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Quo vadis Yammer?

Yesterday (Apr 25) I had an opportunity to participate in Yammer on tour event in San Francisco. It was really an eye opener for me. Currently Yammer has over 5million users and it’s growing in speed of approx 1/4 of a million/month.  If I got it right, it seems that through online social networks we are now witnessing several  paradigm shifts (which are reflected in some upcoming Yammer’s features:

  • The rise of ‘consumerization‘ of enterprise  software = enduser decides
    • due to the fact that today a common employee (enduser) can pull the technology/software that suits him (from the cloud) without waiting on what the management decides and company implement is the utmost usability check – will they adopt or not?
    • Yammer’s CEO presented scheme summarizing, that while in 1990s most companies had their stuff and applications ‘on premises’; in 2000s ‘on clouds’, what leads nowadays is what he called ‘Fremium’ –   limitless number of choices that we all have (Indeed resulting in fragmentation of content/knowledge)
  • Yammer is presented as ‘The new Intranet‘ –  transforming intranet to ESN (enterpse social network)
    • on cloud (instant, no upgrades, low costs)
    • social (people centric – by people for people)
    • mobile (fully compatible with mobile devices, pads etc)
    • viral = voluntarily adopted
    • Social network is about SPEED = sharing now, not tomorrow
  • Yammer acquired One Drum – platform that carries a Microsoft Office app that allows users to edit Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents with colleagues in real time, the feature that is expected to be added to Yammer in Summer 2012. Another new feature that will come in few months is Sync – access to Yammer files from desktop through a shared folder – drag and drop synchronization with the Yammer cloud and coworker desktop
  • Yammer’s Universal Search really works – universal search feature is being released in these days –  which will through individualized search algoritm provide better match for our searches
  • PREMIUM groups – yammer-active teams can upgrade without waiting until (if) the whole company decides to upgrade. Premium features include more space for sharing files, possibility to moderate content and membership, mark files and pages as ‘official’ (e.g. final versions), enable external file sharing, etc.
  • Yammer feeds can be embedded practically anywhere (but I understand that content will be visible only to those who have login credentials for given Yammer group/feed)
  • Yammer guys also see as one of the keys to their success Mobile Apps so they continue to work on apps for all Iphone, Android, Windos Phone and BlackBerry.
  • Philosophy of Yammer is not to rip & replace existing enterprise systems (which costed companies tenths of thousands of dollars), but instead integrating & migrate to yammer (with those most common platforms – e.g. Sharepoint or Microsoft Dynamics) and customizing (see all yammer apps at https://www.yammer.com/yotsf/apps)

 Changing from Intranet to ESN (enterprise social network) indeed is a paradigm shift, which requires thorough preparation. Four keys were mentioned as necesary for social success:

  1. PLAN – roll out and sustain, define where you go, even if the way how to get there changes while ‘on the road’
  2. TEAM – compose team with complementary skills
  3. Create AWARENESS
  4. Governance

As an example was discussed Yammer’s adoption in Deloitte:

  • Deloitte has roughly 190,000 employees in 50 countries
  • One team made experiment to replace email by yammer (nobody from the team wanted to return to use email after one week)
  • Nowadays Deloitte’s Yammer has 50,000 registered users with in average 8,000 msgs/week (seems like 80:20 ration is true here as well)
  • Used AFA concept: Aim – Fire – Adjust

and few learnt lessons/tips:

    • Communicate early & often
    • Adoption needs a lot of attention – it doesn’t happen on its won
    • Expect skepticism
    • There is no wrong way to use Yammer
    • Keep rules to minimum
    • Nurse group of champions (early adopters?)
  •  Three mentioned strategies to speed up adoption:
    • ‘Make them do it’  –  involve managers/directors
    • ‘Make it fun’ – contests
    • ‘Remove other legs’ (cutting other comm channels or letting them naturally die)

Relationship is Conversation‘. If you are not having a conversation, you are missing an ocean of opportunity.

Some interesting resources:

* did you check recently Yammer feature list? No? do so – ever growing list of functions applications and tools at https://www.yammer.com/product/feature-list/

* Aragon Research: Special Report – The social enterprise

Will social media kill off the intranet in years to come? 

* Yammer blogpost about the event itself and the links to PPT  and other resources –http://blog.yammer.com/blog/2012/04/thanks-for-rocking-out-for-yammer-on-tour-san-francisco.html.