Delighted to be at an event this week organised by Brightstarr and Microsoft Ireland about intranets, Office 365, the digital workplace and even Yammer. Of course SharePoint got a mention or two! Hosted at the Microsoft office in Sandyford, it was great to see around 30 people at the event.
Brightstarr had organised it to promote their Unily intranet product (based on SharePoint of course). They had brought in one of their key customers in Ireland, ESB Networks, to talk about how they had implemented it in their organisation in the past year or so.
We also had Simon Daly from Microsoft taking us the role of Office 365 in modern intranets.
For me it was the attention given to Yammer by both the people from EBS Networks and the audience. I wasn’t expecting that. A show of hands brought quite a large number of Yammer users. Indeed a show of hands about those struggling with SharePoint was also significant! You need better user adoption people!
EBS Networks took an early decision to introduce Yammer in the organisation with no fanfare and only a small level of communications. Basically “here it is, here’s how to log in and here’s what it does’ sort of thing. They wanted employees to own it and grow to use it in their own way. So it took off slowly. Initially senior management were a bit reticent about bringing it in but gave their full support to the team.
So it was a slow burner for a while as usage grew steadily. But it was when they redeveloped their intranet (using the Unily platform and migrating from SharePoint 2013) and had the main Yammer feed on the home that it really took off. People can now see it more clearly on the home page and could get involved with it. One other interesting aspect was when Storm Darwin hit Ireland in 2016, the organisation had to deal with significant storm damage to their power lines around the country. Employee used Yammer to share updates and photos much quicker than through official channels. This provided a significant boost to Yammer’s usage and value within the organisation.
About 50% of employees are currently on Yammer though there is about 1000 people (out of 7,000+) who do not have the means to connect to either Yammer or the intranet (it is on premise) but that is being looked at by the team.
Unily itself is a robust and responsive intranet built on SharePoint (cloud or on premise). It is covered in Clearbox Consulting’s recent report ‘SharePoint intranets in a box’ along with 25 other products. It is well designed, flexible and integrates Yammer very well indeed.
There are few and far events talking about intranets, the digital workplace or even Yammer in Ireland so hopefully this is sign that this could change. Fingers crossed.