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5 Tips for Onboarding Using Yammer

Having just gone through the onboarding process myself, I believe that using Yammer to facilitate the onboarding process can help drive adoption among recent hires. In addition, using Yammer for onboarding will allow them to get a functional grasp of the organization much quicker. Recent hires will have the whole Yammer network to ask questions to as well as being able to see all the posts from before they were hired.  In an environment where new hires are increasingly under pressure to add value quickly, these five tips could help make that a reality.

  1. Have one dedicated group for onboarding


Different people have different ideas on whether or not groups of new hires, who were hired at different points, should have separate groups or one large onboarding group. In my mind, it’s better to have one large onboarding group that people can join when they are hired and leave when the information in the group no longer pertains to them. That way the information and knowledge generated by previous groups of new hires is still there for the most recent new hires. Everyone who joins a company are going to have the same questions coming in, and rather than have to answer the same questions over and over, it’s easier to simply answer the question once and have new employees refer to that post.

  1. Encourage recent hires to join other Yammer groups

New employees might have never had any previous exposure to Yammer so it’s beneficial to encourage them to join your network’s “Yammer 101” group.  This way they can learn about how to use Yammer while learning about your company at the same time! In addition to the “Yammer 101” group, also encourage new hires to join other groups that they are interested in. Even if a group is not particularly business related (one colleague told me about a “Selfie” group) it can help foster a sense of team spirit and some research suggests can help with employee retention.

  1. Appoint a community manager

Read the rest of this post »

Enterprise Social and its Three Most Dangerous Myths

Enterprise social.  It’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread (The Beatles, frozen custard and computer-generated animation all make stronger cases for that title) but lately it seems like it’s close.  That said, for all of its growing popularity, our experience tells us that a good deal of what people believe about social networks– and how to get users engaged on them– is flat-out wrong.

sliced_breadAfter a summer so busy that I missed my July deadline, this morning I published a new article on CMSWire addressing three of enterprise social’s most dangerous myths head-on.  Check it out and learn why…

  • A single network might not be your best bet for adoption…
  • #ESN rollouts aren’t like any other new application, and…
  • Some users will simply never adopt them, no matter what you do.

Interested in continuing the conversation?  I’ll be unofficially representing Perficient (which cannot be held responsible for any comparisons I make between Yammer and Game of Thrones) in CMSWire’s upcoming TweetJam (yes, that’s a thing) on this month’s editorial focus “What does working like a network look like in practice?” The Tweet Jam will take place on Wednesday, August 20 at 1pm ET/ 10am PT.  You can find me on Twitter at @richOthewood; follow @CMSWire for TweetJam details and the #official #hashtag to follow.

Why We Collaborate – Exploring Yammer Maturity & Engagement

A few weeks ago, a colleague posted a TED Radio Hour from NPR on our Perficient Yammer network titled – “Why We Collaborate”. After listening to the broadcast, I thought this would be a perfect segway into a post I have been working on for a while now. I want to discuss some of the high points of the broadcast, while weaving in some personal observations about our own network at Perficient. My hope is that by providing some context around our experiences at Perficient implementing Enterprise Social networks, it might help grow your own Yammer network’s maturity and engagement.Yammer-logo

The first part of the broadcast was an interview with Jimmy Wales, one of the creators of Wikipedia. If you didn’t know, Wikipedia has over 80,000 people who update it, and they do it for free. They have 19 billion page views per month, in the top 5 of all internet websites. That’s a ton of traffic, viewing a ton of content, all administered for free by people all over the world.

Why would they do it? Why do they do it for free? Jimmy says –

Its fun!…and I made the world a little bit of a better place

This is a very powerful concept. To me, the idea of having 80,000 unpaid employees is a quite advanced. You start to think about their motivations and what about this endeavor is appealing to them. We’ll explore some of these thoughts later in the post.

One of Wikipedia’s earliest challenges was how to handle controversial subjects. They ended up with a policy of “Neutral point of view. Don’t take a stance, only report on what reputable parties say about it.”

In Yammer, we have similar challenges. What’s appropriate to post and what’s not? Conflict is a natural part of collaboration. How do we handle conflict on our Yammer network? Its important to handle these challenges up front and proactively. Read the rest of this post »

Yammer – DirSync or AD FS (SSO) or Both?

There’s a lot to think about when planning your Enterprise Yammer implementation. How will I get users into Yammer? How will users login to Yammer? Which password will they use? How will users who leave my organization be handled in Yammer? What software do I really need to implement?

This post is all about Yammer DirSync and SSO. SSO in Yammer is a generalized term, as any SSO provider can be connected with Yammer. For purposes of this post, we will focus on AD FS, as that is Microsoft’s SSO software.

What is Yammer DirSync?Yammer

Directory Sync synchronizes your internal Active Directory with Yammer to automate the provisioning and de-provisioning of users:

  • On a regular schedule, the DirSync utility will run a lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) query against your AD DS that returns accounts that have been modified since the last successful sync.
  • The utility then connects to your Yammer network via a Yammer service account and sends a payload of instructions to add, suspend, and update users according to the changes that occurred in your AD DS.

What is AD FS?

AD FS is a standards-based service that allows the secure sharing of identity information between trusted business partners (known as a federation). AD FS is Microsoft’s implementation of the WS-Federation Passive Requestor Profile protocol (passive indicates that the client requirements are just a cookie- and JavaScript-enabled Web browser). AD FS implements the standards based WS-Federation protocol and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML).

AD FS enables SSO and a host of other services like – Web Service Interoperability, Federated Partner Management, and Claim Mapping. Please visit here for more info on AD FS.

What is Yammer SSO? Read the rest of this post »

Yammer 101 Series – Posting

Welcome back to Perficient’s Yammer 101 Series. This is Part 2 of the series. If you missed Part 1 – Introduction, please have a look. In this post, we will take a dive into the world of Posting – How to Post, Types of Posts, Topics, Mentions, and Best Practices for Posting.

How to Postyammer1

Starting from your Yammer Home screen, you will easily find the “Post box”. As with any social network, its always at the top of the screen. Yammer defaults to the Update tab and you will see the text “What are you working on”. You will also see blue links for Upload, Poll, Praise, Event and More, which we will cover later in this post.

Posting to Yammer is as simple as typing into the box and clicking the Post button. The one difference from Facebook is hitting the Enter button does not automatically create the Post. In Yammer, the Enter button is a new line. On Facebook you must hit Shift + Enter to get a new line. Small difference there and it might take time to get acclimated for some users.

When Posting, there are a few key Best Practices to keep in mind: Read the rest of this post »

Roundup: Enterprise Social ROI, External Governance in Yammer

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at the office.  Besides hopping from LA to NYC to Chicago to work with various and sundry eye-catching clients, we’ve been turning out essays on a couple of hot topics:

  • Roundup: Enterprise Social ROI, External Governance in YammerROI (Return On Investment) as provided by Enterprise Social Networks
  • Governance in Yammer, specifically External Networks

In the first instance, we’ve got an article up over at CMSWire discussing the futility of using ROI as a case for investing in enterprise social.  The wiser course by far is to leverage one of the freemium networks available (and of course, I’m personally partial to Yammer– the best one out there) and let it build value within your organization first.  That basically makes the case for you.

The second piece covers Yammer directly, and specifically goes into the design of Usage Policies for Yammer’s External Networks.  These are a great tool for communicating and collaborating with clients, vendors and partners– so long as you design a binding Usage Policy with several key guidelines in mind.  In our post on ViewDo Labs’ enterprise social blog, we tell you what those guidelines are.

Curious?  I hope so!  Check out the latest and let us know what you think.

Driving Business Value with #Yammer: Webinar Replay & Highlights

We hosted a webinar last week on the topic of driving business value with Yammer, and the session is now available for replay.

Rich Wood, Director of Perficient’s national Microsoft web and social collaboration practice, did a great job briefly introducing attendees to the idea of an enterprise social network, and shared some key things worth knowing about Yammer (for instance, it’s a cloud-based service for enterprise social, it’s Microsoft’s direction for #ESN, and pricing for Yammer is really, really good right now).

He spent a large portion of the hour long session on user engagement/adoption – what is it and what are the steps to ensuring it’s a success? Basically, it boils down to three steps:

  1. Get in
  2. Get engaged
  3. Get advanced

Throughout the webinar, we shared some of Rich’s highlights on Twitter @Perficient_MSFT:

Read the rest of this post »

#GartnerPCC Keynote Highlights Engagement, Digital Workplace

Gartner PCC Conference Keynote: Deliver Excellent Engagement Through Mobile, Social and Analytics

Jeffrey Mann and Susan Landry set the tone for the Gartner PCC conference this week by speaking to the digital workplace of the future. gartner1In their keynote on Monday, they encouraged attendees to think beyond managing systems and focus on finding a deeper way to engage with constituents – be they employees, customers, citizens or partners.

Executives have heard all the buzzwords and now have high expectations for meaningful digital strategies. They may not know what this entails, entirely, but with a little guidance, they can create a roadmap for the future. Our role is to educate customers on the opportunities while forecasting challenges in revolutionizing the business landscape. After playing a quick round of Buzzword Bingo, the duo identified 4 key “buzzwords” that are driving demand in the C-suite. They are:


This is where it all starts. Engagement can mean an appointment, something that is planned or agreed to, or even a romantic promise (pleasant or not). To truly understand the value of Engagement, the speakers asked the audience to envision a time when it didn’t occur. For example, think about the results a small group with passionate beliefs, working in close collaboration can achieve, compared to a group of disengaged individuals that really don’t care. The former is a great example of engagement and the gap is the marginal benefit of investing in this concept. So why does it matter? Research was presented showing 2.5x revenue growth for organizations in the top fifth of highly engaged organizations.


Digital has become a ubiquitous buzzword. We have been digitizing business since the age of computers 50 years ago – so what is new? Smart machines and wearable devices can make a difference someday, but what tools can we use today to define “digital” and how can we use it to our advantage to create a competitive edge? The speakers mentioned that “digital” can be thought of as the inclusion of technologies in a holistic way that enables users, improves processes and exploits tools and technologies in a new way to create additional revenue streams and ROI. They provided a great example of this – a retail boutique in NYC named “Story.” The owner installed a series of cameras that provided real-time data on foot traffic. This data was periodically analyzed and the store was able to reinvent itself every few months based on the interests of its customers. This approach led to a 30% return visitor purchase ratio and the data attracted new partners and sponsors that could quantify their investment. Story is a great example of a digital business.


We all work with content in one form or another. Content could mean something you need to manage, a form of happiness, or a document. But what it really means is “Stuff.” Everything that we create or send. It includes artifacts, objects, sounds, relationships, tweets, and videos, everything that passes through or tangent to the organization.

Content is also an asset which often goes unexploited. It not only represents what the organization does, but how it thinks.   It documents the decision-making process – good ideas and bad.   Why does all this matter, the speakers questioned?  Because content connects dots and thoughts, it can be analyzed to gather insights into decisions and anticipate customer needs or issues before they occur.  Providing content to your constituents at the right time in the right context is extremely valuable. If you and your firm only manage content, you are selling yourself (and your organization) short.


It was mentioned that integration is not a new concept. We have been enabling applications to share assets and processes for decades. So why is it important now? We have seen a large shift in the proliferation of applications, data and devices. Data and logic is scattered everywhere inside our walls on-premises, in the cloud, and throughout the supply chain.   It is more critical now than ever to pull all of this disparate information into one relevant and complete experience for the user, in the moment they need it most.

The example used was Boston Children’s Hospital. Seven million children die every year from treatable diseases. Doctors around the world have information and documents available to them, but they aren’t consumable. OpenPediatrics is a digital workplace that integrates converted surgical and treatment documents into video, animations and audio simulations so that Doctors worldwide can easily find and access the information they need, when they need it.  The solutions team did not define adoption as the end goal, real success was only achieved when more lives were saved.

Where is it all going?

We are in a unique position to take the lead in creating a digital workplace. The tools are out there, yet we often need to think outside the box, and combine these tools/concepts, in order to excel moving forward. On thing is for sure – it will not happen taking an age-old approach to managing traditional systems. You can ensure your digital solutions are succesful by looking at new technologies, collaborating with people with new insights and applying the 4 key “buzzwords.”


Upcoming Webinar: How to Drive Business Value with Yammer

Are you interested in a future that includes better collaboration, perhaps through a successfully deployed enterprise social network (or maybe you a step ahead and are already there)? How engaged is your company, or your team? How effectively does your network collaborate? YammerMost would agree that an engaged network is a powerful network, but getting there can be a bit tricky, and certainly requires proper planning.

If these are questions you’ve been asking yourself and your team, join us next week, on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 1 p.m. CT for a webinar on Driving Business Value with Yammer.  Director of Perficient’s national Microsoft web and social collaboration practice, Rich Wood, will explain what user engagement/user adoption really boils down to, including the difference between organic adoption and organizational mandate, a tried and true adoption formula, and user adoption variables. He’ll touch on enterprise social and SharePoint, and then move into what you can do using Yammer, Microsoft’s cloud-based ESN service, and direction when it comes to enterprise social (and how it integrates with SharePoint).

He’ll also explain another way to use Yammer – and that’s with Office 365. Rich will cover planning, from your cloud infrastructure to a social strategy workshop, and the importance of a communication plan that involves your corporate communications team. As Rich has said in the past, it is important to start small, and then grow big. He’s got some great tips and takeaways on ensuring success with Yammer, so don’t miss it (and if for some reason, you can’t make the session, registering will get you access to the on-demand webinar).

To register for the webinar, click here.
Office 365 Customers: Driving Business Value with Yammer
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
1:00 p.m. CDT

Yammer External Networks – Your Extranet Made Social

After meeting them at SharePoint Conference 2014, I recently accepted an invitation from ViewDo Labs to publish the occasional musing on their enterprise social blog. ViewDo is a company formed by the former Axceler braintrust to focus on enterprise social analytics, and they have a great and growing product already out there for Yammer.

This is a something I jumped at, because it’s a community blog featuring some of the people I personally read regularly; being included in their number is an honor.

My first post for them came out yesterday, and is focused on a familiar topic: Yammer External Networks. This introductory post makes the same case I’m making in a webinar this afternoon– that Yammer External networks (I’m torn on whether or not to call them “YEN”) elevate the formerly staid concept of the Extranet into a social, more truly collaborative space. Check it out and let us know what you think!