// what do you think?


Yammer Helps Your Company Create More Edges and Flows

Last month I gave Yammer (a product I like) a hard time because it doesn’t integrate with microblogging clients like Seesmic and Tweetdeck and I feel that their pricing is prohibitive to large, enterprise companies.

I got several comments from people and had some really good discussions around the use of Yammer and the good and bad people face with the product. To my surprise the most engaged commenter was David Sacks, Founder and CEO of both Yammer and Geni, was previously the COO of Paypal and if that wasn’t enough, producer of the movie Thank You For Not Smoking.

I’ve been meaning to, to do a follow up post on what Yammer decided to launch instead of the features I thought they should have implemented but yesterdays Social Business Summit provided the perfect fodder I needed.

Lane Becker, CEO of Get Satisfaction, made the comment that we need to create more edges in our companies. Edges are where the cool things happen, it’s where conversations with partners and customers happen; it’s where innovation occurs.

John Hagel then later made the comment that companies need to move from knowledge stocks (proprietary IP that they milk dry) to knowledge flows (rich interactions and collaborations with stakeholders).

Earlier this month Yammer released Yammer Communities a tool that can do just that.  From the Yammer blog:

This new product feature enables companies and organizations to create a new type of Yammer network that is not restricted to a common email domain.  Yammer Communities provide companies with a secure, private, and separate space to communicate with their external business contacts.

This is an excellent move for Yammer. Traditional “partner portals” or “extranets” are secure, intranet like sites where companies can share things like documents and announcements with partners and over the years extranets have grown to include some level of collaboration. Most extranets suck for two reasons:

  • They’re hard to use have horrible UX
  • People don’t want one more place they have to remember to check

I have no doubt Yammer will destroy current extranets on both accounts. However I still think that being able to access Yammer from an aggregated application like Tweetdeck or Seesmic will make the service much easier to use. But David is a successful serial entrepreneur, the one category of business person I have the most respect for, obviously knows what he’s doing and shouldn’t be listening to every blogger with an opinion and an overinflated sense of importance.

I’m looking forward to giving the new communities feature a test to see how well it works.

It’s pretty long (just under 30 minutes) but if you’re interested here’s an interview Robert Scoble recently did with David.

I chat with the CEO of microblogging and corporate social service leader, Yammer, about what they are doing and how the enterprise market is becoming hyper competitive with companies like Salesforce, Jive, Socialtext, SocialContext, Google, and Zoho all angling for the market that Yammer was first in.

Internal social media is about to go through the growth external social media went through for the last few years. It’s going to be exciting to watch.

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • lasandrabrill

    I think you make some good points, integration with Tweetdeck like tools will help but I also think that for the enterprise they need something more than just Yammer. I personally like CubeTree's approach but to be successful I think a company needs to fully integrate it into everything they do. It should become the intranet that is tied to Active Directory when you go to your employee directory you should automatically see their feed and what they've been up to and some 'updates' need to be done automatically (like Facebook) everytime you upload a document or comment on an internal blog. Otherwise there is too much change management required to truly make Yammer alone successful and valuable inside an enterprise. Just my $0.02. =)

  • http://twitter.com/DavidSacks David Sacks


    You hit the nail on the head with respect to Yammer Communities' potential to replace extranets. Not only is the interface easier to use and more social, users can collect all of their communities / extranets in one place and easily toggle between them. Counters conveniently alert users when they have unread messages in each community.

    With respect to Tweetdeck or Seesmic integration, Yammer has already published all of the APIs necessary for them to do this. These are the same APIs that our own desktop application uses. It's up to third-party developers to decide whether they want to integrate.

    With respect to pricing, we have special pricing for large organizations and enterprises.


    David Sacks
    CEO, Yammer Inc.

  • http://twitter.com/alanlepo Alan Lepofsky

    “to be successful I think a company needs to fully integrate it into everything they do” I could not agree more, and that is the approach Socialtext has taken. [Yes, I work there ;-) ]

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Integration is key but my only comment would be to reemphasize your point: “to fully integrate it into everything they do”. Into the tools we actually use and need. How many existing intranet tools do we not use or not really need? I think we need far less than we think.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Why do you think Tweetdeck and Seesmic haven't integrated Yammer into their products yet? Have you talked with them? Having an API is great, hopefully they'll take advantage of it.

    I couldn't find any reference to your enterprise pricing options. Did I miss it on your site anywhere?

    Anyway, thanks for the comment David.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidSacks David Sacks

    Can't speak for Tweetdeck or Seesmic. We are open to the conversation. Keep in mind, however, that Yammer content is private whereas Twitter's is not, and therefore a single inbox for both types of content may not be the right solution.

    There should be a notice on our site that enterprises and large organizations (e.g. hundreds of members) should contact us for pricing.

  • Mike

    Yammer, Cube Tree and SocialText are missing out on a key feature, or three - IM, voice and integration. With MangoTalk you can move from a Status update, to a IM conversation (1-to-1 or group) and strait into a voice call. Let's see any of those three do that, seemlessly AND archive the whole conversation in a searchable manner without hashtags.

    ready to step up to the next generation of Enterprise 2.0 Microblogs? try it for free at http://www.mangospring.com

  • Paul

    We have been using Yammer for about 5 months and found it to be very important in our organization. Our company have integrated Yammer into our Akeni Social Networking Software. The Yammer microblogging is much easier to use than the built-in one of the Akeni Software.

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