Yo – Are You Yammering Yet?

Sometimes called “Twitter for business,” but actually much more than that, Yammer is shaking up internal communications at many mid-to-larger companies by connecting employees inside a private and secure company-only social network hosted on the Yammer site. Yammer is business social networking at an enterprise level, providing an easy way for employees inside a company to communicate, collaborate and share information. The basic version is free, and companies can pay to upgrade their network with additional features.  Yammer launched in Sept. 2008 and now is being used by over 100,000 companies and organizations.

Although Yammer is as easy to use as consumer products like Facebook or Twitter, its platform is built from the ground up specifically for business.  Yammer lets users communicate, collaborate and share more easily and efficiently than with other systems. It reduces the need for meetings, increases communications and connects remote workers. Each network is private, and a valid company email address is required to join.

Key Features:

  • Enterprise Micro-blogging – Start a conversation, read posts, and actively collaborate with your coworkers in real-time.
  • Direct Messaging – Create a private dialog with one or multiple co-workers.
  • Files, Links, and Images – Upload and share documents with co-workers, groups, or your entire company.
  • Groups – Create and join private or public groups and collaborate in small teams within your network.
  • Communities – Create communities for working with partners who are outside of your network.
  • Profiles – Upload a picture and fill in your expertise, past work experience and contact information to become discoverable across your organization.
  • Company Directory – Use Yammer to connect with employees in other departments.
  • Knowledge Base – Each conversation is archived and fully searchable so you can find what you need from your company’s knowledge base.
  • Administrative Tools – Keep your Yammer network running smoothly with a suite of admin features built to increase control.
  • Security – Message privately and securely in the cloud. Your security is Yammer’s top priority.
  • Topics – Tag content and messages in your network to make content easy to organize and discover.
  • Applications – Install third-party applications into Yammer to increase the functionality of your network.  Polls — Tap the wisdom of crowds by quickly and easily creating a poll and asking co-workers to identify the best option. See real-time updates as the votes come in. Events — Invite co-workers to company or group events and track responses. Download events into Microsoft Outlook or Google calendar. Links — Share URLs with co-workers in a form that displays web content such as videos and images inline.
  • Mobile – Connect to your network anywhere, any time. Download free iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile applications.

Several third-party developers are integrating their applications with Yammer, including:

  • Crocodoc for Document Mark Up and Review — Collaboratively highlight and comment on PDFs, Word documents, images and other files that are attached to Yammer messages.
  • Zendesk for Customer Support — Attach a Zendesk ticket or knowledge base article to a Yammer message so that all key stakeholders can collaborate and resolve trouble tickets quickly.

Yammer also has these applications in development:

  • Box.net for Enterprise Content Management — Share files from Box.net’s leading cloud content management solution in Yammer messages.
  • Expensify for Online Expense Report Management — Notify the appropriate people when an expense report requires action.
  • Lithium for Social Customer Relationship Management (SCRM) — Enable employees to share and discuss feedback from brand influencer and customer conversations that take place in Lithium’s leading customer community solutions.

Yammer is headquartered in San Francisco and is well-funded by top tier investors including Charles River Ventures, Founders Fund, Emergence Capital, SV Angel’s Ron Conway and Goldcrest Investments.

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About the Author:

Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.

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