FIR766: Enterprise Social

As a regular listener to For Immediate Release – hosted by Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz, I was listening to Monday’s episode which included an interesting discussion on Enterprise Social.  As a guy who works on the Microsoft Office PR team – which of course includes Yammer – this is a subject close to my heart.  I started writing a comment on their Google Plus community, but it was very long, so rather than annoy other members of the community I thought I’d paste the comment here and just provide a link.


Interesting piece on Enterprise Social adoption (Disclaimer I work on the Microsoft Office PR team – which includes Yammer but I am also a long time FIR listener Smile). 

I’m not sure it’s a surprise that adoption rates of enterprise social are slower than ‘consumer social’ (or perhaps just social media?).  As you know the formal deployment of technology in a business is often slower for a multitude of reasons.

Enterprise social is often part of a broader company transformation – after all it enables people to work together in new ways. Telstra is an interesting example of that.

"It (Enterprise Social) has solicited a degree of honesty and openness. There’s occasionally a little bit of stuff that comes out, but I tell you I never jump in. It’s self-managing, because other people jump in.” David Thodey, CEO of Telstra. 

The majority of companies undertake initial pilots before taking the decision to deploy it more widely.  For example after an initial trial, UK retailer Tesco is now rolling out Enterprise Social to their 320,000 people.

Having said that, there is strong growth in the number of companies, teams and individuals using Enterprise Social. Although Yammer is only one of many enterprise social services, it is being used by over 500,000 organizations today. 

Shel’s point on the importance of app-based networks is a valid one, however I think you’ll find that most enterprise social providers already support apps so people can use them wherever they are – desktop, laptop, tablet and phone – and companies are putting serious effort into making it easier for employees to use it. Qantas is a good example:

As discussed on the show, greater integration of Enterprise Social with the tools people are using today will accelerate adoption and that’s why in Microsoft’s case (Ref: Disclaimer above) we’re integrating Yammer across Office 365, so you can use it with Outlook or collaborate on a document via Yammer etc.

Beyond the traditional benefits such as increased collaboration and productivity, the broad adoption of Enterprise Social enables a new set of intelligent tools and services that aid personal and group productivity.  Delve is a great example of this. It intelligently uses all the information and communications across your company to deliver the personalized information you need, where and when you need it.


The real value of Enterprise Social is that it is helping people, teams and organizations to change how they work.  It’s something we call ‘’the ‘Responsive Org.  Adam Pisoni, co-founder of Yammer puts it well in this interview:

“Companies as they exist today were designed for the industrial revolution when most of the work was routine and repetitive …

“The world has become a giant network but companies have remained rigid hierarchies.”

“It’s not about the technology any more. There’s value in working differently. Tools like Yammer don’t work unless you change the way you work.”

Red Robin is just one company that has transformed its business using Enterprise Social:

Yummer is particularly remarkable because it gave a voice to the "silent" front-line workers at Red Robin. Prior to Yammer, these employees would pass information up the company management chain, but they rarely received feedback about what was done with the information.

The good news for Enterprise Social is that more and more companies are using it to transform how they work and many are seeing real, tangible, business outcomes. 

Finally I can’t finish without referencing FIR podcast network member Rachel Miller’s fantastic Yammertime resource.

Quick overview: Setting up OneNote

Update: Stuart Bruce reminded me that OneNote is now available free of charge across all your devices.

Following the previous post about using OneNote to manage your digital life, I had a number of people ask how I actually structure OneNote, so here’s a quick overview that hopefully provides some food for thought.


One of the great things about OneNote is that it’s completely adaptable to how you want to work. There isn’t one single structure or approach, rather you can fine tune it so that it best suits how you work or what you want to do. This flexibility came home to me recently when I was reviewing my OneNote archives going back to 2007 and it’s been interesting to see how the structure of my notebooks have changed over that period.

So for what it’s worth here’s how I use OneNote.

Start before you open OneNote

One of the great things about OneNote is that you can just dive in and start adding notes and thoughts, archiving emails, clipping web pages etc. However, I always advise people to invest some time thinking through how they want to use it, what are your work and personal priorities and responsibilities, what information will you put in OneNote etc.

One useful way to do this is what David Allen calls a mind sweep. This is a process of sitting down and pulling together everything you have going on in your work and personal life so that you have a good left to right view of your world from an urgent project to cleaning the yard.

The next step is outlining the priorities you have and using those priorities to drive the structure of your OneNote.

At this point you should also think about where you want to keep your OneNote notebooks stored. You can save them locally to your hard drive or you can use built in support for OneDrive and for work related content you can also use OneDrive for business.  For me using OneDrive is essential, it keeps all my notebooks synchronized across all my devices. So no matter where I am, I have the latest content.

Structuring OneNote

My OneNote notebooks have evolved over time, however the main structure has been consistent and works for me.

There are three active notebooks I use:

  • Personal (Web) – this is the default notebook that’s opened when you install OneNote – I’ll explain why it’s easiest to use this notebook later
  • 2014 Work notebook – my work notebook for the current financial year
  • Reference notebook – a general notebook

Personal (Web) Notebook

This is the notebook where I spend most of my working day. I’ve structured it based on my personal and professional priorities. It includes the following sections:

  • Quick Notes
  • Journal
  • Agendas
  • Projects Work
  • Personal Projects
  • Someday Work
  • Someday Personal

Quick Notes – this is the standard OneNote tab in the standard OneNote notebook when you install the app. I use it because it’s where OneNote stores any quick notes you create, and if you’re using the new OneNote services like web clippings or posting to OneNote via email (using this is where those notes go.

Quick Notes is my OneNote Inbox. It’s the default place I send information from emails, to meeting notes, ideas, articles, documents etc.


I also have a shortcut to Quick Notes on the home screen of my Windows Phone so if I think of something I can quickly write or record the thought directly into OneNote.

(Note for Windows Phone 8.1 users: The other benefit of using this notebook, is that if you use Cortana this is the folder where any notes you dictate to her are sent).

The key here is that you capture everything in the Quick Notes section, then you process every item in there and file it as required. For example, review meeting notes for any actions or reminders. After reviewing them then I move them out of Quick Notes and into the relevant notebook or section. The aim is to empty out the Quick Notes section regularly. 

There are a number of other tabs in this folder:

Journal – I have over the past few years kept a journal. Though calling it a journal may be overstating it a little. I don’t necessarily write it up every day, but I do jot things down and capture any thoughts, ideas, or lessons I’ve learned. I’ve found it incredibly valuable in terms of keeping a record of what’s been going on. Because OneNote can handle any information I can pop photos, text, documents, links, screen captures etc in there, and it’s accessible from my PC, any web browser, tablet, phone etc.

Agendas – In here I have a page for everybody that I’m working with. I create the Agenda page for each person by sending their Outlook contact card to OneNote. Then on each contact’s page I jot down things I need to talk to them about next time I see them, I also link to the notes from previous 1:1 meetings so I can review those notes ahead of our next meeting if required.

Projects – I have a page for each active project I’m working on. How you set this up is down to personal preference. I have a page for each project that is set it up similarly to this mock-up:


The fantastic thing about OneNote is you can then attach files, handwritten notes, links to resources on the web – and even better, links to other OneNote pages. This means that this one project page can aggregate all the information and references for a project. It’s an incredible time saver.

Personal Projects – Same as above but for Personal interests.

Someday – In this tab I have a general page that has future work related thoughts, ideas etc. Then I have an individual page for larger items or projects which I will need to do in the future but aren’t actionable right now. I review this tab every week and then migrate projects or ideas into the project tab when they are ready to go.

Someday Personal – Same as above but this is for personal projects. I also use this for capturing notes and lists such as books I want to read, movies or TV programs I want to see etc.


Work Notebook

This is for all the reference information you need as part of work life. Each year I’ll have a specific Work notebook, and when the year ends I retire it to my archives and create a new one. This keeps all the reference material, notes, emails, files, etc. for that year together and in context. I’ve over 10 gigabytes of OneNote notebooks that contain a lot of information and resources going back over the years.

So how do you structure it? Well there are probably a number of core focus areas or responsibilities for your job. For example things like Administration, Management, Planning, then specific clients, services or products – this will obviously be specific to your work life. I have a tab for each of these areas in my work notebook.


Then when I have a relevant email, article, or meeting note I file it in the related area (and cross link them to my project pages) which creates an incredibly rich database of relevant work information.

Finally, I also have an archive tab. When a project is complete I put it in the archive folder which gives me a full inventory of projects completed through the year.

Note: Given it’s work-related information I host this notebook on OneDrive for Business – which comes with Office 365 and ensures sensitive company information is separate from your personal OneDrive.


Reference Notebook

Finally I have a reference notebook. Whereas the first two notebooks hold mostly date-specific information, this is a big old notebook that I use as a repository for evergreen information I may want to review or read again. How you structure this really depends on your interests, for me it has career related content, PR content, old manuals, interesting articles, quotes, resources, etc.


End of year

At the end of the calendar and work year, I archive the year specific content that I have in my Personal (Web) and Work notebooks into new notebooks for that particular year – one for personal and one for work. I keep any information that remains relevant for the new year.


Some additional OneNote Tips:

  • Hyperlinking: The best power tip is hyperlinking in OneNote. Not only can you link to web pages, but you can link to other notes. So for example in the Agendas section. I can link to previous meeting notes so I have a complete record of past conversations I can quickly review. From your project page you can add files and links to related notes.
  • Tags: OneNote has useful tagging capabilities which make it faster and easier to find information later. One absolutely killer feature is tag search. You can not only search all your notes and notebooks for tags but you can pull together tags onto a ‘summary page’ – this is a great feature.
  • Outlook Integration: When I build out my projects, I’ll have a list of next actions. Using ‘Ctrl-Shift-K’ I can create an Outlook task from that action and the two items are linked, this is a great focus tool. Also, when the Outlook task is completed the item is marked complete in your notebook automatically.
  • Using two OneNote windows: When you start using OneNote a lot, there may be times you want to have two OneNote windows open rather can clicking back and forth between pages (or using Alt-left or right arrow). Instead just hold down Control-M and a new OneNote window opens.
  • Office Lens: One of the best things about OneNote is that you can add practically any type of digital content from anywhere. This includes making non-digital information digital. Think about that printed brochure, that receipt, napkin, whiteboard or moleskin page. Office Lens is a fantastic little app that simplifies capturing that content with your phone and transfers it automatically into OneNote. It’s also smart, optimizing capture with different modes from Whiteboard to documents and photos. It’s currently available for Windows Phone.
  • Onetastic: Microsoft developer Omer Atay has created a set of great little tools and add-ins for OneNote including OneCalendar where you can view all your notes on a Calendar. It’s a free download and I recommend it.


The beauty of OneNote is it’s flexibility. You should play around and find a structure that works for you.

I’d love to hear how you’re using OneNote and if you’ve any tips or questions leave a comment or feel free to get in touch.

Additional notes:

  • OneNote is now available on Windows (both traditional desktop and as a modern app – which is really nice and worth a look if you haven’t already). Windows Phone, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android and on the web.
  • There’s also a host of new complimentary apps and services for OneNote from doxie to Feedly and IFTTT.

Related posts:

Here’s your good deed for today

Although I have always rarely talked about my employer on this blog, I’m always willing to make an exception for a good cause.

Today Microsoft (disclosure for anyone other than my mother who reads this blog: my employer) has expanded the company’s software donations program to give more nonprofits access to technology that can help them do more.

While Microsoft currently donates software to about 40,000 nonprofits a year – that’s only a start – the challenge is making millions of other nonprofits aware that the program exists.


Here’s your good deed for today.

Share this news with your favorite nonprofit and pass it along with a colleague or friend so they can tell their favorite nonprofit.

(You could even Tweet it: RT @msftcitizenship: Microsoft Broadens software donation program to reach more #nonprofits #mycause)

Now. Not only have you done your good deed for today, but as a bonus you can enjoy this video on why and how Microsoft donates software to nonprofits!

Don’t be afraid of talking about Corporate Social Responsibility

Partly in response to my post about the growing importance of appropriate communications on a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, the Textifying blog over at Arizona State University (sorry there’s no bio page and the post was written by ‘tburns’ – and I tried to leave a comment but couldn’t) published a post entitled: Socially Responsible Communication Methods.

Among other things, the author expresses their conflict at the idea of an organization communicating or promoting its CSR work:

In a way, the idea of “promoting” the good a company does reminds me of people who only do generous things so they can brag about it later and create the image of a genuinely nice person. This defeats the purpose of giving and destroys the definition of a true “kind soul.”

First off let me say that I am delighted that they wrote this post.  As I mentioned previously there’s far too little discussion on the PR implications of CSR, so it’s great they took the time to share their views.

However, I should also point out that I disagree with their sentiment, and let me explain why.

Every commercial organization, regardless of its location, business or size has a social responsibility.  Why? Because every business, whether directly through its operations or indirectly through its staff is part of the local community and broader society. 

In general, good CSR means aligning corporate responsibility to the organization’s business strategy.  This is important for a number of reasons.  If CSR is aligned, then it can have a positive impact for the business – it will therefore create value and will be sustainable over the long term – that’s how CSR can deliver real measurable impact. 

Today stakeholders; from investors, to customers, employees and investors want to know what companies are doing in the community and society at large. If we can agree that it makes sense to align CSR efforts to the core business, then it becomes a central element of what that business does. That’s why communication is important.

CSR is about more than philanthropy – albeit that’s an important element.  CSR is about being a responsible business.  It’s about good corporate governance, ethics, being a great employer, reducing environmental impact and many other elements. But let’s focus on philanthropy for a moment.  In my experience, the value a company brings to a non-profit organization is three fold.  The first, and most obvious is financial support, but in many cases the expertise and resources a company can bring to bear through a strong partnership is often more important.

Companies can often help nonprofits broaden the reach and impact of their communications – raising awareness and helping them increase their effectiveness. Of course, that communication should be appropriate and transparent, but companies should not be embarrassed to tell people how they are constructively being a responsible citizen. Indeed companies, in my view, should be up front about their commitment to CSR, about how they are measuring their efforts and how they are tracking against their commitments.

There are risks.

We live in a far more transparent world where companies need to be wary of sacrificing goodwill for short term publicity.

But doing well by doing good, is not only accepted as good business practice, it’s becoming an imperative. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

Now given that I work in communications for Microsoft’s Corporate Citizenship efforts, you should expect me to be an advocate.  But then I see the incredible work that we and other companies do every day in partnership with nonprofits – work that positively impacts people and communities all over the world.

Communicating a company’s commitment to CSR or Corporate Responsibility or Corporate Citizenship is not only a good thing, it’s a vital thing.

Agree or disagree?

Leave a comment or ping me on Twitter at @tpemurphy.

PR in 2010: Coping with the Cacophony

As we approach the start of a new year, and indeed a new decade, the blogosphere will no doubt be overwhelmed by predictions and forecasts of various kinds concerning the future of traditional media, social media, PR, marketing etc.

So I thought I’d take a different tack.

I’m going to assume that we are indeed heading into another year of evolution and change. So if that’s a given, why not consider you. What will you do in the next year?

It’s December, it’s a great time to take stock, to review how you’re doing, and to preview where you’re going.

The world of work is changing; and I think that PR and marketing professionals face even greater challenges as we struggle to juggle our traditional work loads and responsibilities with new emerging channels, tools and relationships. So how will we cope with these challenges?

Now before I go any further, I would hate you to think that I’m living in some sort of personal Zen. I can assure you that I am not. However I have reached the conclusion that we must take responsibility for how we manage our personal and working lives. We need to actively think about how we not only cope with a broader set of responsibilities but how we succeed with them.

In short, I think 2010 is the year that you need to invest in you.

I’m not a personal development guru, but here I present 12 areas that I’ve been thinking about recently – for what it’s worth. (And there’s not one mention of unfollowing people on Twitter – that’s a promise.)

I would love to hear your views. What have I missed? What do you disagree with? Jump in with a comment or write your own post and let me know, I’ll add links here.


1. If you don’t know where you’re going.. I am sure there are many people in this world who are naturally ‘planful’. No doubt their work and personal lives revolve around a clear vision of short, medium and long-term objectives. I’m not one of them. However, I have been investing some time in thinking about my own priorities and my own objectives. What roles do I play in my personal and work lives? What objectives do I have? What changes do I want to make? Where do I want to go and how do I get there? Start small, map your roles and responsibilities and your aspirations, then review and review again.

2. Make time for your personal life… Do I need to write any more? If I do, then please refer to the beginning of this paragraph.

3. Love what you do.. It amazes me how many people hate their jobs. They dread the sound of their alarm clock. Well, they are clearly stronger than I, because I couldn’t do that. It’s a personal thing. I need to have a passion for what I do. There’s a nice quote I read recently from a Steve Jobs address to students at Stanford: “You’ve got to find what you love… If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Spot on.

4. Get smart about your workload… You face an avalanche of work, commitments, e-mail, tweets, meetings, tasks and calls every day. Do yourself a favor, start thinking about how you can work smarter. There are some great approaches to more efficient personal workflow. Research them, try them, and give yourself some time back.

5. It’s OK to be a nerd… Related to getting a personal workflow is getting smart about how you use the tools you have. Investing some time in learning to use your PC and applications – as well as the tools and services available online – more effectively, is a good investment that will give you a huge return. Get searching.

6. Get Social.. I know this sounds really obvious, but social media is here to stay. Ignorance really isn’t an option. Many, if not most of our traditional tools and channels will remain important and relevant for the foreseeable future, but social media opens new opportunities to increase the effectiveness of your efforts. The fact you are reading this on a blog means you’re probably already there, however, keep current and get involved. See point #12.

7. Consume greedily.. Keep your brain active and challenged. Find time to read, find time to listen to podcasts, find time to talk to people. Expand your mind outside your area of expertise. Build it into your objectives. Creative ideas and approaches come from many sources and many of them are surprising. Bring your Zune :-) or your Kindle to the gym or on the train. Make time.

8. Live a little… So as the quote goes, "If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got." We live in exciting times, take calculated risks, experiment, review it and measure the results. At worst it provides fantastic learning opportunities and at best will have a major impact on the effectiveness of your work.

9. Write proper…Isn’t it time we addressed the black and white elephant in the room? The advent of social media demands that we revisit how we communicate. Corporate speak is over-used and it no longer resonates with our audiences. We must change how we think about it, we must bring words to life and go back to telling stories. This is a long journey but one that is worth taking.

10. Where’s your vision… There’s a land grab underway in social media. Who owns it? Who drives it? Don’t be left behind, take control of your destiny. Be clear on your goals (and how they tie back to the business), your strategies and your tactics. Social media isn’t about starting a Twitter account it must be integrated across your business.

Remember the story about everybody, somebody, anybody and nobody?

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about this, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

11. How big was it?… Don’t look at your shoes and cough. Measure your successes AND your failures. Review them. Learn. Go again. Be accountable.

12. Know your audience… Invest in getting a better insight into your audience. It will pay huge dividends. Don’t pay lip service to it, do it.


Last but certainly not least, enjoy it… remember this isn’t a dress rehearsal…


Author’s note:

When I was drafting this post, I happened upon a post I wrote around this time of the year back in 2007. It’s still relevant.

Are you lifestreaming or is that your dad dancing?

At the risk of appearing (to the digerati at any rate) as something resembling a father dancing at his teenager’s party, can I ask a question?

The question concerns the current online nom-de-jour: “lifestreaming”.  Now stop me if I’m wrong here – and it wouldn’t be the first time – but a Lifestream is just a blog with more stuff on it. 

Is that correct? 

I mean, seriously, all we’re talking about is a blog (or in 1990s parlance a “web site”) with content aggregated from a host of different sources such as Twitter or Friendfeed or whatever you are having yourself.

So in essence a lifestream is just a blog with more stuff, right? A blog. A blog with more stuff.

Maybe I’m missing something.

Sometimes I really am amazed at our continuing need to re-name things to make them sound like they are far more important than they are… this affliction is often most acute when it comes to social media.

I mean, this piece from Business Week on Gordon Bell (from Microsoft Research) is more how I think of a Lifestream.

In the meantime, I think we’d all be better advised to focus on understanding how social media can positively impact our business.

Maybe I’m getting old, then again I’ve eight or nine years before I mortify my son at his party.

New Microsoft Corporate VP of PR..

You probably have already heard that yesterday we announced some changes at the helm of PR at Microsoft  (obviously I use the word ‘we’ in the broadest possible sense :-) ).

Simon Sproule has left Microsoft (or will at the end of August) to take a new role with the Renault-Nissan alliance in Paris.

Frank Shaw has been appointed as the new corporate vice president, and he’ll start at the end of August moving from PR firm Waggener Edstrom. 

Of course the wonder of social media is that you can read Frank’s own thoughts (he is a long time PR blogger) online at his blog here.

And the good news is that he’ll be keeping the blog going after his transition.

So what have I been up to?

imageGreetings.  Nearly four months since moving to the Pacific Northwest, and this blog has been very silent.  But with good reason, I’m pretty busy at work and pretty busy at home!

From a work perspective, one of my major current projects is our global student competition – the Imagine Cup.

image It’s a global student technology competition, which challenges students to use technology to solve many of the world’s toughest problems – namely the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.

This year over 300,000 students from every corner of the world registered to compete and after local and regional competitions, 400 students will be travelling to Cairo next week for the world finals which take place from July 3-7, 2009.

It’s an incredibly interesting PR program and with our opening ceremony taking place at the Citadel and the closing ceremony taking place at the Pyramids, it’s got to be one of the most stunning PR backdrops of the year :-)

We’re doing a lot of work with both traditional and social media and you can follow the competition online via:

Each year during the closing ceremony we announce the venue for the next year’s finals. To give you a flavor of what’s ahead in Cairo here’s the video from last year in Paris.

So if you’re in Cairo during the 3rd to the 7th of July give me a shout though I imagine I’ll be pretty busy…