Just like everything else at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014 (SPC14), SharePoint Social is being pushed into Heaven or Hell depending on your point of view. In fact it’s being pushed so hard it got pushed right out SharePoint and into Yammer and new apps.
Basically we are talking about no updates or enhancements to on-premises SharePoint Social.
According to Jared Spataro, the General Manager of Enterprise Social at Microsoft, “… SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1), …makes it easy to connect an on-premises SharePoint deployment with an in-the-cloud Yammer network.” (Work like a network! Enterprise social and the future of work blog post)
Take a look at some of the new apps that make this loss more palatable:
- Office Graph – Not just an org chart. Office Graph shows how you are working with people in the organization. Meetings you’ve both attended, documents you’ve worked on together and discussions you’ve shared are all incorporated into the relationship model. Office Graph serves up your connections instead of you having to search for your connections.
- Oslo (codename) – I hate to say it, but it makes me think of Pinterest for Business. With so much information out there users are depending on images, context and search to find what they need to get the job done. Oslo takes care of the search and presents the information in a graphical format. Think of it as dynamic personal navigation.
- Yammer Group Experience – You’ll need O365 for this one. When you create a group anywhere in O365 you will get a group inbox, discussion, Outlook web apps calendar and a SharePoint document library. That’s a lot of Office Apps seamlessly integrated to get the job done.
What does this mean for you?
- Start considering a hybrid solution. Remember your organization’s Yammer environment can be locked down as tight as you’d like, but it’s still in the Cloud.
- If you started using SharePoint Social features, stick with what you’ve got, but start planning for a change.
- Don’t panic. SharePoint Social isn’t going away…at least not today.
NEVER use the word Facebook to describe enterprise social.
“People will be able to connect instantaneously, just like Facebook.”
“Our employees will be able to have conversations regardless of time of day or location, just like Facebook.”
That F word drives fear of a productivity black hole into the hearts of the CEO, CIO, CFO and most others on the leadership team in your organization. Some of them may have already been on Facebook. Your leadership team is already aware that Facebook can easily suck an hour or two out of your day. That isn’t productive, unless your company specializes in videos of people doing stupid things or produces cute pictures of cats doing stupid things.
If you want to sell enterprise social to the CEO, CIO, CFO or anyone else for that matter, show them how it will save time.
Do contracts take forever to review because you are doing it through email? How much turnaround time could be saved by having the discussion all in one place? Posting links to similar contracts within the conversation? Not only will it shorten the turnaround time for contracts, it will free up your sales team’s time to build more relationships with your clients.
Now we have another F word.
YamJam with Yammer.
Set up an hour or so long session on Yammer after the Town Hall Meeting for the CIO to answer questions from the crowd. Employees feel more satisfied with a meeting if their questions get answered.
Be candid. If you’re not, no one will listen.
If your CIO is a troglodyte, don’t panic.
“If your leaders can talk, they can YamJam. Bonus if they can type.” – Melanie Hohertz, Cargill
Social is neat, Social is cool, Social is shiny, and it isn’t worth a darn unless it solves a business problem.
There are some organizations that install SharePoint Social features or Yammer because it’s the hip new thing. No training, no leadership buy-in, no business problem to solve. These implementations will be ignored by your co-workers, scorned by legal and lamented by HR.
If you want to prevent a “Social Debacle” within your organization put your ear to the ground. Listen for groups complaining about how hard it is to track things in email, find the most recent discussion on a document or project, and spending too much time in meetings discussing the same things over and over and over again.
Now you’ve found your business problem.
Talk to the group find out what they are doing and what they have tried to get the problem under control. Work with the group to create a place where these discussions can occur and be found later for review. Get the leader of the group or their boss involved early and make sure they participate in discussions and interactions.
If leadership isn’t using your Social Solution, no one will.
Make sure your Social Solution meets your users where they live; in email, on their mobile devices or in another location or piece of hardware. The business problem and how people will interact with your Social Solution is more important than the tool you choose.