Jill Ross

DIRECTV Success Story: CORE Champions Program Drives Social Intranet Adoption & Advocacy

Blog Post created by Jill Ross Champion on Nov 5, 2013

Recently at JiveWorld13, MJAmbroze and tdnhek from DIRECTV presented their success story on the adoption of CORE, DIRECTV's internal, Jive-powered social intranet. If you attended JiveWorld13, you can view the session recording here: DIRECTV's CORE Champions Program Drives Social Intranet Adoption and Advocacy. Otherwise, you can read about their adoption program below.


If you have any questions about the program, feel free to leave a comment! I'll be sure to loop in the appropriate person to answer your question.




DIRECTV is one of the world's leading providers of digital television entertainment services delivering a premium video experience through state-of-the-art technology, unmatched programming and industry leading customer service to more than 34 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America. In the U.S., their 40,000-person workforce including employees, contractors, partners, and other vendors spans more than 25 customer care centers, more than 175 field service locations, two primary satellite broadcast centers featuring some of the world’s most advanced technology, and three staff offices for IT, Sales and Marketing, Engineering, Content Strategy, Human Resources and other teams

Creating a Connected Enterprise

In early 2011, the Information Technology (IT) and Human Resources (HR) teams at DIRECTV needed a platform to enable their knowledge workers and internal employees to easily connect and share information, create profiles with searchable expertise and knowledge, promote and fulfill internal job openings, collaborate within project teams, and reduce time spent in meetings and managing emails. The IT team evaluated a variety of platforms including Jive, Microsoft SharePoint, Newsgator, and others, and at the same time, HR worked on migrating their current intranet sites and wikis to SharePoint. After aligning their initiatives and evaluating the applications, IT and HR collectively chose Jive to support their vision for a “Connected Enterprise.”


Jive was chosen primarily due to the user experience it offered, which put people at the focal point of the experience, rather than documents.  In addition, Jive offered many plug-ins that integrated with legacy content management applications (i.e. SharePoint), current business applications (i.e. Microsoft Office and Outlook), and HR applications (i.e. Taleo), which met the majority of DIRECTV’s business requirements. These integration features enabled DIRECTV to enhance their user experience as their community achieved growth and adoption.

CORE: A New Way to Work

DIRECTV conducted a soft launch of their Jive internal community instance called “CORE” in May 2012. CORE was originally released to approximately 700 employees from various departments including IT, HR, digital marketing, and other early adopter teams such as its diverse employee resource groups.


CORE makes it easy for DIRECTV employees to connect, collaborate, access and share information with each other and business partners and vendors in multiple settings (at work and outside of work), leading to greater engagement and productivity, better decision-making and increased innovation.


DIRECTV decided that the initial deployment of CORE would be limited to a relatively small number of employees in order to:

  1. Introduce a cultural shift to the business without too much work disruption.

  2. Allow CORE application administrators and community managers to observe the impact of using a social collaboration tool internally, in order to create on-going adoption and training strategies.

  3. Establish the CORE support team and enable the CORE support teams (i.e. IT and HR Corporate Communications) to determine their needs to support the platform and obtain appropriate resources (i.e. Organizational Change Manager, Community Manager, Technical Administration, Training, etc.).


The Adoption Challenge

The CORE team assumed that this would “go viral” by itself – a common assumption of many organizations implementing a social collaboration platform. The community grew slowly from 700 to 1000 from June to October 2012 since CORE was only communicated and promoted to selected departments and there was no push from senior leadership to utilize Jive.  For such a large deployment, the CORE team realized that they would need a more prescriptive approach. To drive adoption, HR and IT community owners put together an adoption plan that included a training campaign and communication plan. In late October 2012, JCS Consulting was recruited to develop a strategy that could drive sustainable and scalable adoption of CORE.

The CORE Champions Program

With thousands of employees to train on CORE and a small team to make it happen, DIRECTV enlisted the help of JCS to develop and deliver a comprehensive training program designed to take employees from novice to expert users of Jive in a matter of weeks.


Given their past experience with large enterprise deployments of Jive, the JCS team knew that simply training users on the mechanics of using Jive would not be enough to cause the shift in work habits that would result in viral adoption. To achieve the vision of a Connected Enterprise, JCS needed to deliver a training program that not only equipped employees with the technical skills necessary to participate on CORE, but also helped to create the vision of “why” the Connected Enterprise was a better way to work.


JCS took a unique approach beyond basic user training and incentivized all end users to become power users through an advocates program known as “CORE Champions.” The CORE Champions program empowered CORE’s most active and engaged users to become community leaders through advanced training opportunities that included community creation, growth and management; moderation best practices, and change management skills to help their community members make the transition from closed, siloed working habits to open and collaborative communication on CORE.


JCS launched the CORE Champions training program in late October 2012 and delivered trainings to a variety of DIRECTV departments and locations. In addition, the HR Corporate Communications team at DIRECTV launched the communication plan to announce the release of CORE to the entire population at DIRECTV.


core champions


The CORE Champions program included 4 main courses:

  • Basic User Training: Entry-level Jive technical training to enable all users to start participating in the community and creating content in CORE.
  • Group Manager Training: Intermediate training for any interested, active users of CORE that want to create their own communities. Topics covered included use cases for various departments and best practices for community management.
  • Projects Training: Intermediate training for group managers that want to learn how to use Jive’s project management capabilities to enhance productivity within their teams.
  • CORE Champions Workshop: Power-user training for active community managers that recognize the value that CORE brings to DIRECTV. Topics covered include advanced community management, deeper use case analysis, and best practices for gaining adoption and participation within CORE.


Classes were developed and delivered on a pilot basis in November and December of 2012.  Once the classes were “tuned,” they were delivered in-person and through dozens of webinars, and CORE Champions workshops were offered in person only for those who had completed the basic-level and one of the intermediate-level prerequisite trainings. The JCS team traveled with key HR team members leading the CORE adoption strategy to various locations to deliver the trainings during the first quarter of 2013. Over 5,000 DIRECTV employees attended either in person or online training, including nearly 500 who completed the Champion-level training.


Once CORE Champions completed the training series, they were invited to an exclusive CORE community to share war stories, lessons learned, and ideas to grow the use of CORE. CORE Champions could also use the community to get support from the CORE team and their peers whenever they encountered an issue. CORE Champions continue to drive the growth of CORE and help DIRECTV achieve its vision for a Connected Enterprise, and the CORE Team regularly recognizes instrumental Champions in person at senior-level staff meetings and in blogs posted to CORE’s internal public communities.


“Developing our Connected Enterprise strategy along with planning how to drive adoption of CORE challenged us to think differently about how we typically engage our workforce. JCS Consulting’s experience helped us more clearly and quickly identify the reasons people and teams would resist these new ways of working. More than a consultant, the JCS team members were true partners – not only willing to learn our business but, most importantly, experience how our employees work each day. By living the status quo with us, they helped us engage employees in new ways of working through communications, training and peer-influence tactics. Without them, we wouldn’t have the adoption rates and ROI that we’re fortunate to have today.”

Senior Manager, Corporate Communications and Diversity & Inclusion



From October 2012 to April 2013, membership in CORE grew from 1,000 to over 8,000.  Hundreds of active groups within CORE can cross both organizational and geographic boundaries (while maintaining appropriate security), allowing DIRECTV employees to make faster decisions using better information, and to bridge silos and geographic divides that support the company’s broader cultural transition to be more collaborative and customer-centric in its work streams.  As a result of providing training at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels, and implementing a multi-stakeholder communications campaign, DIRECTV’s adoption rate has improved and various organizations within DIRECTV are now in the planning stages to extend CORE usage beyond the initial deployment to 10,000.