(See related Blog post on the Social Intranet here).

Over the past few months, we attempted to get responses from companies and individuals around New Zealand, Australia and further afield. We wanted to determine how well “social” is being adopted and used – and what for.

These are the results. There are graphs for many of the results which are easier to see in this form, and we have summarised the more qualitative feedback into relevant sections below.









How do you handle users who are technically illiterate?

Training and Support

  • By giving them ongoing internal training and improved communications.
  • By using “lunch and learn” online sessions, blog posts/how-to presentations, and documentation.
  • By showing them social features in what they are familiar, e.g. integration of SharePoint with Microsoft Office
  • With heaps of support and guidance; use a different way of training to our more technically savvy users.
  • By showing them the benefits of the technology: “What’s in it for them”.
  • Training exists, but most users are technically literate. We wouldn’t hire them if they didn’t have sufficient skills for the job.
  • Depends on whether they want to learn. If they want to learn, they can get training.
  • By exercising loads of patience.
  • Training: hands-on is best. Introduce users to the terms for each part of a site, then how to add content, and finally get them up to speed on permissions.
  • We use a buddy system.
  • They tend to get some help initially, then it is up to them to keep up (or become irrelevant).
  • Posts in discussion platform.

Do nothing

  • Not our issue unless it affects how they do the job they are being paid for
  • We don’t worry too much about it. They get it eventually, and those who are socially savvy carry it for the organisation.
  • We don’t actively manage or assist at this stage. In our experience, eventually those with few technology skills will become interested and seek out champions in the community to assist them.
  • At the moment, such users seldom log on to the network in general. We do (not) have any provisions for such users in general, let alone for Social Enterprise in SharePoint.
  • Don’t use them unless they show interest in learning.
  • They typically don’t have interest in getting involved; if they do we have one-on-one training.
  • We have yet to be exposed to these users, so unknown.
  • This area needs more attention in our organisation.
  • All staff are technically proficient; we don’t hire people who are technically illiterate.
  • We handle it poorly.

Make it easy to use

  • Make it simple to use. Usability is critical.
  • Ensure help documents are available.
  • We wrote our guide in the simplest plain English possible. When people make the odd faux pas we just give them a call or send them a note. On the odd occasion we have also provided 1:1 support in using the tool (Yammer).
  • We are a tech company, so it’s not a problem, but using social tools is easier than pretty much all other aspects of workplace tech.

How do you govern the content? Do you need to? What issues does “Social” bring to governance?


Some thought there was no need for governance

  • We don’t use it – too many issues.
  • We know and trust those who are managing our organisation’s Social. If they get it wrong then we all hear about it!
  • Not much governance or monitoring.
  • We don’t govern it. Our social content is self- and community-regulated; this works well for us.
  • We don’t, there’s potential for time wasting.
  • No governance, just a “use your best judgement” approach.
  • Areas are restricted by team, but generally open to encourage all users to input.
  • No formal governance
  • We don’t. Our business processes feed into Newsfeeds, ensuring context is more business

Through People

  • One person is usually allocated the responsibility (but generally so that there is someone to blame!)
  • Monitoring by all staff and peer escalation.
  • We use peer/admin review.
  • Have an overseer manage the content and use.
  • Single administrator.
  • Intranet is largely moderated, Yammer is free form.
  • Self-govern at this stage. They are grownups.
  • Primarily self-governing.
  • Our communications team only do this stuff.
  • Management “discourages” its use, so it becomes self-governing, as little information ends up there.
  • We use Champions for sites.
  • Regular training of where content and discussions belong (SharePoint is our system of record for content, Yammer for social, Jira for engineering, Chatter for sales activities).

Approval or Process Mechanisms and/or Policy

  • Mechanisms of approval for specific contents are in place.
  • We have a social policy. Some follow, some don’t. Some of it is self-policing.
  • We govern by including approval workflows into each content submission into the Portal. Yes, we need to ensure that information put in is not sensitive and/or explicit. The increase in posts would thereby incur a full-time staff to perform moderation of content.
  • No governance, other than our “Social Policy”.
  • We have a one-page Policy which outlines some common sense things to keep in mind when posting.
  • Our Social Media Policy is very general and all-encompassing but generally it’s self-regulating.
  • Governance is included in Communications Policy. Statements basically reflect common sense. Must state: “Views of individual rather than company”, etc.
  • Formal change control, except for a specific “Staff Noticeboard” that most ignore.
  • We use government sources for the administration of the Electronic Information Management (EIM). We are developing best practices that govern the distribution of information due to its more sensitive nature. Private or secret information should not be flung around indiscriminately.

Consequences / Moderation

  • Treat business social tools just like you treat other professional communication. If you post something offensive on an internal website or web service, it has the same consequences as a group email or physical bulletin board.
  • We let common sense rule, we also point out that the CEO is an avid reader and contributor, so if you wouldn’t say it to his face then don’t say it on the intranet.
  • We “watch” the feed and on the few occasions inappropriate posts come up we intervene by discussing with the person who has posted. We have some very brief instructions and our social media guideline (which is backed up by code of conduct etc..) which governs acceptable behaviour and is our fall-back for worst case scenarios.
  • We moderate forum posts and topics. Aggregate business-related topics and news to the front pages.
  • As a social media manager I govern the content, but there hasn’t been a time where I had to fix something.
  • We use Moderators.
  • Moderator for discussion platform to forward topics to broader audience.
  • We are fully moderated by HR Resources.
  • Watch out for abuse.

We need to do something but haven’t yet

  • We need to improve governance.
  • Inability to provide good records management in SharePoint is a big road block.
  • Very little governance in place yet. Yes, it needs governance but senior management just don’t understand the need – nothing is “on fire” that needs putting out. Management sees governance as mostly being around security and other risks, not how social can add value.
  • Still a work in progress as we are running a live pilot with limited areas.
  • We need to be able to flag social content and corporate content, and give higher priority to corporate content in search.
  • There are very valid requirements for needing some governance in this area. At present we have none and it is very awkward when something comes up – attempting to deal with it when there is no baseline.
  • We have rough guidelines, no tight governance

Other issues

  • (Social brings) Acceptance, more insights of everyday work throughout the organisation.
  • The biggest issue for team sites is lack of use after some time – usually because the site and content isn’t communicated effectively to the relevant audience.
  • Yes, should not complicate with contents that are meant for team sites.

What are the biggest changes that impact how your users work, when using social tools?

Managing the Change

  • It’s a totally different approach from the traditional mindset / thinking.
  • Getting them to change habits.
  • Change management. Social plays a significant part in an organisation’s public information in today’s market.
  • For most users, it’s that each version moves everything around on them. Same goal, different process to get to it. Very frustrating for those who have trouble adapting.

Business / Strategic Alignment / Agility

  • Increased employee productivity, revenue increase, improved employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.
  • It aligns with how people interact outside of business. Speeds things up. Last minute channel to a massive market.
  • They will find an answer to their questions sooner.
  • Knowledge sharing.
  • They are now much more educated around topics relevant to our industry and about technology.

No Impact

  • There has been none. We have announcements but only those that are dictated from senior management. Generally our tools are used in a similar fashion to files and folders.
  • There are none. We don’t use any [anti-]social software systems
  • Most Social Tools aren’t allowed in the organisation, so having an internal one would be useful but everyone is just too concerned about their (—–) and not so much about ‘social-ising’ with their peers.
  • We need to start using them but we only just got them!
  • None, so far / Nothing as of yet.
  • Negligible.


  • Understanding of purpose
  • Those who are not part of it
  • The culture of the company. If they’re too afraid to engage because of what their manager will think, no amount of great software will encourage participation.
  • Less likely to engage in face-to-face conversations.
  • (Impact on ) time & focus on your daily tasks
  • Seeing the benefits which often feel intangible. Having the support of managers that it is a worthwhile exercise.


  • Teams are better informed and co-ordinated.
  • More immediate results.
  • Forgetting the structured collaboration activities — putting content in SharePoint, using workflows, etc. If anything, it’s a security issue for some content.
  • Decrease in “silo” approaches
  • Faster communications and dynamic decision making.
  • Quick access to information being sought is evident. There is an opportunity for everyone to have a ‘voice’ in the organisation, and an opportunity to self-promote skills and/or events that individuals want to bring to organisation’s attention.
  • Working openly and sharing
  • More interaction and working across “silos” without need for this to be managed.
  • Able to get information faster.
  • Switching to using online tools to collaborate rather than walking/phone/email.


  • Level of integration with LOB tools.
  • Reduced use of email.
  • Tools configured incorrectly.

Other Impacts

  • Too many SharePoint sites, resulting in fraqgmented information landscape. Lots of abandoned sites, and long-departed owners. The platform is old (SP2007) so looks very dated and unappealing.
  • Slows down production.

How do you quantify the benefits of using Social Tools in your organisation?


  • At the outcome of the collaboration process.
  • Most of it is qualitative improvements – better, faster input from team. For remote workers, it’s like night and day: dramatically improved transparency.
  • We look at employee engagement; we look at overall team performance.
  • We are a small team and benefits are apparent from both usage and increase in employee engagement across the board.
  • We track great conversations and share them with leaders when we have the opportunity. We also track minimal stats on usership.
  • I believe it helps to innovate, collaborate, share information better within the organisation.
  • It creates a more social environment and contribution-led employee engagement; no hard $$ figures but rather a soft “feel” ROI. Also the fact that it retains knowledge in our system rather than lost in email, the real ROI will be seen in 6-12 months down the track.
  • Progress in all departments.
  • Promotes virtual teaming; our organisation is global with over 6000 users.
  • Currently we don’t quantify this. The capabilities come at no cost to us, so we’re allowing our community to explore and discover their own benefits.


  • Personal analytics measure the impact of every document and blog post which is shared. Measures include global reach, impact score and sentiment.
  • Engagement scores and survey feedback.
  • Analytical.
  • Savings in man hours at this stage, we want to get it to the stage where decision-making time in projects is reduced.
  • Mostly by time saved in providing a response and the opportunity for global input into problem solving (faster and greater involvement).
  • When routing documents for signature, a SharePoint workflow is much more efficient. Reduces time, paper waste, and human error. Minutes, dollars, and the number of documents that go missing.
  • We measure efficiency and employee satisfaction.
  • Valued by use case enablement.

We don’t or don’t know how to

  • We cannot, because it is too restrictive.
  • Difficult. Let me know how you measure it.
  • We don’t, we just know it is the best option.
  • Looking for ideas here.
  • Don’t try – rather can’t imagine working without them now.
  • Not currently measured.
  • Negligible.
  • No need to, CEO is on board.
  • We can’t at the moment.
  • At the moment we don’t. At some point we will have took at measuring efficiency, productivity, quality…

Please share any great examples of how you use Social within your company.


  • “Executive blog” has really encouraged staff to interact with our executives and allows them to participate in the direction of the organisation.
  • I am a member of a dozen different Yammer networks, but use 4 or 5 of them a dozen or times (each) a day. It has become a major factor in how I interact with different communities, including internal teams, like my product team, or my company’s international offices.
  • Idea sharing, cross-group dialogue, employee ramp-up.
  • We use it to share social events as well as business wins and exciting opportunities.
  • Promote our client and company wins.
  • We have an “Ask an Expert” discussion forum on our SharePoint Knowledge Centre site. It is a busy little forum, and has now captured many good questions and responses. It has also successfully engaged various “local experts” dotted throughout our organisation to step up and help their peers.
  • Really we’re just getting started with Yammer & Office 365, but uptake has been good. We advertise the availability of social technologies from time to time, but have taken a “no push, just get out of the way” approach with our community and it’s paying off.
  • We set up a staff noticeboard that’s been hugely popular, but this is a start. There is SO much more we need to be doing.
  • It took less than 20 minutes to help one employee with a problem that was posted in our discussion platform. In that time four people responded with some suggestions. The employee then posted a code that he was having problems with, and within an hour his code was working fine. In one day 115 people viewed this post, some of whom may have had a similar problem and benefited from the answer.
  • One post received replies from 14 different people in six different offices globally within a day. One week later and there are 23 people who have contributed to the conversation from 18 offices, and nearly 700 employees have viewed the post in a week. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to organise an impromptu discussion face-to-face or over the phone with this sort of quick participation!
  • We build products that pull information from each section’s individual data entry trackers which help create a single point of information for leadership. Powerful, efficient, and very cost-effective.
  • We do scrum standups with Google hangout if anybody is not at the office – very efficient.
  • We used a blog to support hundreds of employees into a new building.
  • “Efficiency@work” blog with daily SharePoint hints.
  • iPad blog with daily usage hints.
  • Expert blogs.
  • Weekly featured news about a key person.
  • Restaurant list with ratings.
  • New employees list.
  • Connecting with colleagues from the same country.
  • We have a peer-to-peer recognition system developed in SharePoint that has shown an increase in the number of accolades about peers.
  • It’s so much easier to find information from Yammer than from delivery groups and emails shared there before I even joined the company!
  • The best use of Social is by our Customer Information Centre who often post in Yammer when they have a call or contact with a difficult question and in most cases they get help from the organisation within hours or same day. They love it and it’s great to see.
  • We encourage people to use this forum to share successes, reaching sales targets, discussing successful products impacting the market, new partnerships.