Case Study: Global Enterprise Goes Social With Microsoft Yammer

Authors: Jim Lundy, Lou Latham
Date: September 10, 2013
Topic: Social Software
Research Note Number: 2013-30

Issue: Who are the social software providers and how will they navigate a crowded market?
Issue: What are the best practices for leveraging social software to gain a competitive advantage?

Summary: A highly dispersed enterprise’s knowledge workers lacked cohesive collaboration and felt out of touch. After a short pilot, they deployed a cloud-based enterprise social network (ESN), which helped to transform how they work.

Case Study: Social Network Solution

  • Scope: Global enterprise; 10,000+ users
  • Duration: 18 months and ongoing
  • Pilot: Yammer Freemium
  • Final Production: Yammer Enterprise

Business users have grown accustomed to technology in the workplace. As an example, consider the explosion of interest in web conferencing over the last ten years. While business-unit managers can purchase cloud-based services on their local budgets, when adoption goes beyond a small group and reaches an enterprise level, IT often has to jump in. This case study is about a group of enterprise leaders who teamed up with their IT unit to deploy a cloud-based enterprise social network (ESN) to solve a fundamental issue: how to help widely dispersed employees work together more productively.


The focus of this case study is an international publishing and marketing conglomerate with country offices around the globe. Its widely dispersed and multilingual workforce consists mostly of people who create and manage intellectual property. Because each country office is semi-autonomous but may need to coordinate campaigns or events with one or more other countries, they faced a critical need for multimodal, broad-spectrum collaboration.

Headquarters executives decided to try some of the emerging social media tools to create not only a comprehensive collaboration environment but also a community that would bond users to each other, to the company and to their shared missions. Of key importance was the staff in each country office.  Although they had regular meetings with the company’s executive team, they felt persistently isolated from each other. There was very little sustained collaboration, and it was generally reactive. In an effort to knit the country offices together, planners focused on providing high-level collaboration and team building for global business development and other operational initiatives that required company-wide interactions.

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