Yammer Is Now More Dynamic

April 24 2012 10:30:00 AM Comments Disabled
think for yourselfToday Yammer announced several new partner integrations, including Microsoft Dynamics. The MS Dynamics integration allows CRM related events such as new opportunities or updates to account records to be broadcast into the Yammer activity stream enabling people to discover and discuss the event. In addition to the CRM announcement, Yammer also added several HR partners including UpMo, Perks, Ultimate Software and Subscribe-HR ; customer service vendor UserVoice ; project management vendors AffinityLive and Sciforma; and expertise location Senexx.

In addition to the new partner integrations Yammer is introducing universal search, premium groups, official content, email a file and mobile/desktop/web redesigns. More on these topics below and see the Yammer Spring Release web site.

MyPOV


I've often said that one of the best indicators of a platform's success is that other people want to integrate with it or build upon it. Vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, Jive, Atlassian and Box have large partner ecosystems and now Yammer is successfully building their ecosystem as well.

The Senexx integration is particularly interesting as it solves one of the more common issues companies face with social software, getting people to populate their profiles. Via the Senexx integration employees can connect their Yammer profile to their LinkedIn profile, then pull information into Yammer about their background, experience and expertise. That's just the first part of the integration though. The second part is that when someone asks a question in Yammer, the Senexx connector will try and locate the correct "expert" to answer the question and automatically create a reply to the question mentioning the expert's name, thus notifying them of the question. I've yet to see the connector in action, but I'm interested in seeing a) how accurate it is and b) if it is truly useful in getting questions answered or just adds more noise to the stream. (Update April 24 7pm) You can read more about the Senexx integration here.

One of the subtle but important things about the various Yammer integrations is that the events being posted by the other systems are being created as Open Graph objects in Yammer's activity stream. Open Graph is a protocol (most notably used by Facebook) that defines events via user, action and object. So a Microsoft Dynamics CRM event would look something like: Alan (user) updated (action) the account record for Acme Corp (object). These events are then searchable by Yammer's new Universal Search, which indexes not only content from Yammer (status updates, groups, files, pages, profiles, etc) but also from all events broadcast into the activity stream by partner integrations.

While integrating multiple systems into a single activity stream sounds appealing from an aggregation standpoint (and makes for a great Sales/Marketing demo), I am quite concerned that adding too much data in a single place is going to render activity streams unusable. This is a topic I have previously discussed in Making Activity Streams More Manageable. But Yammer is not limiting their integration strategy to just becoming an aggregator, they are also wisely following the path of doing the opposite and allowing Yammer to be embedded into other business tools. Via Yammer Embed, activity streams from Yammer can be accessed from within other systems such as your intranet, blog or any other business system that supports HTML. This is similar to SocialCast Reach. If you're not sure what I mean about embedding, think of how YouTube videos can be accessed in places other than on the YouTube site. This two-sided strategy of being both an integration point as well as being embeddable should provide a great deal of flexibility for Yammer customers.





Additional New Features
  • Email a file: Yammer has added the ability to email a URL to anyone (currently using Yammer or not) that takes them to a read only version of a file or page shared in Yammer. The URL is only accessible from one device (so it can't be forwarded to others) and can be revoked at any time. This will make it simple to share content that is stored within Yammer with prospects, customers, suppliers or any other external party without the need to upload the file to another service.
  • Premium groups: These groups can be toggled between public and private, pages can be marked read only by the author or group administrators, and content can be flagged as "Official" ensuring it shows up higher in search results. Currently Yammer offers free and premium (Business or Enterprise) services. Premium Groups are designed to fall in-between the two, offering several of the "paid features" from the premium services but without requiring the full package. Business or Enterprise customers automatically receive all the features of Premium Groups.
  • Mobile/desktop/web redesigns: On-going improvements to make the various Yammer experiences more consistent with respect to unread counts, groups, access to pages & files and more.