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Selling Yammer in NSW DET 28 January, 2011

Posted by paralleldivergence in education, ICT in Education, Internet, yammer.
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The New South Wales Department of Education and Training (NSW DET) is the largest education authority in the southern hemisphere catering for over 755,000 public school students across more than 2,200 schools. A further 504,000 students are enrolled in TAFE courses across 135 colleges in the state. Add to that 10 regional offices and TAFE administration centres and a similar number of state offices, and it can be clearly seen that staff are massively siloed – thousands of islands all trying to do similar jobs. The logistics of professionally supporting such a diverse staff on an ongoing basis are mind-blowing.

Of course, NSW DET has provided corporate email accounts for all staff for many years and one enormous address book allows one staff member to quickly find others - as long as you know the name of the person you are looking for! A massive set of corporate websites provides access for all staff to wonderful resources to help them with their jobs - as long as you know what you’re looking for and where to start looking! Otherwise, most staff are forced to resort to the telephone, calling the Service Desk and waiting in the queue. It’s not unlike other large organisations where the one-way Internet still rules.

But NSW DET understands the difficulties of its business and has looked into how social networking may simplify some of the complexities. While popular tools like Facebook and Twitter connect people worldwide and have amazing educational benefits, it is their openness that makes them totally unsuitable for the workplace. That’s where Yammer fits in beautifully. As a corporate social network, the only people that can view your organisation’s feed are your staff. This brings numerous advantages and NSW DET is starting to realise them. By commencing a formal 12-month trial of Yammer, this employer has simply made the service available to its staff and taken the wait-and-watch approach. If social networking is to work in the organisation, it has to work naturally, by word of mouth and not as a directive from above. Social networking is the essence of a bottom-up approach.

Yammer started off slowly, but quickly began to gather steam. By the time the formal trial was announced in June 2010, about 1,000 staff had already discovered the service, but just six months later, it had swelled to a membership of over 8,500. Still, this represents only a small percentage of the overall staff employed by NSW DET. As of right now, over 66,000 messages have been posted and the almost 9,000 members have created and broken off into more than 320 special interest groups. The knowledge and resources being shared by this disparate and spread-out subset of DET staff is not only clearly evident, it’s eminently searchable and retrievable through the extensive use of hashtags and keywords. Yammer is working.

The next step for NSW DET in this trial is to break through two important barriers:

  1. Getting “lurking” members to join in more in the discussions
  2. Helping “disconnected” staff to discover Yammer and its benefits.

Like many educational authorities, NSW DET has a (likely) majority of its staff that see information and communications technologies (ICTs) as a challenge that they’d prefer to avoid. Word-of-mouth has gotten the Yammer membership this far, but the time has come where “selling” Yammer to staff is needed for the corporate social network to continue to grow. To that end, I’ve come up with a sales script.  It can be used as the basis for a Powerpoint presentation, a Prezi, a poster or a video – anything that will grab attention and convince staff to investigate further. There are too many business benefits to ignore.

Feel free to take this script and mash it into a great sales tool to promote Yammer to your staff. Edit it, add to it and re-share it. And let me know what you think of Yammer in the comments below.

What is Yammer?

It’s social networking for organisations.

A bit like Twitter, a bit like Facebook.

Connecting masses of people.

Hosting multiple discussions.

But social networking is blocked!

Sure, but Yammer is different.

Yammer consists only of NSW DET staff.

Staff from schools, regional and state offices and TAFE.

Thousands of them.

And they are discussing YOUR job.

YOUR interests.

YOUR questions.

They are ANSWERING.

They are SUPPORTING.

They are DISCOVERING.

And they are SHARING.

But overall, EVERYONE is LEARNING.

It’s an instant Professional Learning Network.

The collective knowledge & skills of thousands of DET staff…

…all in one place.

Breaking down boundaries.

Flattening hierarchies.

Providing Just-in-time learning.

It’s all happening at Yammer right now.

But where are you?

http://yammer.com/

Quick-Start Guide:

http://tinyurl.com/yammer-guide

[UPDATE] Yammer have posted the results of a survey of 10,000 of its users. Click on the chart for the full article.

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Comments»

1. Tweets that mention Selling Yammer in NSW DET « Parallel Divergence -- Topsy.com - 29 January, 2011

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darcy Moore, Don Otvos. Don Otvos said: Selling Yammer in NSW DET: http://t.co/vLD1bdd #yam [...]

2. Nordin Zuber - 29 January, 2011

Thanks so much Stu – can you believe I had just sat down Sat morning getting ready to write a “why yammer?” paper for my school executive!

3. Ruth Lusty - 29 January, 2011

This is really timely and useful Stu, thanks!

Phil Seymour - 29 January, 2011

Whilst I think I have to iron out a few bugs myself….the potential of yammer is incredible. Stu u have hit the nail on the head…getting the lurkers & all other staff to join in is the big issue. Hope this helps!

4. Greg P - 29 January, 2011

Our company started using Yammer about 4 months ago, and while we only have about 600 members, our experiences have been very similar to yours. The membership rose rapidly but plateaued at about 18%. Although we have tried pushing Yammer onto others, the resistance has been real. Thanks for the ideas to promote it. We need to make it personal, relevant to each individual. Great post.

5. Paul Copeland - 29 January, 2011

Well Stu, time for me to get on-board. I still would like to see staff DET access to Twitter as there are many cool sources of information, e.g. engineering companies and Linux professionals that will use Twitter but not Yammer. But I can see the points you make. I still have people say to me why Tweet, who cares what I am doing?” They do not see the rich source of information that can be mined, or added to.

6. GThornwood - 31 January, 2011

Fascinating experience with Yammer. Our company is tossing up whether or not to take it on. Your article might just make the difference. Thanks!

7. Pixeltoy - 19 September, 2011

Oh Yammer how I miss thee!

paralleldivergence - 19 September, 2011

Sure. Socialtext needs some work, but it has potential. It just needs the people.

8. Our technological dialogue - 9 October, 2011

[...] Image references: Image: ‘Geeky Taffy [85/365]‘ Image: Maang Maang information: Adapted from Stu Hasic’s Yammer information:  http://paralleldivergence.com/2011/01/28/selling-yammer-in-nsw-det [...]

9. Selling Yammer in NSW DET - Customer Blogs - 30 March, 2012

[...] Selling Yammer in NSW DET [...]


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