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Interview with Tommy Ryan About Social Productivity

Danny:                  Hello this is Danny Ryan. Welcome to the ThreeWill podcast. Today I have Tommy Ryan here with me this morning. Hello Tommy.

Tommy:               Hey Danny.

Danny:                  I’m excited to have him here. We’re going to talk a little bit about something that we’ve covered on … We have something within ThreeWill called the Morning Brew. Every week we get together and Tommy sort of this stuff where we talk about some of the new features with an Microsoft 365. It’s a really neat place for people to ask questions to sort of share something maybe that you picked up that week. We’re going to talk this morning about a topic that we’ve been talking about recently which has to do with social, it has to do with Yammer. Tell me … Let’s just get this kicked off. Tell me a little bit more about what we want to talk about this morning.

Tommy:               Well the topic that seems to be a revolving topic is the idea of social and all of it things that you have at your fingertips for social. When you start looking at that there’s that challenge of which one do I pick for what reasons. We’ve kind of noodled on that. Talked about pros and cons and what things come into that decision of choosing the right soulful pieces of the platform.

Danny:                  Awesome so it’s everybody’s use to sort of the default fallback. It’s not really social but the default fall-backs were email for brick communicating to people so that seems to be … I don’t know what to day by I always sort of that’s my … Resort back to email. We have Yammer which we use pretty extensively inside of ThreeWill. That seems to be the water cooler place for all of us to go and share and maybe something you’ve picked up recently and that seems to be the place where we get to probably the most social activity inside of ThreeWill.

Tommy:               Yes, Social in the past maybe five years back became a very hot buzz word. There were a social products that were a point solution just for social. Yammer being one of those that has kind of a micro blogging type of feel to it. It’s something that surfaces a personal aspect, people’s faces and things like liking.

The things that you experience and the social products that are out in the consumer world like Facebook. Yammer tends to be one of those that comes to mind a lot from organizations to say, “It’s easy I kind of get it”. Not a lot of training to use it. You can get up and running right away and Yammer’s done a lot towards making this little friction as possible to get people going and using the product.

Danny:                  Yep, yep. I think for folks who might not be aware of this, Yammer was a company that Microsoft acquired a couple years back. It was one of the original products that I know we were using as we were getting in to social. We also did some stuff with Jive Software which has a very social product as well and had got some experiences with working with that. Then we were sort of back to what Microsoft has to offer.

I think I remember seeing the other day, Gartner put out one of their magic quadrants and it was a surprise. Microsoft was in the upper right hand corner as far as social which was interesting to see. Talk me through a little bit about the process of … You have something you want to share with the group and sort of the decision making process that goes around taking something of where do I put it.

We were talking about this. The other morning which was the concept of channels and the concept of deciding what channel to pick based upon what groups I wanted to hit or what was the appropriate channel. Just talk me through sort of at a high level what sort of decision making this through your head as you’re deciding how to share.

Tommy:               It was interesting to use that term Social. It’s almost a re-branding of collaboration and started to define some of the things that you do from a collaboration standpoint. Yammer is one of those that became one of the standards for that new generation of what’s called Social. I think there are no many tools that are Social in nature from Skype for business to email to other features that you’re seeing getting a lot of attention like office 365 groups.

When you think about being Social you’re really trying to work with the collective knowledge of the organization. Depending on the scope of how many people you want to reach out to and join that conversation will determine I think the tool. If you look at something like Yammer, Yammer has the capability of external networks. If that social conversation needs to span beyond your organization, that’s a tool that’s going to allow you to go and bring other people into that conversation.

If you’re looking at Microsoft 365 groups that’s going to be something probably more towards the internal Social or collaboration. It lights up all the features in Microsoft 365 with the container of a group almost like the security groups or distribution groups you have an active directory and exchange. Microsoft 365 groups are a way to put context around a calendar, conversations, files and consume the services of Microsoft 365 as a group. I don’t have to necessarily respond to every conversation that happens in my group but it’s out there for me and it gets a little bit of my awareness.

I think that challenges is how hard you want to amplify or or or put that message out because it can be distracting. You want to pick the right tool and the right, “Container of people” to make sure you’re getting the most effective collaboration within your organization. I think the lowest level you can get down to email. Email one on one or if it needs to be more urgent a Skype one on one that can eventually grow into something larger. You can add more people in the conversation but typically Yammer is not a one on one even though there is messaging there I think people tend to use something like Skype or their corporate IM versus using the Yammer direct message.

Danny:                  I think through the years one of the things but that’s been interesting for us is to see how transit the Social information is and how quickly it loses it’s value almost. I know we’ve toughed a lot of customers out with migrations. We worked with Jive for a while and have actually had a lot of customers want to move from Jive over now that Microsoft has really put out some good social features wanting to move over to Microsoft. One of the things that I think is interesting is to see when people end taking a look at what the content that is on Social. It’s almost like they just wanted archives … It meant something at one time but then over time it really loses it’s value and you just have these ad hoc conversations that are needed at the time but then you really don’t need them later on.

Tommy:               Yeah you hear it as term water cooler conversation with organizations being geographically dispersed. I heard you talking to Lane the other day and he’s out in North Carolina and he thought he was in Columbus but he was in North Carolina.

Danny:                  You heard that. I didn’t say, “Okay Lane let’s stop this podcast-

Tommy:               I’m someone who listens to your podcast daily. I’m a big fan-

Danny:                  Thank you.

Tommy:               Actually I appreciate you doing this. It’s neat to hear the stories of people with ThreeWill. It adds a nice little touch.

Danny:                  Thank you. I can keep my job now.

Tommy:               The lifetime of information in your traditional Social channel software like a Yammer. Really it’s value, it almost diminishes in a matter of hours. When I go into Yammer, I’m usually in there enough that what hasn’t been read in previous conversations is within a couple hours. I’ll check it maybe two three times a day because I like it. I think it adds to the culture your organization. Those conversations, they are very timely. You want to have in a basic reach into the knowledge your organization no matter where people are, you don’t have to be physically next to the person. You put into Yammer and all of a sudden I’ve got a problem other people can help me if they have that skill and knowledge.

Traditionally you hear people say I’m going to manage my skills, I’m going to tag all these people in their profile for their skills. Then I’m going to have this nice little tool that can go look up people and find people based on skills. I think that’s good and I think you know there’s a place for that and organizations put time into that. We help organizations do that but some amazing bang for the buck is if you put it out on something like Yammer you’re going to get help from people. The people that have that skill that really are good at it will want to jump into that conversation and help.

That’s a nice thing about that. That information is not knowledge is much is connectivity and awareness to your organization. When you go to migrate you go say okay I’ve got all this stuff in chatter or Jive or Yammer. I want to move it from this network and from this tool over this tool. A lot of times we tell organizations why? Do you really want to do that? Is that really knowledge or is that just conversations that has a value at the time? You’re never going to be able to make it discoverable at a later date without too much effort and really, does it have value now?

Danny:                  I think one of the things that you just brought up is a sort of a differentiator for us and can be for other professional services organizations which is why would you want to work with a company versus an independent consultant? Our rates are higher than the independent consultant and should be because of things like when someone’s out on a project, they have the whole team to help them out with particular things that they might be running into. It’s more of you’re not just hiring one person from ThreeWill you’re hiring the team from ThreeWill.

Social gives us that because we can … That person’s running into an issue, one of the things that we do really well here is is that if they do post it up on to Yammer and people jump and it’s almost like they gang up on the problem together. All of sudden that person becomes magnified and we’re able to do things that we’re not able to do as individuals.

Tommy:               Right. That’s a really good point. I think … We’ve got Grant at a large client of ours. We’re always concerned about doing anything that looks like staff aug. We’ve got this service called Sustainment which is a pull of people that will take things off of the que and help work things. That is a third level tier support for us. We can have some teaming because it’s a team of people doing that. Then when someone goes out there as kind of a lone ranger to be almost staff on a team and when they’re not surrounded by the ThreeWill team, we get really concerned with that. At the end the day do they do they feel like they’re part of ThreeWill or part of this other company?

Having something like Yammer where Grant … I see a lot of times reaching out into Yammer and he gets that help. It keeps that connection Grant and makes him feel like he’s part of the team as he’s in this stent. We’re working very hard to get Grant on extra teams next year, early next year get him on some really cool projects. Also on the reverse side of that like you said the client gets more value because it’s not just Grant, it’s Grant with ThreeWill behind him. That’s I think is a powerful thing of having a tool like Yammer. You have used email before-

Danny:                  I remember back at Extreme Logic they started those distribution lists. Mass distribution, people asked questions on that, you get people firing back. We was that-

Tommy:               my head and it was, oh gosh what was … It was Ted Pattison’s group, well it was a discussion board.

Danny:                  I remember it had a name to it, I forgot-

Tommy:               It had a name I can’t remember as well. Our podcast listeners are probably knowing what it is right now and they can let us know. I’ll talk to myself later today when I find out and I’ll let you know.

Danny:                  Leave a comment. I appreciate you taking the time to do this and just sort of share more about Social. I’m excited just to give folks a heads up to our the one or two listeners that we have or you, you’ll listen to this later on. I am trying to coerce or take Tommy’s arm, bend it behind his back and try to get us to do a podcast together next year. We want to focus in on Microsoft 365. This is one of the things right now I’m working on a couple of podcasts, the ThreeWill podcast being one. I will continue to do these. These are really fun. It’s just a nice way for people to share what’s going on in projects.

Next year I’m one we’re going to be doing a weekly podcast. We going to be focusing in on Microsoft 365 and having a nice little format as far as what we’re doing every single week. That’s going to be coming after the New Year. I want to wrap up some stuff on … I’m also doing a sales force app exchange podcast. I want to get some of that wrapped up. Basically cover all of the different categories. Get the videos and all that stuff buttoned up and then I want to go after this Microsoft 365 podcast and have conversations just like we’re having this morning.

Just sit around and get people … This is going to be your way of listening for ten to fifteen minutes each week to find out what’s going on in the world in Microsoft 365. That will be coming after the New Year. I’ll  definitely be promoting that if you want to sign up for our newsletter, it’s ThreeWill.com/newsletter and you’ll be in the know. As far as what’s going on with Microsoft 365 so look forward to that next year.

Tommy:               You won’t twist my arm too hard Danny.

Danny:                  Oh good.

Tommy:               I’m looking forward to it. I think will be awesome. I think that will be a good idea.

Danny:                  I think it should be a lot of fun. There’s a lot of different things we could focus in on. I think Microsoft 365 has really become important to a lot of folks. We want to keep people in the know. It will be fun to do that next year so let’s give it a run for a year.

Tommy:               Sounds good.

Danny:                  Awesome.

Tommy:               Let’s do it.

Danny:                  Let’s do it. Thank you so much for everything, thanks for joining me this morning.

Tommy:               Sure. Thanks for having me.

Danny:                  Absolutely. Thanks for listening. Everyone have a great day.

Danny RyanInterview with Tommy Ryan About Social Productivity

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