Christian Finn, Director of Product Management, SharePoint, Microsoft Corporation
Title: On Becoming a Connected Enterprise: The Seven Essential Truths Microsoft Has Discovered So Far
[These are my quick notes, complete with (what I hope is no more than) the occasional typo and grammatical error. Please excuse those. Thanks!
From time to time, I’ll insert my own editorial comments – exercising the prerogatives of the blogger. I’ll show those in brackets. ]
- This is billed as a discussion of Microsoft’s culture rather than their products
- The focus is on responding to their “e-mail addicted” culture
- Their challenge was how to connect their people across geographies and timezones.
- What is are the key needs of their employees?
- Keep up with productsm markets and technology
- Share real world knowledge
- Help people connect with colleagues and friends within the enterprise.
- Their solution is an enterprise podcast collection called “AcademyMobile”
- It is completely community governed. With a couple of clicks, everyone within Microsoft can post their podcast. There are no workflow or corporate approvals required. This is completely open.
- Content is unproduced, unrehearsed – very authentic. In the process, participants share something about themselves.
- The podcasts are posted directly on their internal SharePoint system. You can find these quickly, see them and rate them. You can also connect with the podcaster via IM or other quick connection tools.
- Make it easy to participate – they eliminate barriers to entry by giving free tools to podcasters in exchange to a certain number of podcasts per month on any topic you want.
- They raised awareness of the solution. It they an evolving internal marketing campaign to recruit participants. Once it got big enough, they moved from guerilla, ad hoc marketing to formal marketing campaigns.
- They give rewards – podcasters get points for the number of podcasts contributed and the number viewed. Originally, they focused on their technical content and offered rewards that appealed to geeks. Now they offer a wider range of rewards (e.g., complete dining room furniture) and are even now letting podcasters translate their awards into charitable gifts.
- Once executives saw the impact of this program, senior executives realized that this is where employees were spending their time and these executives started making their own podcasts. [Employees can rate Steve Ballmer’s podcasts. Do you think he ever gets a poor rating???]
- How do they measure value?
- How many podcasts are uploaded to the system?
- How many views are there?
- Size of audience (over 50% of the employee population, over 95% of the sales force)
- Benefit: Spreading a wealth of knowledge in a way that goes well beyond what the internal formal training department cannot match – even with the resources of Microsoft behind
- Seven Truths:
- Focus on the need, not the technology
- Be a silo buster
- The solution belongs to the users – it doesn’t work in a command-and-control way. If it is done top-down, you have to compel participation. If it’s bottom up, people self-select and much more effective
- What’s in a name? The platform/program should have a distinct name, look and personality. (If it had been just another SharePoint site, it would not have achieved the same level of visibility and interest.)
- Start small, grow fast. They just wanted to help a few communicate and connect. They didn’t intend to create a video backbone.
- Bring in everybody. Make sure you give ways for various types of participants – contributors, commenters, raters, etc.
- Value? They actually didn’t make a hard ROI business case before launching the program. However, they have since be able to establish lots of business value. It speaks for itself.
- Mileage will vary – not every E2.0 effort will have the same impact. You need to really calibrate your methods and branding to your goals.