Another key to success was not exercising too much control. "The power of Yammer is in its ability to enable employees to very quickly self-organize across geographic or organizational boundaries, and around any project or initiative. To realize this benefit, governance is kept to a bare minimum," he explained.
While there are non-work groups as part of the mix, Slemp said that the vast majority of the work on Yammer is business-related and for the most part people have been civil on the network. "As long as the conversation doesn’t get into personal attacks or offensive material, pretty much anything goes. We handle offensive social posts exactly the same way we would an offensive email. It hasn’t been an issue," he said.
Microsoft hasn't done too much work to quantify the benefits of using Yammer yet -- for now they are simply satisfied to let the system grow organically and develop metrics over time. "We’re just scratching the surface on this, and it’s a big focus for next year. For now, we’re tracking adoption and identifying key influencers. We’re also using that network of influencers to identify compelling use cases that we use in telling the value story to the rest of the company. The use cases are maturing and interest is growing in using social analytics to drive and measure business impact," he said.
The biggest surprise so far has been the amount of traction. "As much as we’d all like the adoption to be much broader and deeper, I’m actually pleasantly surprised with the amount of traction we already have, and with the eagerness that many are signing up to be Yammer 'Champions' to help drive change management locally," he said.
Ultimately, he says, "there’s a healthy amount of chatter on the network to help it feel more like a community, but not so much that it feels like a distraction or a toy." And if it can reduce the dependence on email, all the better.