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5 Posts authored by: Jill Ross Champion

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.

Work+Out+Loud.jpgI have to credit tdnhek for introducing me to this phrase (who may have heard it from johnstepper), but ever since she mentioned it, it has stuck with me. I find that it concisely, yet accurately, explains what Jive and other social collaboration platforms really do. They allow companies of all sizes to "work out loud." Not only does this phrase introduce people to the concept of social collaboration in a simple way, it differentiates social collaboration tools from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which according to this recent article, many people mistake for social collaboration.


You might be asking yourself, “What’s so great about working out loud?" After gradually changing my own communication habits in the workplace over the last few years, these are the key reasons I think it's so important:


It breaks down silos

Have you ever felt like your department is kind of like a deserted island - left to fend for yourselves with limited resources and no effective way to connect with the outside world? Being in marketing, there have been plenty of times I've felt like that. I send emails - comparable to smoke signals - and I get no response. Why? Because people send too much darn email! Both inside departments and cross-functionally across teams, communicating effectively, especially via email, is a huge problem. Someone is either left out of the conversation that needs to be involved (which leads to unwanted surprises), or too many people are involved, causing a reply-all nightmare. Meanwhile, there's another group in another office in the same company having the exact same conversation, and you don't even realize it. The video below explains this scenario quite well:



Communication silos are bad for business - working out loud on a social collaboration platform available to everyone saves everyone time and reduces human error.


It strengthens company culture

Are employees within your organization aligned with your corporate culture? How can you know? While company-wide meetings and events can help build and reinforce company culture, they don't happen often enough, and it's hard to gauge their effectiveness. Furthermore, more and more companies, such as my own, are adopting more flexible work-from-home policies, which mean it's becoming increasingly difficult to bring the gang together in person. But it is possible to build culture online. Social collaboration platforms are not just about revenue-driving activities - they're also about employee engagement. They allow companies large and small to build communities where employees can feel like they're a part of something, and leaders can understand employee sentiment, no matter where they are.


It increases accountability

Working out loud means that a much wider audience knows what you're up to on a daily basis – whether you're drafting documents, participating in discussions, answering questions, or posting blogs. That can be unnerving for a lot of people, but in my experience, it's been a good thing knowing that everyone can see what I do. For one, it's encouraged me to get things right the first time around. Secondly, it allows feedback from a broader audience - good and bad, leading to a better end result. And finally, when I can see other people doing awesome work across the entire company, it motivates me to perform at the highest level I can. Employee communities increase accountability because they raise the bar for timeliness, quality, and productivity. Even better, they accomplish this on their own, without the need for micromanagement or leadership mandates.


It unlocks tribal knowledge

If you've ever worked in software, you know how challenging it can be to become an expert of a new platform in a very short amount of time. Whether you're in account management, customer service, sales, marketing, or product management – some of the most valuable things to know about the product you work with aren't available in a slide deck, knowledge article, or training video sanctioned by the company. Sometimes it's the "little things" about the platform that help you understand it on a deeper level and better serve your customers. The problem is, most of that information is either trapped in people's brains or lost within instant messages and email threads. We need better ways to make that valuable knowledge available to everyone in a collaborative environment. For some people – the terms "open" and "transparent" equate to security risks. But in this case, the benefits far outweigh the risks. When discussions about your product are happening in an open environment visible to all of your employees – it helps everyone understand it better, no matter how long you've been with the company. Furthermore, you allow your best subject matter experts to weigh in on the conversation, rather than limiting it to a finite group within an email thread that may or may not know exactly what they’re talking about.


It empowers employees

I hear and read a lot about innovation and ideation in the context of social collaboration - enterprise solutions are driving these important business activities through purpose-built tools, and companies that embrace them are seeing great results. While innovation is critical to secure a competitive position in any market, when you look at the big picture, these types of tools within social collaboration are really empowering employees to drive the growth and success of the company. When anyone and everyone, no matter what position they hold, can propose fresh ideas that gain accolades from their peers and leaders – and are acted upon, they feel they contribute and add value in a meaningful way, which can make a big difference in retaining top talent.


So what is the ROI of these outcomes? I couldn't tell you. But it sure makes life at work a lot less painful.


How has working out loud helped your company?

It's More Than a Tool; It's a Brand

Ribon+cutting.jpgIt might seem like a waste of time and resources to invest in a marketing plan around an internal initiative, but I can tell you from what I've seen with our clients, it is critical to have a promotional plan in place once you’re ready to start introducing your staff to your social intranet. Imagine if you took the time to develop a sleek UI and in-depth training program, but no one showed up? Opportunity missed.


Treat your social intranet like a new product launch. Start by coming up with a name for your community. It should be something that ties your community vision and mission together with your company culture and/or your existing branding. For example, our social intranet at JCS is called “The Bridge” because of our company tagline – “Your bridge to social business.” Develop a logo and creative theme you can use within the community design itself and throughout your branded communication assets such as email updates, presentation slides, posters, etc.


Next, develop your pre- and post-launch communication schedule across various channels – email newsletters, webinars, videos, print, and even your existing company intranet if you have one. Your pre-launch messaging should build awareness of the new platform and drive people to register for training opportunities. Your post-launch messaging should highlight what’s happening in the community so far to generate more interest and continue to encourage people to register for training.  Highlight your “wins” to help sustain and enhance the credibility of the change that is taking place.


And don’t forget about your advocates I mentioned the Phase 1 - UI development stage. Think of them as brand ambassadors helping to spread the word about the benefits your community has to offer. Ask them to mention your newly launched network during their team meetings and have them suggest ways they can use it to work better within their teams. Give them swag to hand out or signs to post in their cubicles – whatever creative and effective tactics you can think of. Reward your power users by featuring them on the front page of the site; show how their efforts have resulted in lower costs, higher revenue and improved customer service.  Remember, you can’t do this alone, so engage people who want to participate and empower them to help you reach your goal.


What tactics have you used to drive adoption of a social intranet? What worked? What didn’t?


Part 1: User Experience | Part 2: Training | Part 3: Marketing

Not Just How, But Why

Bubbles.jpgRegardless of the user-friendliness of your chosen social collaboration platform, you have to recognize that this is more than just a new tool to learn how to use - it's a new way to run a business and a massive paradigm shift in the way people work. Make sure you take the time to develop a comprehensive training program that covers both the technical how-to's and the reasons why your company is implementing an enterprise social network. Letting people "in" on the strategy side helps build trust, which gets people on your side and facilitates the organizational change required to make your social business vision a reality.


As you develop your training program, start with an introduction to social business and provide examples of how admirable companies are successfully running enterprise social networks today. Specific evidence definitely helps – otherwise, it's all hype. Get case studies from your technology provider and leverage those statistics to prove business value. If your technology provider can’t provide statistics, borrow Jive’s McKinsey report, The Social Economy – full of ammunition for credibility wars. If you already have a few groups using your social intranet as a proof of concept, that’s even better. Have a show-and-tell session to demonstrate real-life work scenarios at your company. People need to know that you’re there to make their work lives easier, not shove another tool down their throats.


How did you go about training your teams on your social intranet? If you could do it over again, what would you explain in more detail?


Next week, we'll wrap up this series with marketing tactics to promote and grow your community.


Part 1: User Experience  |  Part 2: Training  |  Part 3: Marketing

Big+Jack.jpgLast year, a number of companies invested in social business software as a means to enhance collaboration, communication, and innovation among employees. But several of these companies are still in the planning or proof of concept stages of launching their social intranets. While these organizations have taken the right initial steps create a social business, few have the resources and expertise they need to launch an internal community successfully. Many are now asking themselves, “now what?” and more importantly, “how do we get people to use this?”


Launching an enterprise social network is no easy task. It takes a considerable amount of strategic planning and technical experience to ensure a successful deployment and gain full adoption. This three-part blog series will focus on key drivers of social intranet adoption to help you plan your social business strategy: user experience, training, and marketing. While this is by no means a comprehensive checklist, these are the key components we (at JCS Consulting) see as the most frequently missed opportunities to drive adoption of enterprise social networks.


Part 1: User Experience – Less is More

User+Experience.jpgWhen it comes to the design of an enterprise social network, we all want to keep it simple, but it’s much easier said than done. With all of the bells and whistles we get with some of today's most advanced social collaboration technology (like Jive), we’re left with too many options. So how do we set this up the “right” way?


If you find yourself going down a complicated path, remember -- this is first and foremost a communication and collaboration platform. Focus less on where to store content, and more on the actions and behaviors you want to encourage. It will make your social intranet much more useful, therefore increasing your likelihood for adoption.


Before you build out anything, take the time to interview team members across multiple departments in varying roles within your company. You want to talk to the people “in the trenches” getting the work done, not just the people calling the shots, because these are the folks who will likely become your “power users” and, more importantly, your advocates that will help drive adoption within their individual teams. What is it that people need to do get their job done? Where can you help? Build your community around those use cases, and the design starts to make more sense.


What initial use cases have you determined for your social intranet? Which teams or departments are you struggling with?


Part 1: User Experience  |  Part 2: Training  |  Part 3: Marketing

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