Enterprise Social Networks Enhance Artificial Intelligence

Enterprise Social Networks Enhance Artificial Intelligence in Microsoft Solutions

How can Enterprise Social Networks such as Yammer help with future AI efforts? What does it have to do with machine learning? Chris Slemp, Director of Strategy at Carpool Agency, answers these questions, and more. He also covers the loop model of collaboration, how Yammer and Microsoft Teams complement each other, and how Yammer and Microsoft Teams can be used by highly regulated industries. Watch the video or read the transcript below.


Recommended Resources

Video Transcript

Erica: Hi, I'm Erica Toelle, the Product Evangelist at RecordPoint.
Chris: Hey, I'm Chris Slemp, and I'm a Director of Strategy at Carpool Agency, a consulting company.
Erica: I know you're one of the community experts on everything enterprise social networking and collaboration. And now you’re an expert on Microsoft Teams. What are some of the announcements that you are excited by here at Ignite?

Microsoft Teams and Yammer: What Tools to Use When?

Chris: I think two big ones have gotten me energized. One is the messaging. This is Microsoft Teams' first huge conference, so there were some murmurs about it last time that is now confirmed.
Moreover, the messaging around Teams versus Yammer has become much clearer with this concept of an inner loop and an outer loop.
Erica: Okay, what’s the inner loop and outer loop?
Chris: It's interesting because I had some conversations with some Microsoft folks about that messaging last week. I was using circles because I was thinking along these lines a couple of months ago. They said, "We prefer loops to circles because it implies that return." A circle could imply I'm just pushing my messages out, and that's not what collaboration is, right? It's a two-way conversation.
The concept is that your inner loop is where you're iterating rapidly with your team. That's probably ten to 50 people that are quickly getting to a result. Moreover, that is ideal for the Microsoft Teams environment and what they've created with Teams.
However, then we all have outer loops. We all have these extensive connections of people that are communities of interest and communities of practice. They are people that we've worked on in other projects in the past.
Moreover, the way to stay "in the loop" with them would be through Yammer. Also, so that clear messaging has really, I think, taken hold with people. So that's exciting.

Scenarios for the Inner Loop and Outer Loop

Erica: What would be some common scenarios that would be the inner loop versus the outer loop?
Chris: My favorite story about this comes from inside of Microsoft itself.
Chris: The Microsoft Teams team, the one that builds Microsoft Teams, have a Yammer group that they use daily as well as Teams. So, how do they use those two together?
The Microsoft Teams team is working day-to-day in Teams. What they've done is they've taken that Teams Yammer group and snapped that in as a tab in their Teams environment. They have said, "This is the way that we get feedback from our outer loop, from the rest of Microsoft."
Microsoft gets feedback on the service, and what's working, because they push stuff out to Microsoft first, and test it and evaluate it with a 100,000-person company, and so that's how they speak to them.
Erica: How do you think that this more delineated messaging is going to help your customers better use these tools?
Chris: Well, it starts to put a stop to the "Why should I even use Yammer" questions, "because I have messaging tools." You have messaging tools for different people. So, I created a site called WhichToolWhen.com.
Erica: I always love your diagram. You keep evolving it.
Chris: Yes, I do. I keep evolving it, and I did again for this kind of loops conversation. Moreover, what I'm hoping to do with that site is change that conversation. I don't want to hear that question anymore. I don't.
Erica: I don’t want to either.
Chris: So, putting up WhichToolWhen.com is a way to draw the people who are asking that question to say, "Let's ask a different question." Why are you collaborating? What is the nature of that collaboration? Does it need to be in a tight group, or does it need to be more expansive? Moreover, when we ask those kinds of questions, then the tools naturally follow.

Enterprise Social Networks at Highly Regulated Organizations

Erica: I'm curious. It's one thing to work internally at Microsoft, where you have a culture of collaboration and openness and innovation, but how do you think that these tools kind of play out in maybe more highly-regulated or in government agencies Is there a place for it there?
Chris: If there isn't a place for any conversation that's open across even across a highly-regulated company, then that company is in trouble. It’s the only way that you digitally transform.
Digital transformation is not about putting a file in the cloud. I mean, that's just a little enabler of digital change, which is thinking about my business differently. Moreover, unless you can leverage the human capital across your entire company, you're not going to be able to keep up with the pace of innovation.
Yes, I understand some regulations control certain kinds of availability of information. So, put those controls in place. There are solutions for that. Such as Teams and SharePoint; there are those things that you can close.
Chris: Moreover, you can use private groups in Yammer, right? So, it's not about which tool. It's about how you use the tools that you have available to you.
There's been so much work done on the compliance side of things with Yammer, and as we see with the data residency announcements and other things, those are getting addressed.
So, the questions to be asking yourself isn't, "How is Yammer complying with my regulations?" Either they're there already, or they're getting there quickly.
What you need to be thinking about now is, "How can we better leverage, now that we have tools that are secure and are safe and are compliant, how do we leverage these broader conversations?"
There are all kinds of conversations we have as a company. They aren't all secure.

Collaboration Happens Outside of Approved Tools

Erica: That makes sense. So, I know in this role and other roles, you've worked with such a wide variety of customers.
Do you ever find that if companies can’t provide a place for this type of collaboration and conversation, that people are going to have them other ways that maybe you can't monitor as easily?
Chris: That's exactly it, yeah. So, I was just in a session. It was about EMS [Enterprise Mobility and Security], so it was about security. They were talking about this, and they had some data.
They asked the room, "How many employees in your company are using unapproved SaaS web services?" Most of the answers in the room were in the 90-100% range. The data says 80%.
So, 80% is conservative. Most of the people, the realists in the room, are saying they all are. Some of them don't admit it.
Chris: So, it's happening. The questions are, the stronger a stance that IT takes in saying, "We are providing services that are like what you're getting elsewhere. This location is the approved place to do it. How can I enable something close enough that you're going to love?"
Erica: Yeah, makes complete sense. So, any other final words of wisdom for somebody who is thinking about and exploring these types of tools in this type of collaboration space?

Enterprise Social Networking and Artificial Intelligence

Chris: Yeah, so I was talking to a client who is pretty much on the leading edge of adopting the whole suite. However, they're still bringing me in to say, "How can we do more?"
Because they're realizing that if they don't get on top of, or at the front of this wave right now. The social stream is kind of, feels like its mainstream by now. If you're not on that now, which the nature of that wave is how do we leverage the collective power of the large crowd to realize the business goal.
If your company culture can't assimilate that and take advantage of that now, the next wave, which is AI, is going to bowl you over. You're not going to be able to grapple with that if you don't have, as employees, as an individual employee, as a culture, you're not going to be ready to fight with that if you can't harness the power of that whole.
Erica: That just reminded me. Didn't I hear something about Yammer joining the Office graph?
Chris: Yes.
Erica: How is that going to impact things going forward?
Chris: I have all kinds of dreams of how that will impact things going forward.
Erica: Share your dreams with us.
Chris: Well, either they still need a forum. Moreover, I think our imagination limits it. Right now what we see in the Office graph are recommendations of files. You’re also seeing individual people you are meeting with, or maybe that you're emailing. That's about what the level of the signals is.
They're going into the graph now. What if we start putting things like company-wide conversations into that graph? I don't know. I haven't even stopped to think, like what are the flows that people are running?
Erica: Well, it's going to allow us to analyze further these deeper relationships between things about which we wouldn't have otherwise known.

Enterprise Social Networking and AI Scenario

Enterprise Social Networking and AI Scenario

Chris: I think that with the graph relying on the files and the emails and so forth right now, I would suspect that it's overly influenced or indexed by your organizational structure.
Erica: I agree because I have one example of that from participating in an extensive Yammer network.
At the time I was focused on SharePoint, and I would just set up a search for SharePoint, and literally, every thread that came through about SharePoint, I would weigh in on, and I was like 99% of the time, there were people in different countries, completely different areas, that were able to interact that way.
Chris: Yeah, and so if you can imagine. If you wanted to send an email when you usually send an email, you think you know to whom you should send it.
They're on the To line, or maybe the CC line, because you're making certain assumptions about who needs to know that information.
What if, as you're typing that mail, the Microsoft graph could tell you, "You should really send this, you should either post this to or through your mail client, you should be adding these people, these Yammer groups, or whatever, because there's a certain percentage of people who are interested in the content of your mail."
Erica: That would be interesting.
Chris: I know. So I think it's the power of that graph will be then harnessing AI to complement the social network that you have in place. This reason is why I'm saying get your social network activity and in order. That way the AI can use that information to do it because otherwise, the AI is just going to some cool stuff.
Erica: I think that's one of the best business cases for enterprise social I've ever heard.
Erica: Well, thank you so much for joining us. We could talk about this forever.
Chris: Yeah, we could,

Microsoft Expert Interview Series

This video is a part of RecordPoint’s Microsoft Ignite Interview Series. In this series, we speak with top Microsoft industry experts about topics related to compliance, governance, collaboration, and information management.

View additional videos from the Microsoft Expert Interview Series

You Might Like These Posts

  • Artificial Intelligence for Records Management

    There are certainly a lot of Artificial Intelligence (AI) automation concepts that can apply to records management, but it can be daunting to understand them all. We break down these concepts to show you their benefits to your organization.