Yammer, Inc. launched in 2008 and has since made an important leap forward when the company transformed its product offering from an intranet application to private social network. Yammer, a software-as-a-service (SaaS), does have its sights on development into the future.
Yammer's App Integration Focus
Prior to Microsoft's acquisition, Yammer made strategic decisions to develop an integrated social platform that focuses on expanding the pipe and information flows into and out of Yammer.
An enterprise organization has valuable data on its databases. Through data integration, the business data can be shared and searchable within the private social network. Well known enterprise software like SAP, Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics and SharePoint, and dozens more can be integrated with Yammer's social networking tools to help drive new business opportunities.
To access this business data, Yammer developed Universal Search, its search engine that looks for data relevancy. Utilizing open graph technology that was pioneered by Facebook, Yammer's searchable function will pull in data records for group collaboration. Data security and policy restrictions are determined by access rights set in your apps.
From Yammer's home page, the sign up process is fast with just your company's domain email address. First impressions usually are the best and surely enterprise social networks (ESNs) will not become a Facebook look-alike contest. Although the user interface has a similar look and feel, Yammer's social business platform standard has its own crisp identity.
If enterprise transparency is the goal, then Yammer does this well. Shareable content at discoverable points within the application will prompt group collaboration.
For your organization, if you can, create project milestones to help standardize activities as well as facilitate learning the work of your matrix organization.
Navigation – Network Conversations and Groups
My Feed, Group, or Private Messages. My Feed is your microblogging tool that also feeds conversations into the default All Company group. Posting in your custom groups can keep those members informed, but private message IMs are available for non-public use.
Tagging Topics. You will want to tag topics in conversations to populate the Topics view for referencing later. Files attached to conversations are accessible later as well in the Files view.
Leaderboard. Yammer filters the conversations with Share, Ask, Praise, Event, or Poll prompts. Responses are tracked by most likes, most replies, most posts, trophies, and badges that are consolidated in the Leaderboard.
However, social intelligence will need to evolve with meaningful influential data, possibly questioning, teamwork, and traceable business outcomes that surely will come in the ESN's product lifecycle.
My Home Network. The internal network comprises the All Company group and other Internal Groups that you can customize.
External Networks. External networks are designed to include people in conversations and activities outside your organization, whether these are customers, contractors, partners, and so on.
External members can also sign up to have access to the External Network, for example, Our Valued Partners, to keep conversation threads and associated files within this network.
Note that Yammer's browser pages change color as you switch from internal to external network as a minimal, yet necessary reminder.
Pages. Wiki-style pages are easily constructed, and include group editing and publishing.
Files. Documents, images, and video files can be shared throughout the networks. Files can be opened and annotated with markup tools similar to whiteboard functionality.
Calendar Events. Events set up in Yammer can be added to other calendar tools you may be using, such as Outlook, Google, Yahoo, and iCal.
The Business Plan offers a free basic network with 1GB file storage to help organizations get started. Premium Groups can be added and are priced per group on a monthly basis - these include up to 25GB file storage with advanced content collaboration and administrative capabilities.
The Enterprise Plan is priced one of two ways. For your Business Network, file storage of 50GB, customizable admin controls, and analytics dashboard are included, or the Enterprise Network offers advanced administrative and security functions, up to 100 external users, and includes the integration with third party apps, like Microsoft, SAP, and Salesforce, and so on.
The integration with Active Directory for user contact data and third-party applications will serve Yammer's new relationship with Microsoft. Yammer's future prospects look promising.
Desktop and Mobile Applications
Desktop App. Yammer's free, standalone Desktop application can run on your desktop to keep the conversation going. Only requirement is the latest version of Adobe Air.
Mobile App. Yammer is available on iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. The mobile apps provide connectivity to your feeds, private messages, and notifications.
Information is synched to the cloud service so no need to track down your internal network conversations from anywhere else.