In his keynote titled Work Like a Network: The Future of Collaboration and Work, Microsoft Senior Director of Enterprise Social Bryan Goode showed us how enterprise social can be integrated into our organization and change the way we get work done. He began by sharing one of the worst-kept secrets in today’s workplace – the world has become a giant network and changed how we share information. As a result of this shift in the paradigm, our consumers are now expecting more of us. As these expectations change, it is up to us as organizations to bring new tools to the table and play catch-up.
According to Bryan, one of the key things we can do to meet and exceed expectations is to learn how to Work Like a Network. Specifically, the foundation of working like a network revolves around three key pillars: Listen, Adapt, and Grow. When we apply these by doing things like listening to conversations that matter and adapting to make smart decisions, we can achieve quantifiable benefits. So now that we have an idea of some of the benefits of working like a network, what are the keyframes that are necessary to achieving this?
In his presentation, Bryan identified three main components:
- People – Create a first-class experience for your users
- Groups – Train the group in order to get work done
- Network – Increase information discovery by increasing your networking and leveraging second and third-level connections
Knowing what the key framework to working like a network looks like, what are some of the tools that Microsoft is introducing to help accelerate the adoption of the work like a network philosophy? One of the first things Bryan introduced was the concept of Document Conversations. Document conversations enable individuals to make informed decisions and quickly respond to changes by allowing users to start conversations about a document FROM the actual document itself, rather than by having to switch applications (e.g. Yammer).
Additionally, Bryan discussed the use of Groups in Microsoft Office. Groups enable teams to self-organize, focus, and collaborate more effectively. By utilizing tools such as group calendars and group document repositories, we can link our conversations outside of Yammer and across different applications.
Perhaps the most powerful tool that Microsoft is introducing to help us work like a network is the Office Graph. As described by Microsoft, the Office Graph is “the power of social, cloud, big data, and machine learning coming together. Office Graph powers many new personalized and contextual experiences for people using Office 365.” Essentially, what the Office Graph does is weave social through different apps in a way that maps people in a company, as well as content and documents. Sitting on top of the Office Graph is an app that has been code-named Oslo. With Oslo, users can take advantage of social capabilities to browse their graphs. Specifically, Oslo surfaces what is important to users based on what they’re doing in their other applications such as Outlook, SharePoint, Office, and Yammer.
To end his conversation, Bryan gave us a sneak peek at Microsoft’s Enterprise Social Product Roadmap. Included in this roadmap were the three key components previously discussed: People, Groups, and Networks. Additionally, the roadmap not only detailed what Microsoft is doing today, such as improving Yammer and integration; but also showed us what Microsoft’s vision of tomorrow is. This includes a more connected experience across Office 365, Microsoft products, and beyond.