In the central government team at Microsoft we have been using Yammer in earnest for the last 6 months. The uptake of Yammer within the team has been mixed; some people got it immediately and others took a little longer to understand the benefits however six months on the entire team use it regularly for internal communication and collaboration across the Microsoft organisation.

Yammer started slowly within the team but in my experience you have to lead by example so one thing that really helped get things off the ground was our ‘weekly round-up’. Every Friday I would post a round-up of my week; the highs and lows, who’d I’d met with, great things I’d seen and what my goals were for the following week. The team slowly started doing the same which would then prompt other team members to ask questions, share best practices, offer advice and help each other out with challenges.

Once a month we run ‘no e-mail Friday’. If anyone sends an e-mail to anyone else in the team they have to pay some money to charity. It definitely focuses the mind on other methods of communication such as picking up the phone or posting in Yammer! Personally I love no e-mail Fridays and the virtual tumbleweed that flies through my inbox. It allows us to get proactive work done rather than trying to obtain the holy grail of inbox zero (I have never achieved this in 18 months at Microsoft!)

Yammer has really changed the pace at which we operate within the team. As an example this morning I had a chat with a colleague about putting on an event for our central government customers. Before Yammer I would have scheduled a call with the team to discuss and get everyone’s ideas and input and that would have taken weeks because everyone’s diaries are so packed. With everyone using Yammer I posted a message in our team group and within 5 minutes I had six responses, all of which contained great ideas and everyone can see what everyone else is saying and so the ideas grow and will ultimately make the event we’re planning better.

Yammer has a major role to play in moving organisations along the business maturity curve. Want to learn more about how to make your organisation more responsive and less dependent on e-mail? Join Microsoft and the Yammer team for a free day-long workshop on 3 February at Microsoft’s London offices at Cardinal Place.