08 Oct

Meet October Customer of the Month: Lawrence De Voe of Initiative

By in Testimonials on October 8, 2012

It is my honor to introduce Lawrence De Voe as Yammer October Customer of the Month.  As Chief Technology Catalyst at Initiative, Lawrence embodies the progressive technologist who understands that the role of IT is to make the organization more adaptable and innovative through the use of technology.

Apart from being a visionary, Lawrence is a valuable member of the Yammer customer community and a respected voice in the industry.


Here’s Lawrence’s experience in his own words:

When I joined Initiative, one of the first things I did was sit down with our CEO to discuss the state of the business and how we were using technology. We talked at length about the business strategy and what we needed to do with technology to further it. The clearest single message coming out of that meeting was that our business leaders around the world (we have offices in over 70 countries) found collaboration hard, and had very little visibility into what was happening in other parts of the network. We had an Intranet, but it was over engineered, widely disliked, out of date and difficult to use.

Over the next month I had my team identify and evaluate the key problems with the existing Intranet while I thought about the gaps between what it was and what the agency actually needed. Coming out of this assessment we had a problem – fixing the existing known problems with the Intranet was going to cost a lot, and even then we would be left with a system that didn’t align very well with the actual needs of the organization. I met again with the CEO, and proposed that we take the opportunity to try something different – a simpler and more social Intranet that would empower users across the network to collaborate and communicate in real time. He loved the idea, and after a few weeks of looking at different ways to accomplish this we decided to pilot Yammer.

The initial pilot user group was 10 users who were supposed to report back on what they thought at the end of 3 weeks. Instead, they invited their co-workers and at the end of 3 weeks we had 400 users signed up and actively using the toolset. People were emailing the CEO telling him how much they loved Yammer, and emailing me asking how they could get involved. We quickly moved from pilot mode to full on deployment planning, and now have 7500 people from 4 agency groups in our Yammer network. each of our networks has its own character from our Initiative network which is a pure Yammer network, to our UM network where Yammer is embedded in SharePoint. We also have numerous self-service external networks for clients and business partners being set up all the time. My favorite thing about Yammer is that it’s so empowering to our users. It’s let my team get out of routine provisioning discussions to focus on higher value activities.

And here’s a little more about Lawrence:

Thank you, Lawrence, for your vision and commitment to making Yammer successful at Initiative.!


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