Switching to Yammer let this company slash helpdesk calls and save $1.5 million a year
In 2011, Nationwide Insurance wanted to build and popularize an enterprise collaboration platform for the use of tens of thousands of its employees. But despite using an in-house collection of well-known collaboration tools at the time, including IBM Connections, Xerox DocuShare, and Atlassian Confluence, none of them was particularly catching on with Nationwide's diverse workforce.
"The tools that we had were disjointed, the user experiences were bad, and people just didn't use them consistently across the board," Chris Plescia, Nationwide's enterprise collaboration leader, told CITEworld. "Ultimately, what we were trying to build was a system that built associate productivity, engagement with other associates, and corporate pride."
The goal, said Plescia, was to create a collaborative environment for the company's workers that allowed them to easily communicate and effortlessly help them find key information that would assist them in doing their jobs. What Nationwide's IT team already knew at the time was that employees found that the existing in-house applications were too hard to use and that a new direction was needed to ultimately help any kind of enterprise the project succeed.
"That's what we were trying to solve," said Plescia. "We wanted an enterprise social network for employees that included elements of Facebook and LinkedIn," as well as the ability to share conversations about a wide variety of work-related topics.
The answer came in early 2012 when Nationwide decided to bring in Microsoft SharePoint as a document repository and tie it in with Yammer, a real-time, private enterprise social networking tool that the company had also been using since 2008. "We built a user experience on top of the SharePoint platform that integrates Yammer and SharePoint."
The combined system, Spot, "pulled it all together for people," said Plescia. Employees use it more and more since it was created and first launched in December 2012. Quickly it became a place where Nationwide employees would place their data and share it easily with others. "People here say they'll 'Spot it,'" which means that they'll put their information on Spot, he said. "People can look for things there. They go there as a destination."
The impact of the application has been impressive. In the first month after the roll-out, calls to the internal help desk dropped from thousands of calls per month to less than 50 calls, according to the company. What Spot has successfully delivered is a way for employees to help each other and learn more about the company and their work in the process, said Plescia.
Spot can be accessed by employees through desktop computers or through mobile tablets and smartphones. Yammer was incorporated because Nationwide already was using it and SharePoint was brought in because it was an industry-leading product with a good track record that would easily integrate with the Microsoft Office applications that were already central to Nationwide's business processes, according to Plescia. "As an insurance company, we live by Microsoft Office documents."
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