Cooperation in the networked workplace

* This post is sponsored by Microsoft Office 365 *

This is my second post on productivity tools for the networked workplace. First, I want to elaborate a bit on collaboration and cooperation. Two types of behaviours are necessary in the networked workplace: collaboration and cooperation. Cooperation differs from collaboration in that it is sharing freely without any expectation of reciprocation or reward. Collaboration is just getting things done. Cooperation is what drives the extended enterprise — customers, suppliers, partners and anyone else touched by the business.

In my previous post I discussed how Microsoft tools differed in supporting either collaborative or cooperative behaviours, or both. These facets align with the digital competencies required in the networked workplace.

collab-coop competenciesCooperative competencies of 1) sharing openly; 2) communicating effectively in communities & networks; and 3) contributing to knowledge networks; are often given less attention by management than the more job-focused collaborative competencies. But yesterday’s soft skills are today’s critical skills. New tools for cooperation, like activity stream platforms can support open sharing. Yammer is one such platform, and Jared Spataro, at the Microsoft Office Division, has this to say about Yammer’s place in their business model:

What should I do?  In my customer meetings over the last few months, people have often asked, “What should I use for social?  Yammer or the SharePoint newsfeed?”  My answer has been clear: Go Yammer!  Yammer is our big bet for enterprise social, and we’re committed to making it the underlying social layer for all of our products.  It will power the social experiences in SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics, and more.   Yammer’s unique adoption model appeals directly to end users and makes it easy to start enjoying the benefits of social immediately.  And because it’s an online service, Yammer gives us the ability to innovate rapidly-updating the service quickly as the market evolves.  So whether you’re an Office 365 customer or running SharePoint on-premises, Yammer will provide the latest innovations and best user experience.

yammer for cooperationThe above image is a continuation of a review of Office 365 I posted to Slideshare. In Yammer’s case, it is clearly a platform focused on cooperation. Like other activity stream, or micro-blogging, platforms, Yammer enables serendipitous connections by making work more transparent. As Ross Dawson says, Yes you can ‘engineer’ serendipity. Yammer would be one tool to help with that engineering.

As I mentioned in my last post, a tool like Lync can greatly enhance workplace collaboration as well as support internal cooperation. Yammer can extend that cooperation, with the real potential for business innovation resulting from connecting with people outside the department or enterprise.

If you don’t think you need to increase cooperation for your enterprise, then perhaps it fits into one of the two categories of companies that IDG’s Bill Laberis identifies in a short, but pointed, video. Fostering distributed work may not be suitable for 1) financially troubled companies, or 2) companies who don’t trust their own employees. For these companies, no networked productivity tool suite will help.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Office 365 but I retained editorial control and take full responsibility for what is posted. Contract writing is one of the ways I make my living.

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