Tips for Your Yammer Launch

Social intranet’s the talk of the town? An interesting company is using Yammer or another social network tool, but you’re not sure whether it’ll work in your company? Sounds tempting, but scary. Obviously a social network is a tool that makes many things possible, but how can you manage the risks? Here’s a few tips for approaching the subject.

I’m going to use Yammer as an example, but most of my tips are general and applicable to any social tool.

Change Management

A Yammer launch is a change and should be treated as such.

  • Change is driven by a need that has to be met.  You need a strong vision of what you want to achieve. Vision.
  • You need a plan to carry out the change. Strategy.
  • In order to succeed, the change must be properly communicated to the organization. You need a communication strategy.
  • Success should be tracked and measured.

In a small organization these things can be done in an informal manner, but they still shouldn’t be forgotten. On a larger scale, change management is complicated and requires a more organized effort.

Yammer is an Information System

Launching Yammer is launching an information system and should be managed that way.
In the case of Yammer, the actual launch and “technical implementation” is very simple. It’s a cloud service, which can quickly be taken into use without much further ado. Just create the necessary discussion topics, give people permissions and the rest is up to the users. Using social networks has been made very simple, because that is one of their greatest strengths – anyone can use them.

User trainings are basically unnecessary. Of course you always can and should give instructions and tips. Tell the users about everything they can do with the network’s tools. The best way is through examples and success stories, but communication is enough for a start.

After the launch, everyday life with the information system begins.

  • Information systems have to be developed further, maintained and administered in different ways. You need a management model.
  • Developing an information system requires a person in charge who steers the development in the right direction and coordinates the whole towards long term goals. You need someone in charge.

In the case of Yammer it doesn’t have to be a very complicated management model. Like other cloud services, the service provider provides the technical features, which means you can’t influence more than a few simple configurations. Development and management focuses on creating the right discussion channels and nudging conversations into the right direction. On a certain kind of user coaching in order to harness the potential of the system as efficiently as possible. The person in charge has a key role in this. Yammer itself calls the person in charge a Community Manager.

However, this person’s work should be more about leadership than management.

Piloting

Piloting is a great way to gather experiences about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to new technologies. Yammer is a cloud service which makes piloting extremely simple – license-wise even free.

The greatest obstacles for piloting seem to be:

  • To accept the fact that the service is cloud based.
  • To recruit enough staff to go through with the piloting.

User registration is no obstacle when it comes to cloud services. In the case of Yammer, the only thing needed is an e-mail address and a password. Make a rough plan of what you want to achieve through piloting. Start using.

That’s how easy piloting is. You don’t have to buy this pig in a poke, because the bag is already open. Take a look inside.

Conclusion

Although a social network lives its own life depending on the users, it won’t achieve any goals automatically. That’s why planning is important. However, plans have to be updated, because first stage plans rarely hit the mark. Users are a resource you want to provide with new opportunities through a social network. Give them the chance to influence your plans, and use your new network as a planning aid.

Users are independent, but sometimes you have to give them a nudge in the right direction. A community manager has to work gently but decisively in this role.

Try Yammer today?

Perttu Marttila

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