Yammer Launches Next Wave of Enterprise Microblogging: Communities
Today Yammer announced during a special launch webcast event this morning that they are launching a major redesign of Yammer (the popular enterprise 2.0 microblogging platform) which will go live on March 1st 2010. The major makeover will include an entirely new interface with a new “communities” feature, a new iPhone application and new desktop client.
The Community Feature is an E2.0 Game Changer
The communities is not just an answer to Twitter “lists”. It is an enterprise 2.0/microblogging game changer because you no longer need a company domain email address (email@example.com) to participate on a company yammer microblog network. People without company addresses can be invited to join your businesses communities. You can create your own enterprise micro-community through the yammer platform and even create groups within that community. The mind begins to racing with the possibilities of how this new E2.0 feature could be applied to solve various persistent organizational structure and industry fragmentation induced problems.
Yammer 2.0 — The Evolution of Yammer
This is indeed the evolution of Yammer into “Yammer 2.0″ and the logical next step for enterprise microblogging. I want to give props the Yammer Team for moving the needle on this! Hopefully incremental innovations like this will help to reduce the ever growing signal to noise ratio that has continuing to rise (polluting the stream) over the past two years on the social web.
Phase 1 = Internal Enterprise Communication
Phase 2 = External Enterprise Communication (Linking the B2B Social Graph Together)
I think that that 2010 is going to be the year where the noise becomes so great, that individuals and organizations are forced to evolve their tools and the way they use them. New private microblogging tools like Yammer Communities may prove an enticing alternative to the intense noise of the public Internet. Remember that the whole strategic purpose of social media/enterprise 2.0 tools like microblogs is to be more effective and build more meaningful relationships (where ever they may exist). No one wants to become inefficient or so overwhelmed with meaningless chatter and DOA marketing messages that they can neither work nor communicate effectively with peers.
Yammer Community Pros — More Openness / Less Email
As an alternative to Twitter, Yammer Communities could provide a more rich, meaningful or engaging microblogging experience for users on both sides of the company wall and reduce noise of unwanted twitters. It could open up enterprises incrementally (while still allowing some control) and begin to establish bridges between disparate peers or collaborators aligned to positive goals but only divided by the internal/external gap. It could provide a focused cohesive synergy which does not currently exist across organizations and individuals. The list of use cases and possible applications seem limitless and yet not frivolous.
One of the big reasons that could get a lot of people to quickly adopt Yammer Communities is for take away the perpetual pain of being buried in billion emails and email notifications. I know some people who would do or try just about anything to take the email deluge down a notch or get rid of it entirely.
Yammer Community Cons — Security / Adoption
The fact that individuals with no company domain email address can potentially get access to a company information (even if it is through an egregious user error) is a risk that community and social media managers need to protect against. But then again anyone can leak IC, knowledge or FOUO information out of a company on a phone call, a conversation at a bar, by email etc. The surest way to avoid this problem will be community management vigilance (monitoring) and continuous education of the end user. It could become a big headache for community managers, administrators and social media champions who may end up in some very awkward and unusual social/political situations straddling the organizational wall. Security will always be an issue for organizations and the fear of very public online debacles is a powerful deterrent. I am willing to bet that many companies will simply flip the Yammer community switch off because they don’t want to risk it or deal with the implications.
Yammer communities could fuel the flames of the endless creation of walled gardens (only now they would be micro-walled or pseudo-walled). The new features could raise the technical bar or barrier to user entry for non-techie end users reducing overall E2.0 adoption. Having developed ad-hoc Yammer education for both enterprise and non-profits in the past, one of the things I loved about Yammer was that it is dead simple to teach and relatively intuitive to learn. Now that Yammer will have these additional community layers and prospects of users posting content into different communities (one purpose or by mistake), the question is: Is the user experience as simple to learn, navigate and effectively post to? Only time and the new yammer user interface will tell (it did look slick though).
Here is a screenshot of the Yammer desktop client with communities…
Yammer Communities Facts
Source for the following facts is today’s launch event presentation plus a little zero zest thrown in for good measure.
- Yammer is a private enterprise 2.0 microblogging platform (cloud / web service)
- Yammer networks are used by over 60,000 organizations
- David Sacks is Founder & CEO of Yammer
- Launched September 8th 2008 at the TechCrunch 50 Conference
- For more check the Yammer Blog and Yammer Buzz
Go Live Date
- Yammer Communities start going live March 1st 2010
- Communities follow Yammer’s existing “freemium” model
- Creating communities and managing users are free
- Advanced security settings and other premium admin features cost $3 to $5 per seat
Privacy & Security
- Each network is a completely separate.
- Domain-based networks still require verified company email
- Communities are invite-only
- Users move between networks, but data does not.
- Users have separate profile on each community, only name an photo port between.
- Premium Yammer account security features include: 2-factor authentication, IP restriction, password policies, keyword monitoring, e-discovery export.
Company Administration Controls
- Whether communities appear at all
- Who can create communities in the network
- Who can relate communities to their network
Community Admin Control
- Features (groups, org chart)
- Member Privacy
- Following Model
- Default Notifications
Use Studies for Yammer Communities
Organizations can communicate with partners, customers, vendors, consultants, advisers via this new communities feature. New types of yammer communities can be created for an array of purposes including industry & trades associations, conferences, conventions, events, barcamps, schools, collages, clubs, collaborative organizations and private support groups. Large conglomerates with many different divisions, branches, products, multiple campaigns, sub-brands or sub-initiatives may get some extra mileage out of the new yammer features.
Open Questions About Yammer Communities
- Could Public Yammer communities be a Twitter Killer?
- Why would you or wouldn’t you use the Yammer communities feature?
- How could the new yammer community feature be used to solve a problem unique to your organization, cause, company, team, startup or nonprofit?
- What is the single greatest benefit to Yammer releasing the communities feature?
- What would the next evolution to Yammer 3.0 look like (what features do you want or would it have)
Got Yammer Communities case studies or strategies? Drop us a line or your links we would love to hear them.