wait for a situation to arise when it becomes clear why they brought them in the first place – or just serendipity!

I would like to think that Microsoft see the future value of collaboration around new ways of working is not to just support the current hierarchies and structures of an organisation. In essence that’s what most of O365 does in supporting this structure of group working around file uploads, storage, document production etc. All important stuff but does nothing to drive innovation and new wealth / value creation.

Where the value creation comes is from building networks, relationships and communities, nurturing new behaviours and processes and blending diversity to create new ways of working.

Yammer and Delve begin to achieve this inside the organisation and adding something like LinkedIn gives an organisation the opportunity to source content, connections and resources far beyond their current network.

I’m thinking of an example where a project manager can initiate a new project and Yammer / Delve (whatever these channels would be called in the future) to source ideas, content, connections and resources from within the organisation and then get seamless connectivity to a LinkedIn type resource (professional and educational) to source gaps or enhancements to the knowledge they have within the organisation. It changes not just the potential reach but also the relationships organisations have with professionals. It would also increase the diversity of thought that an organisational begins to call upon, ideally making it far more social, transparent, agile and democratic.

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

Approaches aren’t mutually exclusive

Over the last few days I’ve looked at various approaches you can take to creating adoption of collaboration tools.

It’s important to remember that none are mutually exclusive.

Adoption by chance

  • You can run a standard approach believing you may be the exception.
  • Once you fail to gain adoption you can switch

Adoption by hierarchy

  • You can structure a formal approach but if roadblocks and delays are occurring (scheduling workshops, factfinding etc) then begin with a social approach for early quick wins

Adoption by ‘social’ (tribes and communities)

  • If your social approach spreads success quickly you may wish to consider how to align the organisation with a ‘mini formal approach’ to deal with leadership requests

And you can also try a concurrent approach

To maximise the chances of success you could run both a formal and social approach (bottom up and top down), ensuring awareness, sustainability and rapid quick wins

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%