It has taken me FAR too long to get around to blogging about the SMiLE London event two weeks ago in London. You know how it is, a day out of the office, then back to work and baammmmm - no time.

I've finally come up for air now, and so I'm putting finger to keyboard to share some thoughts from the day. Emily and I really enjoyed November's SMiLE London event on the 9th. It's great to have a day out of the office to just, well, think differently - learning, sharing ideas and networking.

Of the many brilliant guests, one that I really enjoyed listening to was Veronique Vallieres, Internal Communications and Community Manager at ABB, talking around using Yammer to collaborate across their regions and functions. Veronique started by telling us that in April 2013, it was decided that ABB, a leader in power and automation technologies, had too many people in too many different online collaboration networks. So, it was time to switch to the enterprise version of the software they were using, merging all networks into one. What a challenge!

Strong communication

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If two is company and three is a crowd, 50,000 is one pretty large community. As of today, ABB employees now have 50,000 reasons to be on Yammer – and counting, fast.

As part of a strong campaign, Veronique came up with '50,000 reasons to join Yammer' in an attempt to entice people to join the 50,000 people that were already on the network at the end of 2013. 

Another part of the communication was the myth-buster - a sheet that separated myths and facts for people to read. Veronique explained that this was a brilliant idea for middle managers, who are frequently seen as blockers - it was full of data that backed why ESN helps boost productivity, for example.

Another great example that we heard related to the resolution of customer problems. ABB saw a big change in solving external problems effectively in teams. For example, someone asked a question about a broken product on Yammer and four people answered within 90 minutes - ten years ago this would have taken weeks. This sort of beneficial change is pretty incredible...

Where does business value come from? Veronique said:

Collaboration: managing projects - increased productivity
Engagement: crowd-sourcing - stronger company culture
Innovation: sharing best practices - business agility

Her advice?
- Get a broad acceptance from executives, it's good to build a strong foundation in case the one person you've got support from leaves!
- This sort of change is about changing culture - changing mindsets, it's big
- A bottom up approach is very important
- Have patience
- Be willing to fight resistence

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