ANZ has switched on Microsoft enterprise chat service Yammer for its 20,000 Australian staff, with plans to expand it to the entire organisation.
The bank’s enterprise social network community manager Richard Cartmell revealed in a LinkedIn post that the project had gone live on Monday this week.
“Yammer is the enterprise social network (ESN) that our people chose to replace our existing ESN after conducting a human centered design user research process last year,” Cartmell said.
That existing social network was known as MaxConnect, and had achieved some cut-through: the bank noted in a video last year that “more than 70 percent” of staff “gave it a go” within the first year.
Cartmell indicated that ANZ “won’t be switching [MaxConnect] off until all countries have moved to Yammer”, meaning it would run both networks in parallel for a period.
The bank is now planning to bring Yammer to the remainder of its staff, with the tool eventually to serve as an enterprise social network for 50,000 people.
“With over 50,000 staff, we needed a place that people could go to chat/work/learn that they don't have to be invited to to access, somewhere people can go and say, "Who could help me with this?" and get an answer from someone they may or may not know, a place that is open where new staff can come and learn more about ANZ and just be more open in general,” Cartmell said.
Cartmell indicated that both Slack and Facebook’s Workplace had also been in the frame for the project but had lost out for different reasons.
“The functionality between Yammer/Workplace was neck and neck, but following all the interviews/user testing, Yammer came out on top,” Cartmell noted.
Meanwhile, Slack lost out because it was seen to solve a slightly different problem.
“Slack was definitely on the cards, and it will still be the right solution for some teams to get their work done, but we believe Slack is best designed for people if they know where and what they're looking for i.e. working in a team on a project together,” Cartmell said
“Slack (or Microsoft Teams) will be fantastic to chat, host team meetings, file share, and work on files at the same time (with a plethora of other integrations) e.g great for the inner loop of people you know.
“But Yammer has been designed as the place for the outer loop of people you don't know, and can form a community over a common interest.”
However, Cartmell noted the project was less about tool selection and more about the outcome.
“I think irrespective of the tool, it's the behaviour and engagement that is exciting,” he said.
It appeared that ANZ worked with Microsoft gold partner Engage Squared on some aspects of the project.
Cartmell also said that Yammer is “our first Microsoft Office 365 product to go live”, suggesting the bank could be deploying other apps in the hosted productivity suite.
Yammer was originally a standalone product but was brought under Office 365 back in 2014.
ANZ is expected to reveal more details about the Yammer project at Microsoft’s Ignite conference in the United States in early October.