Sungard harnesses Yammer to leverage employee creativity

The 4th and final Blogwell presentation which I attended on November 9 in Philadelphia was dedicated to Sungard’s experience. Sungard (the host of the November 10 private SMBC conference; this is a private member event so no reporting on that, sorry!) is one of the largest Software and IT companies in the US. The presentation was delivered by Leah Patterson, who is in charge of the Corporate Social Media strategy at Sungard.

I found Leah’s presentation particularly inspiring. Her involvement and dedication were very convincing and I liked the way she emphasised the fact that a lot of work is required to make things work. Sungard’s strategy to get employees on Yammer also shows a lot of openness and insight. Internal IT looked into the matter and everyone agreed that “in-house wasn’t going to work” Leah said and this is why they chose Yammer. The sheer number of employees on Yammer is impressive and shows how effective the facilitation of that internal community is. At the same time, Sungard’s involvement into external communities is done with tact and shows a lot of respect for customers, which is in my mind a recipe for success.

We’re on Twitter, now what?

Sungard thought about jumping right on and they figured 3 main things: 1. people were talking but Sungard wasn’t part of the conversations 2. competitors were (just) ahead of Sungard 3. users were in there too! So Sungard jumped in the water and created accounts on all platforms. But how could Social Media be used as a way to harness the power of conversations?

Social Media gives Sungard the ability to build on the existing community work already started at Sungard years before that. They saw that big brand advertising was far less meaningful than peer to peer communications and this is why Social Media is useful to them.

We don’t use this to sell our products

“We don’t want to be part of these conversations to sell our products”, Leah added, “we want to be part of them because we want to understand how to make our products better”. As a conclusion, Social Media work isn’t just a “marketing thing” Leah said.

All Sungard employees will soon use Yammer

With Yammer, Sungard managed to harness the power of social media in order to trigger passionate discussions and Leah is now working with the security and IT department in order to get the entire 20,000 employee community on Yammer. As of now, Sungard has 10,000 members on its Yammer community (see photo) and 500 groups, and they are even using Yammer to do crowdsourcing. Apart from Yammer, Leah stresses Sungard is also using LinkedIn.

What metrics? Yammer has in-buillt stats. Apart from that, Radian 6 i sbeing used for external community discussions and the team is still working on how they are measuring the results and effectiveness of its initiatives.

Lessons learnt

  • lesson 1 is that you need to know why you want to be on these communities above all
  • Internal benefits:
  • breaking silos: because Sungard is acquiring companies from all over the world, Social Media is useful
  • Social Media gives people a voice
  • External benefits:
  • What do you want to learn from other participants
  • What will participants gain from being involved
  • What ideas/strategies can we crowdsource within our community?
  • lesson 2 is that you should create formal guidelines to provide structure: moderator guidelines, community terms of use, user expectations and Social Media guidelines
  • lesson 3 is to get involved and understand that this kind of work requires a lot of work and that it requires resources
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Yann Gourvennec

CEO & Founder at Visionary Marketing
Yann has a long-standing experience in marketing, information systems and Web marketing. He created visionarymarketing.com in 1996 and since then, he has practiced Web strategy, e-business and Web communications in the field. He was a member of socialmedia.org from 2008 till 2013. He is a lecturer, a keynote speaker, an author and blogger. In early 2014, he went from intrapreneur to entrepreneur when he founded his digital marketing agency Visionary Marketing.
Yann Gourvennec
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