As COO for LAC Group, I recently went through the exploration process to find new technology to supplement internal email communications and alleviate the current deficiencies highlighted in last week’s post. While “open” social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, have their own perks, and are both tools we currently employ, the setup, organization, management and cooperation from employees, remains somewhat tedious, to date, and neither provide the information exchange function we need within a secure environment.
As I hinted in last week's post, we found one of the newer technologies to be the most promising: #Yammer. Yammer is an enterprise social networking tool that is both private and resides in a secure environment, allowing for company collaboration, file sharing, and knowledge exchange for our team.
How Yammer Works
The Yammer enterprise network technology has given LAC Group the ability to establish an employee intranet with social networking capabilities, exclusive to all of our employees within our electronic mail domain. Employees have access to interact with, share, post and exchange information with other LAC Group employees sharing the same email extension of lac-group.com (or other domains under the corporate umbrella like ccmchase.com and lac-legal.com).
LAC Group has hundreds of employees, many of whom work from client sites all over the country and world, employees often don’t know each other on a personal basis much less know the names of all of their co-workers. Email is prohibitive of important information sharing in large organizations like ours, as employees would need to direct messages to a specific co-worker by name, or send a message to a large group distribution group...still not knowing who might see their message. Even then, email communications are still a “closed” two-way exchange of information between those two employees, for the most part.
With Yammer, LAC Group employees are able to post information and updates, ask questions, participate in a group dialog, and more. With Yammer, all employees in our organization can discover and respond more timely, and with the confidence that their communications are secure within our internal business network. As David Sacks of Yammer said, “There’s nothing discoverable about email. It’s either addressed to you or not.”
So far, Yammer is proving to be a valuable option for LAC Group to increase efficiency and knowledge throughout our team worldwide. Librarians in the field especially feel this tool gives them more access to what is going on not only within LAC Group headquarters, and with others like them stationed in the field, but within the library management services industry as a whole.
Deficiencies Not Resolved
While Yammer addresses internal messaging and collaboration, we still don't have an answer for external client communications. Currently email is the best we've come up with so far...but that doesn't mean we haven't stopped looking.
“Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities.” – Terry Josephson