What Is Yammer

Founded in 2008, Yammer is one of the notable representatives of Enterprise 2.0 software. This concept came into power about the middle of the previous decade as the stunning success of social networks triggered attempts to incorporate social and collaboration components into corporate intranets. Eventually, the importance of improved collaboration tools was acknowledged globally, thus a high demand appeared in this software market segment.

By 2010, as Yammer 2.0 was released, the popularity of the product grew significantly; more than 80,000 companies were using it. Its self claimed nickname, the “Facebook For Business”, was actually pretty explanative about company’s strategy in its niche. People all over the globe are passionate about FB interface, and business owners en masse do not make an exception. So why not give them an analogue for their corporate collaboration systems. The acquisition by Microsoft in June 2012 proves that this solution has got some nice perspectives.

Speaking about functionality, Yammer allows direct messaging, sharing files, creating groups and sharing your posts with all group members. Its search engine retrieves data from posts and user profiles; finding specific content is simplified thanks to Twitter-like hashtags. Another typical Facebook feature utilized by Yammer is collaborative pages – a user group can create one and then make it either public or private. As an ambitious collaborative solution, Yammer aims for better integration with other solutions with the help of embeddable fees, extensions for browsers etc.

The Problem Of Integration

Yammer uses Open API technology making it possible to use it together with major enterprise DMS solutions, including SharePoint. After Yammer got incorporated into MS empire, the process of integration between two systems was speeded up from both sides. At earlier stage SharePoint customers were enabled to replace some SharePoint modules by Yammer ones. Now MS plans to simplify documents sharing between both interfaces and to add an integrated search option for both systems. There are also certain undergoing enhancements for Yammer features: improved Office documents management, instant messaging, inviting people from outside of corporate network etc.

No matter how well-planned product integration may be, there is always certain intermediate period, and it can even turn painful sometimes. Customers are usually eager to get new awesome features but at the same time they can feel uneasy about significant interface changes. Latest SharePoint versions still have some compatibility issues with Yammer applications. They will be probably fixed in the following releases; besides, every single SharePoint installation can be customized locally to minimize negative effects. But it is obvious that the bigger solution complexity causes the higher probability of bugs.

Still the question of strategy is certainly more important in longer perspective. Once the good direction is chosen, technical issues are eventually solved. So, will the acquisition lead to creation of an improved, hybrid enterprise collaboration environment or the integration of both systems will result in customers’ disappointment? It depends on how successfully MS will manage to put together stronger features of both products and avoid mutual cannibalization of both brands.

Experts Say

Yammer acquisition was a notable event in the world IT community’s life so no wonder many contradicting opinions ensued. Many are enthusiastic about the perspectives of the new hybrid platform, while some people argue that mixing up two successful solutions will not result in double success but will rather require additional efforts to fit in to the high expectations provoked by this acquisition.

In this article you can find quotes on the topic from several well-known industry members. As usually, opinions vary. Anyway, SharePoint and Yammer are currently in one ‘team’ and the process of integration is going on steadily. In the nearest future customers’ feedback will show us whether this plan was good so far.