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Introduction to Yammer

The Yammer Logo

Company Background

Yammer, Inc was launched on September 8th, 2008 by founder David Sacks. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, it is a social network website designed for internal communication and collaboration within organizations. This enterprise social networking service could be accessed on any mobile device(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Snv3MdSBE); Yammer has an application on various mobile platforms including IOS, Blackberry, Windows and Android, which makes it much easier for employees to collaborate, share files, and exchange thoughts and knowledge. Currently, more than 85% of Fortune 500 companies are using Yammer enterprise (https://www.yammer.com/customers/). Examples of Yammer users are LG Electronics, Xerox, Ebay, and 7-Eleven.[1]

Yammer, a Twitter-Like Tool for Businesses



Web: Yammer is available from any computer connected to the internet. It provides live access to coworkers, conversations and content through company’s own personal cloud network.[1]
Windows Phone: Yammer is available from any computer connected to the internet. It provides live access to coworkers, conversations and content through company’s own personal cloud network.[1]
BlackBerry If you have a BlackBerry, connect with Yammer through the application for Blackberry at BlackBerry.yammer.com.[1]
iPhone & iPad:Get the award-winning Yammer for iOS app from the Apple App Store and continue to enjoy access to Yammer through your iPhone and iPad.[1]
Android & Tablet:Connect to Yammer with the app for Android and Tablet devices, from the Google Play or Amazon Appstore.[1]
Desktop Application:Stay on top of conversations with the desktop app, which allows you to stay connected to conversations without opening a browser. The application alerts you to updates as well as allows you to respond to messages from the convenience of your desktop.[1]
Yammer Embed:Allows you to embed Yammer feeds to your business application, so you can stay up to date in your Yammer social networks.[1]
Yammer for SharePoint:Integrates SharePoint with Yammer and instantly creates a more communicative, portable and collaborative site for everyone in the company.[1]

Social Media Aspect

Inbox: The area for users to conveniently check, organize, manage, send and receive messages.[1]
Expertise: Search instantly through the company and locate the experts you require.[1]
Leaderboards: Show the members with the most messages, replied to messages and the most liked messages. By doing this, leader boards help you find the most influential members in your network.[1]
Events: Events can be added to Outlook, Google, Yahoo! and iCal calendars to help you organize meetings. Events allows you to share these important meetings and events with co-workers as well as collect responses from them.[1]
Polls: Helps you make calculated decisions based on survey results from co-workers. Polls is an efficient and simple way to and simple way to to collect opinions from other co-workers.[1]
Groups: Very easy to create and literally take a few seconds to make. You can create a group to collaborate with on a team project, or just for within a specific department, to discuss issues or topics that pertain to that department specifically.[1]
Directory Sync: You can sync your edits from an existing company directory for an easier user management experience.[1]
User Profile: Allows you to upload a profile, photo, add your contact information, and highlight your skills and professional work experience. [1]
Member Directory: Lets you easily search for and connect with other co-workers in the company. The directory allows you to view members in alphabetical order, start date, number of followers, and number of messages.[1]
Org Chart: Is automatically brought up in user profiles, and is easily created by crowd-sourcing and adding managers and reports.[1]
Praise: Allows managers to praise workers for doing a good job, and allows workers to publicly share their accomplishments, and show their collected praise badges through the praise tab.[1]
Questions: Allows employees to ask questions to co-workers and receive the answers they're looking for fast. Just post a questions and wait for co-workers to collectively respond.[1]
Private Messages: Lets you create a single dialogue with a c-workers or multiple co-workers, and allows you to add more at any time.[1]
Feeds: Keep up to date on the latest conversations, files, and projects going on throughout the company. With feeds, you can converse in discussions, mention co-workers and simultaneously add them into a conversation, as well as look over files and notes. [1]
Announcements: Allows users to quickly inform members of an important announcement and/or of an important date coming up.[1]
Share Across Groups: Share content between other teams and projects quickly, to utilize team collaboration and ensure there is no duplication of information between teams.[1]
Online Now:View others who are online, and start instant chats with one or multiple members.[1]

Content Collaboration

Files: This allows you to work on files directly on Yammer without the need to download them onto your computer. Files allows you to use documents, images and videos, which you can work on, save or share with others. [1]
Versioning: Helps keep you organized by managing different versions of your documents. Users who are part of certain documents, files and notes will be updated when new versions are available.[1]
Popular Content: Yammer updates everyone in a group on the most popular content within and lets you tag important files and notes to a particular group. [1]
Email a File: Share documents and files from Yammer easily through your email.[1]
Trending Files: Find the most viewed, talked about, shared or marked files and notes.[1]
Notes: Notes and documents can be edited by multiple users at the same time, much like Google Documents.[1]
Ticker: Allows you to see what notes, files and collaborations other employees are working so you stay up to date and seize important opportunities. [1]
Topics: Topics are easy to make, search and view with their unique layout. They act as tags that allow people to find related content. [1]
Official Content: Create official files and notes that others cannot edit. easily accessible as official content is shown higher up in search results.[1]


Full Text Search: This feature helps you easily find what you’re looking for, by allowing you to search through documents, files, conversations, profiles, notes and more. It’s search capabilities allow it to look through text of Word documents, Powerpoint presentations and PDF’s.[1]
Universal Search: Allows you to quickly search through different business applications such as Microsoft Dynamics, SharePoint, SAP and Salesforce.com.[1]
Instant Type Ahead: To find what you’re looking for quicker, this feature shows you suggested search results as you type in the search bar. Results are organized into 6 groups: people, groups, files, notes, topics & applications.[1]

Administration (Content & Security)

User Management: Lets you give access to new employees, and take it away from existing ones permanently, or temporarily. This features allows you to decide if an individual can or cannot access your specific network, or you can decide for multiple individuals at one time. [1]
Local Firewall: Give you the choice whether you would like to restrict access to your Yammer network to one IP range. This can make it more secure as individuals will only be able to access it from certain places.[1]
Strong Authentication: This is an encrypted browser token. Is a good addition for a more secure authentication system than just the regular password system. [1]
Data Export: Allows you to export and organize all of the important information in accordance with your company’s policies. You can set it to export one time only, or multiple times.[1]
Single Sign On: Provides easy access to Yammer as it automatically logs you in.[1]
Custom Design: Lets you add your company’s logo and designs to appropriately brand your network on Yammer. [1]
Password Policy: Lets you decide how complex passwords should be and how often they need to be changed or updated.[1]
Usage Policy: Customize your company’s usage policy on Yammer and have it so that users must accept it to join the network.[1]
Keyword Monitoring: Track sensitive information by monitoring keywords in posts, messages and more. All approved Admins are notified when a monitored keyword or phrase has been used in the network.[1]
Network Analytics: Allows you to look over metrics and statistics to help show the value Yammer brings to your company. It lets you look at how employees are using Yammer so you can concentrate and expand on these to further add value to your company.[1]
Activity Stream Keys: Easily connect other business applications to Yammer to find out what’s going on in other business applications.[1]
Company Resources: Allows admins to post important notes, links and files to the homepage.[1]

External Networks

20 Second Extranets: Allows you to make online workspaces to connect and collaborate with customers, partners and vendors.[1]
Fast Network Switching: Lets you easily go from internal to external networks, or vice versa. This allows employees to observe conversations in external networks and share information through the company’s internal network.[1]


Ticker: Lets you access and work on activities within existing business apps.[1]
Yammer Connect Login Button: Allows you to log into 3rd party apps through profile information on Yammer. This creates one online identity for the user.[1]
Enabled Object Feeds & Action Buttons: Lets you connect all your business applications so you can collaborate in multiple apps simultaneously without slowing down your workflow.[1]
Spigit: Share new ideas from Spigit’s free ICON product, or their premium SPIGITENGAGE product.[1]
Zendesk: A helpful software that lets you track support ticket updates, comments and more.[1]
Triplet: Helps you keep track of other employees’ business travel plans and more.[1]
Affinity Live: A project management system for service organizations, that allows users to share project, sales, services and billing updates.[1]
Sparqlight: A workflow management system, that allows users to access Yammer feeds from inside their platform, and track tasks within Yammer.[1]
PlanView: Allows you to access Yammer feeds inside their platform and keep track of portfolio updates.[1]
GageIn: Allows you to access Yammer feeds inside their platform and share articles.[1]
Perks:Helps provide incentive to motivate, recognize and reward employees.[1]
Sciforma: Helps companies keep track of portfolio, projects, resources and documents.[1]
Senexx: Allows you to bring questions from this engine, to experts and relevant groups on Yammer, and sync profiles with Linked In.[1]
Expensify: Shares expense reports to help encourage employees to consider expense management.[1]
Box: Receive updates within Yammer on edits and comments in shared files.[1]
Activity Stream API: Adds data to the social aspect of applications by helping integrate existing business apps. [1]
Pages: Find out about different activities going on in other business applications.[1]
NetSuite: Helps you track financial reports, accounts and sales opportunities online.[1]
Directory Sync: Lets you standardize employee profile information across many systems. Profile edits can be automatically transferred over from an already existing company directory.[1]
Microsoft Dynamics: Lets you send account, opportunity, campaign and lead updates to Ticker. These then become part of the Universal Search results.[1]
Subscribe-HR: A recruitment and HR software that allows you to access Yammer feeds inside their platform and track updates.[1]
Ultimate Software: An HR payroll platform that lets you keep track of recruitment, onboarding, benefits, payroll and performance activity.[1]
Kindling: An idea management system that lets you share your ideas, comments and more with coworkers.[1]
MoreOver: A news aggregate platform that allows you to engage in Yammer conversations from an embedded feed.[1]
Freeborders Connector for SAP: A SAP IT consulting service that lets you conveniently track SAP updates.[1]
UpMo: A professional networking platform that promotes the progress of internal mobility and assists companies in retaining their top talent.[1]
UserVoice: A knowledge-based software that allows you to share online feedback.[1]
BadgeVille: Lets you see updates when employees earn rewards from jobs well done and good team collaboration.[1]
Salesforce.com: Allows you to collaborate with other employees from across the company, while tracking sales accounts, opportunities, campaigns and leads.[1]

Benefits of Yammer

Yammer, a platform that allows users to interact and collaborate actively over the Internet for business purposes, is increasingly being harnessed by organizations. It improves employees’ communication and collaboration skills, and the company’s overall productivity. As Yammer becomes a more effective and efficient communication tool, more companies begin to adopt this new technology and hope to maintain a competitive advantage in the industry.[2]

Former Communication Tools

Traditional communication methods like emails, meetings, and phone calls are overburdened; as a result, employees are unable to maximize their work performance.
Email is a two way communication; however, the wait time for a response can be long. As a result, the response will be ineffective by the time it is being received. Statistic shows that the number of email users has been declining since 2009 to approximately 750 million compare to 1 billion social networking users as of 2011. [2]

According to studies, emails can also interrupt employees from work. Unnecessary emails can slow down employees’ performance, resulting in a slower response to urgent emails. Consequently, researchers encourage employees to avoid using “reply to all” feature to avoid unnecessary distractions to other people.[2] Meetings are inefficient because it is difficult to coordinate a meeting with everyone due to time and geographic limitations. Too many work related or personal phone calls can be distracting and as a result, decreases employees’ overall performance. [2]

The Implementation of Yammer

Yammer is a two way communication tool that can be used by multiple users instantaneously, establishing real time chats between employees. As per growing trend of globalization, it has made organizations even more difficult to share knowledge, information, and ideas due to geographic and time constraints. With the use of Yammer, employees, who are out of town or who are from different branches, are able to share information and ideas across the organization. In addition, Yammer mobile applications are now available to make it easier for employees to stay connected with others.[3]

With richer collaboration, businesses are able to drive forward faster because executives and employees can instantly deliver important announcements and gather feedback across the organization. Everyone in the organization is able to stay up to date with his co-workers, customers, and partners. [4]

Yammer is also capable of reducing redundancies. Employees will not have to answer the same set of questions again as they can refer to solutions that were posted previously on the network or group pages on Yammer. [5]

Besides better communication, richer collaboration, and less redundancies, Yammer also has other strengths that are beneficial to organizations: [6]

• Empowerment: Employees will have higher satisfaction towards their work environment because they feel that their voice is being heard. [7]
• Recognition: Yammer has features where employees and executives can praise others within their networks. With this feature, employees will feel motivated and engaged because they are being recognized. This also reduces employee turnover rates. [8]
• Innovation: Instant sharing lead to continuous innovation but less investment costs because ideas can be grown collaboratively on Yammer. [9]
• Customer Loyalty: Yammer also has a feature that allows employees to create a separate group to stay connected with their customers. This helps the organization to resolve customer issues faster and to reduce costs. [10]

Risks Associated with Yammer

Despite the great benefits offered by Yammer, its implementation can cause potential risks. Failure to prevent or cope with risks could hinder the usefulness of the system or even incur additional cost for the business.The following section will examine possible risks that may occur if a business chooses to adopt Yammer.

Security Issues

The implementation of Yammer may expose the business to serious security and privacy risks. Sensitive or confidential information may be unintentionally leaked, if employees are not given sufficient training or the guidelines of using Yammer are not clear. Social networking applications provide many opportunities for hackers to infiltrate the corporation’s network. According to the testimony of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), there are many cyber security cases in the financial sector where companies lost their competitive advantage from the theft of intellectual property.[11] There were also cases where hackers leverage inside information to affect stock prices and profit from the company’s losses.
In addition, Organizations are unable to control proprietary content fully once it is on the Internet. Steinhart, who compiled Secure Computing’s research and has ten years of experience in technology media, stated that leakages can take place through any type of online collaboration tools. [12] He also mentioned that, when information leaks through Web 2.0 applications, third parties are capable of reusing and redistributing these corporate secrets and confidential information to the public. These Data breaches and confidential information leakages can severely affect the competitiveness of the company which in turn can cost the business its competitive edge.

Improper Use of Yammer by Employees

Since Enterprise Social Network technologies such as Yammer, serve as an open forum, it is essential for employees to pay attention to what they write and share on the network as it may offend other employees. Turban et al. also mentioned that when legal issues are involved, companies have the right to sue for their loss that is caused by employees’ inappropriate use of language, disclosure of confidential information, and delivery of misleading information.[13] Even though business can take action against employees it does not mean that the damage caused to the business will be easily repairable.

Internet Misuse Risk

Internet abuse is another growing concern that organizations have as the adoption of Yammer increases. As the Internet becomes a fundamental part of people’s lives, implementation of Internet technologies internally may cause employees to exploit this benefit for non-work activities. Employees’ involvement in online entertainment may affect their work performance and decrease the company’s overall productivity. Senior management should take concrete steps to avoid this problem.

Resistance from Generation and Cultural Gap

The older generations might have negative attitude toward the use of Yammer, as they may not be technologically-savvy. Researchers from Xavier University conducted a study where they interviewed the baby boomer generation about their perception of social networking. Most of the respondents were unfamiliar with social networking, in particularly Facebook. They also had the perception that Social Networking tools are difficult to learn and would threaten one’s privacy. These negative perceptions can make older employees or even senior management resistant to Yammer and making the implementation and adoption process complex.[14]

Regulatory Compliance Risk

Possibly the most complex risk surrounding Yammer, which is based on Cloud Computing, is the maintenance of regulatory compliance. This issue exists because varying jurisdictions have different requirements for where specific information can be stored; however, the nature of Yammer provides that information be stored in disperse locations (i.e. multinational) at any given time. In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, S.C. 2000 (PIPEDA), provides that notice must be given to customers if their information is to be located in foreign locations. This is to protect Canadians from foreign agencies whose laws are less stringent about notice requirements and information access.[15] For example, “the Patriot Act permits the U.S. federal government to seek a court order for disclosure of electronic records, often without permitting notice to the user”. Any violation of the PIPEDA could have significant legal consequences, thus, a Canadian based business, would need to address this issue before committing its customer information to any cloud service provider such as Yammer.

Companies Using Yammer

As of 2008, Yammer has over 800,000 users, in which 70,000 were corporate clients.[6] These companies look into the features and benefits that Yammer provides to expand their organizational scope and increase the employees’ productivity. Some example of corporate clients are: Xero, Xerox, and LG Electronics.


Xero: Computer Software Firm

Xero is a computer software firm that produces online accounting systems for small and midsized businesses. It was found in 2006 in New Zealand. Until 2012, Xero has developed into a multinational firm that has over hundred employees across four countries and ten cities. Its products are now available in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. [1]

As the company grows, collaboration has become a challenge for Xero. With the implementation of Yammer, employees are able to: [1]
• promote their initial spirit
• discuss features they are working on
• celebrate milestones and customer numbers
• share customer feedback to allow employees to make improvements on the existing products
• enhance company culture and strategies
• announce when products go live


Xerox is a multinational documentation management corporation that produces digital printing equipment and offers IT outsourcing services. As an international corporation, Xerox has 140,000 employees over the world. In 2010, Xerox acquired Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a worldwide company that provides IT services and business process outsourcing services to businesses. This action has made collaboration even harder for Xerox. [2]

The company began to implement Xerox in 2010 to improve its internal collaboration, coordination, and alignment. Some of the benefits Xerox gained through using Yammer: [3]
• Xerox is able to speed up its innovation process when employees are able to share ideas and experiences across the corporation.
• Yammer allowed both Xerox and ACS to merge their cultures and communications easier.
• Accelerate information gathering by shortening the wait time for responses through emails and phone calls.

LG Electronics

LG Electronics is a global electronics corporation that has five separate divisions: telecommunications, home appliances, home entertainment, air conditioning, and energy solutions. Being the second largest television manufacturer and fifth largest mobile phone maker worldwide, LG Electronics is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world with 91,045 employees as of 2011. [4] With nearly a hundred thousand employees located in 113 different offices across the globe, LG Electronics is capable of: [5]
• increasing its transparency and employees’ work performance through the use of Yammer.
• establishing real-time collaboration among the employees (employees are capable of increasing their work performance by saving three hours a week through quicker responses from colleagues)
• developing a value based training for new employees
• improving decision making skills (the faster the company makes decisions, the more effective the decisions will be)

Related Technologies & Competitors

Yammer has multiple competitors in its industry of enterprise social networks. This is because enterprise social networks have been proven to increase employee productivity and moral. There are multiple enterprise social networks available for consumers to choose from. [6] Two of the most common enterprise social networks other than Yammer are Clearvale by BroadVision and Podio by Citrix Systems.

BroadVision is a software vendor that offers self-service web applications such as enterprise social software, and CRM. It was founded by Pehong Chen in 1993. Clearvale is offered under a SaaS model just like Yammer. Just like Yammer, Clearvale offers a free version and a paid version. Clearvale could be accessed by any mobile device. [7] Clearvale is a new software system that is trying to gain market share from Yammer.


Citrix Systems is a multinational corporation that provides server and desktop virtualization, networking, SaaS, and cloud computing technologies. Citrix Systems was founded in 1989. One of the SaaS, that Citrix Systems offers is Podio, which is designed to be used as a social internet so that employees can communicate easily. Podio offers multiple different applications for specific uses. For example, Podio has a special application to help manage campaign projects, and people within the project[1]. Just like Yammer and Clearvale, Podio offers a free version for the corporation to try and a premium version that is more secure.

Yammer in Recent News

In July 2012, Microsoft announced that it has now officially completed the acquisition of Yammer. Microsoft paid $1.2 Billion for the acquisition of four year old enterprise social networking company. According to Microsoft, the company is looking forward to “accelerating the adoption of Yammer’s standalone service, and enhancing the social capabilities in Microsoft’s communication and collaboration offerings.” [2]

Gartner's Hype Cycle 2012

Gartner’s Hype Cycle is a chart created by Gartner to graphically depict the five different phases of the state of technology. These stages are: 1) Technology trigger 2)Peak of Inflation 3) Trough of Disillusionment 4) Slope of Enlightenment and 5) Plateau of Productivity. [3]

Yammer falls in the category of ‘Idea Management.’ The cycle then suggests that Yammer is still in stage 4) Slope of Enlightenment, but it will take less than 2 years for it to reach it’s plateau. Since Yammer contains private cloud computing, can also be in stage 2) Peak of Inflation, and therefore have 2-5 years left before plateauing. Therefore it can be argued that it is a combination of the two different technologies, and therefore actually falls within stage 3) Trough of Disillusionment, especially since it is being used now by more and more companies and not just by the early adopters of the technology.

Future of Yammer

Now that Microsoft owns Yammer, they plan to drop the price of using Yammer. Additionally, Microsoft is planning to deeply integrate Yammer with more Microsoft products such as SharePoint and Office365. Microsoft plans to make Yammer part of a combined communication strategy. Microsoft plans to package Yammer with Skype, SkyDrive, and Office products into one experience. Yammer used to offer three different networks, the free network, the business network, and the enterprise network. [4] The business network would cost $5 per user/month and the enterprise network would cost $15 per user/month[5]. However, Microsoft has reduced the three different networks into two. A free version called Yammer Basic and a paid version called Yammer Enterprise. Additionally, Yammer Enterprise will be offered with Office 365 Enterprise. Furthermore, Microsoft plans to drop Yammer’s price from $15 per user/month to $3 per user/month[4]. Microsoft believes that Yammer will help it benefit and Microsoft is willing to invest a lot of resources to increase its market share.


  1. https://company.podio.com/product
  2. http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/19/microsoft-completes-its-1-2b-yammer-acquisition/
  3. http://www.infoq.com/news/2012/08/Gartner-Hype-Cycle-2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/news/2206485/microsoft-to-reveal-yammer-integration-by-end-of-2012
  5. https://www.yammer.com/customers/
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