Social analytics and insights for Yammer with Dean Swann and John White from UnlimitedViz

If you have dabbled in Yammer Community Management for more than 2 seconds, you would have thought about, have been asked a question about how to measure the “success” / “ROI” / “Engagement” / “Reach” / <Insert vanity metric here> of your enterprise social network.  In this episode we are joined by Dean Swann (@sdeanswann) and John White (@diverdown1964) from UnlimitedViz — the company behind tyGraph.  We geek out about business intelligence and your Yammer network – not only why and how we can measure activity, but more importantly what actions we can take as community managers leveraging data to create more engaged communities.

Then we discuss the shift in analytics away from the built in graphs that were available in the original product, towards Yammer Analytics powered by PowerBI.

Richard Harbridge

Episode 18: Yammer, SharePoint, Office365 Groups, Skype for Business or Email? What tool to use when with Richard Harbridge from 2toLead

With so many technology options in your organisation that enable people to collaborate or work better together, it is sometimes difficult to understand what tools you should be using, let alone have a way of articulating what to use to your peers.  In this episode of The Yaminade we talk to Richard Harbridge from 2toLead.  In this hour long chat we riff about adoption and usage of different collaborative features of Office365 — but instead of talking about “Yammer adoption” or “SharePoint adoption” — we look at how you can take a business process view to realise better results for your organisation.

Links to all the things we talk about during the episode are below:

Workshop in Perth, Western Australia to help organisation bust the compaints of the redest of red dots

Episode 17: Inside the Red Dot Buster exercise at the Enterprise Social/Yammer/Office 365 master class

Ever wanted to have the perfect response to those red dots in the hall when they say “I don’t have time for Yammer”?  In this episode of The Yaminade we join an Enterprise Social / Yammer / Office365 Master Class held recently in Perth, Western Australia.  Instead of an interview, you will hear the 15 participants in the workshop talk about their solutions to four statements you regularly hear from Red Dots.

  1. Enterprise Social is just another place to go and I don’t have time
  2. I’m super efficient working in the way I do, I’m not going to change
  3. My files are extremely sensitive, the only place I trust having them is on my laptop
  4. I’m not doing video conferencing!  The phone works just fine for me

In this workshop we had the pleasure of hosting a number of people from both the commercial and private sectors.  You will hear throughout the episode a number of friends of the podcast… including Rhiannan Howell (who we met in Episode 2), as well as Ferro Aryananda and Luke Grange (@lukegrange) – Customer Success Managers from Microsoft.

Thank you for the support of our sponsors tyGraph who have helped us cover the cost of bringing this podcast to you!  Support the organisations that support The Yaminade – and try tyGraph on your Yammer network today to surface metrics with meaning!

Amy Dolzine

Episode 16: Meetings, M&A activity & Merry Christmas with Amy Dolzine from Lubrizol

In March I had the great pleasure of speaking with Amy Dolzine (@amydolz) from Lubrizol – an organisation of over 8000 employees who build ingredients that appear in many of the products you use, drive, and live in every day.  In this episode she shares her Yammer journey over the past few years at Lubrizol, including some interesting use cases – specifically how Lubrizol used Yammer to streamline the onboarding of employees that joined the organisation through Merger and Acquisition activity.

There are lots of great stories in this episode – I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for the support of our sponsors tyGraph who have helped us cover the cost of bringing this podcast to you!  Support the organisations that support The Yaminade – and try tyGraph on your Yammer network today to surface metrics with meaning!

Chris Slemp

Episode 15: Behind the scenes of the largest Yammer network in the world with Chris Slemp from Microsoft IT

A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of speaking with Chris Slemp (@cslemp) – Mr Social from Microsoft’s own IT department – Microsoft IT.  Chris has been with Microsoft for over 15 yearse, and shared with me some war stories of how social collaboration started internally at Microsoft; how it changed when the company purchased Yammer, and what the future holds for internal social platforms.  In particular he talks about a number of interesting projects were they are looking to make the digital workplace / intranet experience as relevant as possible to individuals in the organisation – using metrics, data and analytics to make it happen.

During the episode we talk Chris’s Medium post “Which Tool When, v3.0” which I highly recommend you take the time to read.

For those of you attending the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago make sure you get along to his sessions – The “Microsoft Enterprise Social Journey:  How We Did It“, and “Is Your Culture on a Collision Course with Open Collaboration?”

Thank you for the support of our sponsors tyGraph who have helped us cover the cost of bringing this podcast to you!  Support the organisations that support The Yaminade – and try tyGraph on your Yammer network today to surface metrics with meaning!

Melanie Hohertz

Episode 14: Recognition Programs, Strategic Planning and Yammer Analytics with Melanie Hohertz from Cargill

Recently I had the great pleasure of talking on Skype with Melanie Hohertz (@Hohertz3)- the Online Communication Lead at Cargill.  In this episode of The Yaminade – the podcast dedicated to building bigger and better engaged communities on Yammer – we talk about how the Yammer network at Cargill has developed over the past two years.  In particular we discuss things like recognition programs using enterprise social, facilitating open and transparent strategic planning workshops, culture, and geek out a little bit regarding Yammer network metrics.

To be honest we could have talked for hours… and we had been talking for about 15 minutes when this episode starts.  It is a jam packed 49 minutes full of actionable insight you can apply to your own Yammer network today.

Thank you for the support of our sponsors tyGraph who have helped us cover the cost of bringing this podcast to you!  Support the organisations that support The Yaminade – and try tyGraph on your Yammer network today to surface metrics with meaning!

Scott Ward

Episode 12: Using a framework to guide your enterprise social efforts with Scott Ward from Digital Infusions

Ever wished there was a simple framework you could use to guide your tactics when building a community on a enterprise social tool like Yammer?  After conducting research at Sydney University into building communities on social media, Scott Ward (@wardsco) decided to build that framework – BITIL.

BITIL brings simplicity, structure and focus to social media undertakings that can be used to measure and assess the activity and quality of communities; build strategies and drive community engagement toward specific business objectives.

Built from years of experience, experimentation and research the BITIL Framework is founded on the five key elements and over two-hundred and seventy sub-indicators common to high performing social media communities.

Scott founded Digital Infusions in 2011, and now works with Governments and Large Corporates across Australia to help them unlock the value of Enterprise Social.

We recorded this conversation in a VERY noisy cafe whilst Scott was visiting Brisbane – apologies for the background noise.  Considering how noisy it was when our impromptu podcast recording occurred, it is a reasonably clear episode.

Naomi Moneypenny (1)

Episode 11: The ROI of Enterprise Social and Collaboration / Machine Learning and the future of Work with Naomi Moneypenny (Part 2)

In Episode 10 of The Yaminade we kicked of a great discussion with Naomi Moneypenny (@nmoneypenny).  After hearing Naomi’s interesting back story – including how she created one of the first Intranets in Europe – we dove into how ManyWorlds Inc (and Synxi) use Yammer to deliver innovative research and products to customers with a team distributed right across the world.

In this Episode – Part 2 of the chat with Naomi, we explore:

  • how to define and articulate the return on investment in Enterprise Social or Collaboration projects – taking a business process orientated approach.  If you are trying to build a business case for Yammer – or trying to justifiy its impact – this is must listen content!;
  • this thing called the “social graph”; and
  • how things like recommendation engines and machine learning are going to change the way we work in the future

Links from this episode:

Streamling It Out Loud – a great tool to display what is happening in your digital network in your physical world!  I loved Naomi’s use case of using this on tablets beside executive’s desks so they could casually watch what was happening in the network without having to keep checking!

Synxi – the machine learning enterprise social recommendation engine.

NaomiMoneypenny.com – where you can dive deep on content and presentations that Naomi is delivering


By the way – if you love using the Stitcher app on your iPhone or Android device – you will be very happy to know that you can now listen to all past and future episodes of The Yaminade from your favourite podcast app.  Make sure you subscribe via Stitcher today!


Naomi Moneypenny talks Yammer on The Yaminade podcast

Episode 10: Machine Learning and No Internal Email with Naomi Moneypenny from Synxi (Part 1 of 2)

Recently I had the great pleasure of spending 90 minutes on Skype with Naomi Moneypenny (@nmoneypenny).  After hearing Naomi’s interesting back story – including how she created one of the first Intranets in Europe – we start diving deep into how ManyWorlds Inc (and Synxi) use Yammer to deliver innovative research and products to customers with a team distributed right across the world.

Key takeaways this week include:

  • how to use Yammer to reduce (and ultimately eliminate) internal email from your organisation
  • how to give executives visibility to what is going on in your Yammer network (without having to do ANOTHER) executives on Yammer training course
  • what it is like to do escape training from Oil Rigs in the North Sea!

In Episode 11 – the second part of our discussion with Naomi, we dive deeper into the Return on Investment in Yammer, SharePoint and other collaborative technologies… recommendation engines and machine learning… and how organisations can leverage the social graph to create, innovate and ultimately perform better!

Links from this episode:

Streamling It Out Loud – a great tool to display what is happening in your digital network in your physical world!  I loved Naomi’s use case of using this on tablets beside executive’s desks so they could casually watch what was happening in the network without having to keep checking!

Synxi – the machine learning enterprise social recommendation engine.

NaomiMoneypenny.com – where you can dive deep on content and presentations that Naomi is delivering

Episode 9: The best bits of The Yaminade – 2014 Edition!

I was going to end the year on a high with The Yaminade – but to be honest episode 8 where we discussed how to use Yammer at a conference or event left me a bit disappointed.  So I decided to release one more episode of the podcast this year – a “Best of” podcast.  In this episode I share with you my favourite parts of the seven interviews about Yammer and Community management to date.

In this short and sharp episode you will hear:

I hope you enjoy it!  Let me know what you think below – and if you haven’t already – make sure you subscribe to (and review) The Yaminade on iTunes or your favourite podcast service!

See you in the new year!


Transcript of Episode 9 of The Yaminade

Paul: Hi everyone and welcome to this latest episode of The Yaminade, the podcast dedicated to building bigger and better engaged communities on Yammer. You can find me on Twitter @paulwoods. I want to be completely honest with you, I published it a few weeks ago, it wasn’t the standard that I set myself for this podcast. So what I wanted to do was make it up to you all today and do a Best Of Episode, just like a family sitcom. I’m going to cut to my first seven episodes and we’ll forget about Episode 8 for now and listen to some of my favourite bits from Sarah, Rhiannan, Stan, Stefani, Steven, Simon and Hayley and hopefully for those of you who are new to the podcast, it will provide a great introduction. For those of you who have been following along for a while, here are the things to remember and apply in our workplaces. When we kicked off The Yaminade in Episode 1, we talked to Sarah Moran and we talked about the fear of doing the wrong thing in the Yammer network and community and touched on the implications that has for policy as well.

Paul: What kind of things should we be posting, what shouldn’t we be posting? Is there any guidance you’d like to give?

Sarah: It’s not what should or shouldn’t we do, but what if someone posts something bad. And that’s difficult because it’s covered in every other policy. Like, you know it’s covered in Sexual Harassment, etc. Just because the technology has created a different system, it doesn’t mean your system of communications changes.

Paul: If someone said that at the water cooler, the same rules apply, right?

Sarah: I think it was The ABC adopted a 4 line social media policy and the essence of it is actually one like and it’s “don’t be dumb!”

Paul: Exactly, “your name is on this!”

Sarah: Yeah, I was like “don’t be an idiot, and you’ll be fine!”

Paul: I don’t know if that keeps the lawyers happy though, that’s the only challenge!

Sarah: And it doesn’t stop the idiots!

Paul: I like the approach. The policy already exists: sexual harassment, how to you communicate within a brand and external communication, it’s all there…

Sarah: Tone of voice is within the style guide…

Paul: Alright, let’s think about Episode 2 with Rhiannan Howell and she talked about growing her network sustainably, aligned with some leadership events they are running and other events they ran on their Yammer network.

Paul: What strategies did you put in place to get past that 50% watermark of having the organisation in the network?

Rhiannan: We had a specific strategy around opting-in.  We really didn’t want it to be bare. The Director General said “thou shalt join” so people joined. To get people on board, we used a face-to-face opportunity we were running across the state in a series of leadership roadshows where our leaders were going out and talking to people. We used it as an opportunity to soft-launch Yammer. We weaved it into our innovation key messages and said “there’s a platform here we’ve made available, give it a go, jump on board and tell us what your ideas are”. It’s particularly important for people who thought they were too buried in the hierarchy to get their ideas heard. That was really our linchpin in launching and that was in February this year.

Paul: So you position it as a tool to capture ideas and align with this roadshow. What happened after that, did you see a huge explosion in uptake after these events or was it sustained over time?

Rhiannan:  Probably in the first six weeks it was explosive and then as everyone experiences, there was a degree of slowdown, but we have around 10-15 people joining every day and that’s been pretty constant for the last month.

Paul: Now let’s go to Episode 3, perhaps one of my favourite interview throughout the entire Yaminade process so far, with Stan Garfield. It’s probably also the most commented on and Tweeted, this idea of SAFARIs that Stan talks about. I just want to replay that.

What tactics do you use to share those tactics and communicate those user cases? Are you running workshops with change champions that have taken that message out to the audience? Are you just sending a blanket email to everyone and hoping for the best? How do you get those reluctant adopters across the line by sharing these stories?

Stan: You have to try multiple approaches. One way is through training and awareness and mentoring and individual one-on-one handholding. Other ways are publishing information that people can consume. Hopefully it’s not just viewed as some sort of broadcast email but it’s more tuned to what people might pay attention to. Another way in which we’ve tried to do it is to have a simple and easy to use device to remember what the recommended user cases are. I came up with an acronym for that. So instead of saying “hey everyone, start using Yammer to collaborate” which is easy to ignore, what I said was “there are seven uses for Yammer and those can be remembered in the acronym: SAFARIS” so we put a picture of a giraffe on a slide and the seven letters of SAFARI, share, ask, find, answer, recognise, inform and suggest. I’m able to rattle those off to you not because I’m looking at them but the acronym makes it easy to remember. If people can remember the giraffe, the word SAFARIS and run through those letters, they’ll know that these are the seven things that Yammer does best. Even if you can only remember the first three: share, ask and find, then that’s a pretty good start. Spreading that message around, having that image appear on screens in offices, conducting regular training, having people able to ask questions about how they can more effectively use Yammer and sharing the stories. Then Yammer allows itself to be a great place to gather stories. Let’s say you post a question to Yammer and I answer you and you respond saying “thanks Stan that was very helpful, that allowed me to solve a problem I was struggling with” I can capture that thread as a success story and nobody needs to do any extra work, you don’t need to write it up or disseminate it.  I just share that into a collective group called Yammer Wins so when someone says “prove it to me that this is worthwhile” I can say “don’t take it from me, here, read this thread from an actual user and see how this helped them”.

Paul: In Episode 4, Stefani Butler, a Community Manager from Microsoft talked about whether you should you hire from inside or outside your organisation when looking for Community Managers.

A lot of the people I’ve talked to in the past and listening to this podcast have this vision of being a community manager or curate communities professionally, not just being .2 of their role in HR or Communications. Have you seen anyone transition from a traditional organisation role into a community management role? If so, what kind of things have you seen people do to make that transition? How have they created that vision or built the business case in their organisation to bring on that full-time community management capability?

Stefani: It’s a two-fold answer to your question. I have not witnessed someone transition per-se, I have witnessed customers transition their thinking about the day-job community manager role in the organisation to now creating a full-time equivalent resource. I have seen that and we’ll speak about that. I have seen someone attempt to transition into a full-time community management resource and that was a difficult transition because she did have the executive support and the C-suite support and the business strategy was to have her transition into a full-time resource, but quite honestly I did not get the impression that she was ready to be a full-time resource. Why is that important? When I think about it from a CSM standpoint – and I tell customers – when you’re going to add a layer onto what they’re already doing or transition them into a full-time resource, make sure that they’re passionate about this. One person said “this person is responsible for that line of business, they own that relationship, it’s natural that they would become the CM, the Community Manager” and that might seem logical in theory, but if the person is going to resists the social experience and be what we would consider at Microsoft a yellow or a red dot, I would encourage them to partner that person or identify someone else closely aligned from a similar skillset who is passionate about it, because you cannot have dispassionate community managers. You have to have people who are really good at it, or who will nurture it and are really good at it or can be developed in it. I think that’s about as simple as I can make it. I’ve seen customers transition their thinking around community management by adding a full-time resource. Not a whole lot, but we see them picking up momentum on this. I know three from the top of my head that from a confidentiality standpoint I won’t share without asking my fellow CSMs, but three customers I know who have added a full-time resource of Community Manager to their organisations. I commend them for that because it is a full-time job. I’d say that at the risk of people disagreeing with me. When you’re maturing your network, you can add that layer on to people who have capacity. It was definitely an add on to my position and I was a global lead for a division for internal communications and I did have a significant amount of accountability but it was something I was passionate about, so CMing didn’t feel like another layer, do you know what I mean?

Paul: If you were going to give someone a full-time community management role, would you bring someone in from outside of the organisation with fresh eyes or someone from inside who already knows how the company works?

Stefani: It’s a good question. I think it hinders on what the organisation has said their purpose is within Enterprise Social. We have customers who are approaching this experience still from a traditional standpoint and they still want to do the one way push and integrate that with their SharePoint intranet and really still control the message and engagement. If that’s the case, I would not bring somebody external into that experience. That’s neither good nor bad, I just want to make sure that if they develop, hire or create a CSM full-time role and do things they are traditionally do things the way they’ve done them, why not nurture and develop someone who is used to that. On the flipside, if they said “hey, we’re used to working this way but we want to explore a new way of working” then I’m a huge advocate from bringing in someone from outside, bringing in fresh thoughts and ideas, because you want to mix up the flow and the norm. You want to bring somebody who may not be used to doing things the way they have always been done and quite honestly someone who challenge the norm and I think an external hire is really well suited for that.

Paul: Brilliant. In Episode 5 with Steven Piotrowski. We talked about getting the attention of time-poor people. So for everyone in your organisation, how can you get them to care about and engage within your Yammer network?

So building up the Yammer community in a professional services organisation where everyone is too busy because they’re out billing with customers and they have their administrative job after hours where they do their timesheets and all the paperwork… and obviously the distributive nature of the organisation, how did you get people’s attention? How did you get them into that community into when they had that constraint of “I don’t have time for this?”

Steven: I think that is always a constraint with anything new and Yammer isn’t an exception in that scenario. Any new project or effort you have, you’re vying for people’s time, so you have to connect it to something they care about. My approach was to hark it back to my days as a consultant at Deloitte, to enter and become my own internal management consultant to them. I was using the network to see who the early adopters of the platform were, who were contributing to it and trying to get something out of it. Early on it was quite easy to see who those folks were. I would phone them up and explain that I had seen their activity on Yammer and ask them what they were trying to accomplish. I’d explain that I had seen them on Yammer and if I could help them. Then we’d talk about what collaboration meant for those colleagues. What was interesting about those conversations was that colleagues always thought they had great methods for themselves for how they got that information, shared ideas and sought ideas from others. The more you talk about it, the more you see friction in so many aspects of work with their team and stakeholders and the more distributed those relationships got, the more frictions there were. What that did was really open up a door to talk about how Yammer and SharePoint could help reduce or eliminate those frictions. It was a great entrée into those conversations. What would happen was one of two things: Not everyone is going to bite, due to the time constraint. Some folks said “no thank you very much” others said “oh my gosh, I need you to sit down with my team and I want my team agreeing that we are going to collectively begin to work like this” and those were the people I knew I had hooked and were going to become success stories in the network.

Paul: In Episode 6 with Simon Terry, we start talking about accountability in networks because if you think about it, when you’re in a network and don’t have that hierarchy, then how do you hold people accountable or how do people hold themselves accountable for what their actions or commitments they make in your Yammer community?

How do we hold people accountable when everyone is there’s no clear hierarchy of a reporting line? Maybe spend a little bit of time talking about the content you have been writing about accountability… I think that’s really valuable in the context of what we’re talking about here

Simon: I think the key to the points I have been exploring on my blog are that when you start to think about what accountability means… we have a traditional view of what accountability means in a hierarchy which is when other people use their hierarchical power to hold me to account. We actually know that that’s not a particularly effective form of accountability because it relies on the people in that hierarchy to know what’s going on, following through on their threats of negative penalties and as we all know in hierarchies there are all forms of ducking and diving and weaving on accountability. Often, the accountability is only one way, from the top to the bottom. There’s no accountability back up from bottom to top because senior executives are held accountable by boards and shareholders and they are often remote don’t understand the particular issues that the organisation would like the executives to be accountable for. What I think is interesting is when you change the frame and say “what does accountability look like in a network?” and that’s if you don’t hold up to your integrity, commitment and promises you’ve made in the network, you’ll find yourself losing trust. As you lose trust, you lose influence. As you lose influence, networks will route around you and stop dealing with you and deal with others instead to get things done. That concept of the network thinking who they can rely on to get things done works both ways and enables people to get stuff done without enforcement processes.  It’s a natural process of “I don’t like that person, I’ll follow someone else”. That mindset of a very agile network of accountability is really at the heart of what responsive organisations is all about.

Paul: It’s not just a Yammer natural selection, it also applies in the physical world just as equally as in the digital world.

Simon: Yeah, this is a social process. One of the things I love about social business is that it forces us to rethink management in terms of how humans behave. We already naturally avoid people we can’t trust and spend time with people we can trust. Trust is the most sophisticated algorithm that is built into the human brain. We can manage really complex trust relationships with hundreds of people and know who we will work with and who we won’t, we make judgements quickly and evolve those judgements as new things occur. Being able to leverage that, rather than fixed, arbitrary hierarchies and processes. One of the things that happens in hierarchies is that it’s ok to let down other silos, you just never let down your own because you’ll be held accountable by your own, but your own may not hold you to account for how you’ve let down silos. That creates terrible dynamics within an organisation but when you’re talking about a network, when you’re working with these people consistently, you don’t let them down because you’ve got to build and maintain a relationship with trust.

Paul: I can’t think of an organisation where that isn’t an issue. As soon as you’ve got more than two teams it becomes an issue!

Simon: Because we are humans who value relationships, what you create immediately when you talk about trust, is a personal accountability. That’s not something that is imposed, it’s coming out of me, I want to be that person in the relationship and I have to live up to that. I think creating a personal level of accountability is much more powerful than anything externally imposed.

Paul: Absolutely.

Then in Episode 7, the last good episode before that terrible one in Episode 8, Hayley Bushell shares with us her top three things she thinks people should do when starting their Yammer network.

Hayley: I would personally recommend the sync tool. Even if people don’t join but at least if they are aware, even if their team isn’t using it, they might not be exposed to that network to get on… that whole syncing with your Director, even if they just see the name…

2) Get your middle management on board.

Paul: [Laughs] steal the middle management from Workcover

Hayley: No, don’t steal them, we want them. Middle management create the excitement and set the tone for our people. They’re a great asset for Workcover and if you can get that middle management… even if you get ten on board and get them championing it to other managers that would really help!

3) Community Manager, can I say that? Get a Community Manager!

Paul: Very good.

So there you have it, there are my seven favourite parts of the first seven episodes of The Yaminade. Once again, thank you once again for your support over the last nine episodes. Thanks to those of you who have downloaded episodes of The Yaminade and tune in each week, I really appreciate your support and look forward to it moving into the New Year.

For those of you who have listened to the podcast and would love to share your story on The Yaminade, please drop a line with me on Twitter: @paulwoods and I’d really love to have you on an episode of The Yaminade in the New Year. All the best for the holiday season, thanks!