Office 365 Partner Community: focus on Enterprise Social – the social journey


by Michael Panciroli
US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365

The Office 365 Partner Community is led by National Partner Technology Strategists from the Microsoft US Partner Team. Partner Community activities include blog posts, discussions on Yammer, newsletters, and community calls.

This is part 2 of our Office 365 Partner Community blog series about Enterprise Social. Read part 1 here.

The Social Journey


The Social Journey methodology provides you with way to talk to customers about enabling their most valuable asset—their people. Many customers are on a path to “working social,” and as their partner, you can act as a Customer Success Manager to help them make the most of their Yammer network in particular. Understanding the stages of the Social Journey and what the success factors are for each stage will prepare you to advise your customers. 

Step 1: Define your vision

One of the most important factors for Office 365 adoption is for you to work with your customer to define a clear, concise, and comprehensive vision and outline the desired business scenarios. A well-defined business vision and list of targeted business objectives will serve as a guiding light throughout the launch and rollout planning, and also help secure buy-in across the organization. The goals and priorities can then be translated into a Vision Statement, which is the customer’s foundation for communicating the business value of Yammer to executives and all employees. The vision can be for the organization, or for a specific team or project. Defining and sharing this vision with employees lets them understand the value of Yammer to the organization and how it empowers each of them. It also achieves a clarity of purpose that helps secure buy-in and support. It will also serve as a guide during planning and implementation, and help identify measures of success. A clear vision statement serves as a foundation for a change management plan that you can help customers implement as a service you offer.

Step 2: Identify business outcomes

In this step, you will help your customer prioritize ways to use Yammer that support the vision. You are still brainstorming and exploring potential ways that Yammer can be used throughout the company, with the end result of a prioritized list for planning. It's important to keep in view that Yammer is not just a single department tool, it is meant to connect the entire organization. You will be most successful by talking to business leaders in each department individually to discover use cases and see what they can contribute toward the goal of working better together, rather than trying to define business outcomes for the entire organization at the onset. This step should involve all individuals who are going to drive and support the change throughout the entire organization.

After establishing the different initiatives to be accomplished through social, arrange the goals in order of importance and impact, and narrow it down to 3–5 initiatives. This will make it easier to clearly communicate and train employees about how the enterprise social network will add value for them. By mapping Yammer use to specific business value, your customer can more effectively measure success and see tangible business results, validating Yammer as a business tool and gaining new support and interest across the organization. 

Step 3: Plan to work social

“Working social” is a fundamental change in how people work together that requires a higher focus on the people side of change in order to maximize business value. It's more than just a newsfeed—it’s about taking a customer-centered approach in which the value is defined by the customer. When working social, individuals, teams, departments, and organizations are empowered by a shift from working in silos to working with transparency or "out loud.” It creates a ripple effect that builds the network over time.

In this step, the focus is on how the organization will put their prioritized initiatives for Yammer into practice. The “use cases” are a defined way of using Yammer to accomplish a specific goal or task. While some use cases are the ones initially identified during the brainstorming conversations with the organization's key stakeholders, others will develop organically as network members adopt the Yammer platform into their day-to-day workflow. It's important to embrace both top down, strategic use cases as well as viral, bottom up use cases. A combination will further encourage participation and engagement across all levels of the business. In developing the use cases, it is imperative to gather together a committed team of individuals across various regions and departments:

  • Use Case/Group Leaders: Responsible for prioritizing how their teams will use Yammer based on immediate business needs and the level of difficulty to implement each use case
  • Project Manager: Will coordinate all the moving parts and pieces, and help contribute ideas and best practices to the solutions being outlined
  • Power Users:  Can provide insight into how they currently work, how these changes will affect them, and how they can be involved in the supporting the execution of the use case objectives

For each prioritized way of using Yammer, you will want to work with all related parties to answer the following questions to plan for implementation:

  • What is the challenge/opportunity?
  • What are the business benefits you want to achieve?
  • What behaviors need to be change to realize the outcomes?
  • Who is the Champion/Owner/Community Manager?
  • What is the project timeline & review date?
  • How do we measure success?
  • What Yammer materials & resources are available to help?

Step 4: Launch and drive success

At this stage, it’s time to focus on actual network and use case implementation. This requires a technical implementation plan. More importantly, this step requires a thorough change management plan to address the people side of the change. Partners can help with launch planning and events. Pick a specific date or period of time to launch in order to allow ample time to prepare, build anticipation, and celebrate as a group. Other activities include developing a proper communication plan and training before, during, and after the launch. Plan engagement events to increase initial participation in your network.

Keep in mind that the network will take time to gain momentum and become self-sustainable so make sure to account for this adjustment and transition period. The most successful Yammer rollouts occur when a committed team of individuals, representing a cross-section of the organization, executes tasks effectively and on time.

Step 5: Evaluate, adapt, iterate

This step focuses on creating a long-term plan for success – reviewing achievements, maintaining, momentum, and adapting to new challenges. It's an opportunity to take a step back and evaluate what’s been accomplished, then showcase the successes throughout the organization, to gather new interest and opportunities. You will want to take best practices from previous achievements, pply them to the next steps, and enable individuals throughout the organization to continue building the network through their own initiatives.

This process requires engaging the people previously involved with Yammer's implementation, as well as identifying new individuals committed to helping Yammer grow. Leadership can help confirm or update the vision and sign off on new Yammer plans. Previously inactive departments should be more comfortable integrating Yammer into their business at this point, while active departments will have new ideas for teams and projects.

Partners can assist with ongoing community management to help educate the network, share successes on Yammer, inspire ideas, and recruit more champions and power users. A thorough Yammer evaluation will be a combination of quantitative network analytics, qualitative success stories, and employee feedback. This helps you check on your network health and reprioritize your Yammer initiatives. Once you reach this stage you will not only have a good sense of adoption and engagement  but you will also realize the benefit of better understanding of your customer.

Where to learn more

In part 3 of this series, I will discuss additional opportunities and scenarios for partners to consider when creating managed service offerings in Enterprise Social.

Register for the next Office 365 Partner Community call on May 7.

Previous Office 365 Partner Community topics

Focus on Enterprise Social

Focus on FastTrack “Getting Started”

Focus on Identity Integration

Focus on Enterprise Voice for Office 365 customers

Focus on Security and Compliance

Focus on OneDrive for Business

Focus on Office 365 Hybrid

Comments (4)
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    by Michael Panciroli US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365 The Office 365 Partner Community

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