Using Yammer for Enterprise Collaboration
Using e-mail as your only way to communicate with colleagues is already old-hat. And, if you’re using external messaging apps to communicate with co-workers, you’re at risk of a security breach. So, what can you do about it?
Yammer started out as an Intranet communication application, but has now been reconfigured and further developed into a private social network that can be used within an enterprise network environment. It’s a SAAS (software as a service) option, and that means all that is necessary is to sign up and pay for the service have a solid Internet connection, and then you have it, Yammer within your internal network. There’s no need to upgrade your network’s hardware, though you may have to configure some software settings. Yammer’s own support team can help you with that.
Think of it as a sort of Facebook social network, but restricted to your company’s workforce and it has all the permissions and access layers that should be part of the security of the internal network.
Isn’t that hip, having a social network in a business structure? Yammer expands on e-mail functionality by putting group collaboration within the context of social networking features, and modernized file-sharing protocols.
Here are a few of Yammer’s unique and cool features:
Messaging – Yammer has expanded messaging capability within enterprise social networks with its Myfeed, a microblogging tool, plus group messaging and private chat. This additional capability allows for multiple layers of publication: company-wide, project groups, and on-on-one communication.
Tagging – Tagging takes on a different meaning in an enterprise setting, as it allows you to “mark” conversations for future reference.
Leaderboard – Yammer can filter conversations in business-oriented ways, such as with Share, Ask, Praise, Event, or Poll settings and archive them for later reference.
Home Network – This feature is for creating internal company networks, from company-wide or to project- or team-specific groups for faster collaboration and communication.
External Networking – Yammer also provides the ability to add external people into Intranet conversations, groups, and other activities.
Information – Wiki-style pages can be generated to create FAQs that can be used for internal or external use. Files can also be shared with permission layers. Documents can also be annotated for group collaboration, similar to other whiteboard document apps.
Calendar – This is probably one of the most important Yammer tools for an internal business network – the software integrates with Google, iCal, Outlook, and Yahoo scheduling.
Desktop and Mobile Apps – Yammer includes a stand-alone messager app for desktop PCs that can keep conversations going. There is a similar mobile app for iOS, Windows, and Android mobile platforms. Yammer can connect to internal feeds, notifications and messaging functions.
Collaboration enhancement benefits
Improved team communication – Teams are able to expand beyond e-mail and face-to-face meetings for routine communication. Yammer allows for real-time communication (open group discussions, file-sharing, and project updates), regardless of team member location.
Collaboration and efficacy – With the speed and efficiency of real-time discussions and file sharing people don’t have to wait for formal meetings to align with each other. Immediate discussion saves time and this leads to faster project completion.
Informal resources – As company-wide social networks become entrenched in the company’s work culture, it will be easier to contact certain people who may be knowledge bases for particular resources. Allowing other employees to reference each other for particular knowledge bases saves schedule.
Social interaction as team building – Increased social interaction can also lead to an informal but very effective form of team building, both from the small-scale (within teams), to large scale (departments or company-wide). This encourages a productive atmosphere, if properly guided, and can lead to less awkward situations when teams may come into conflict with each other for resources or deadlines. Informal conversations can also help in preventing minor issues from growing into major concerns.
Employee engagement – Social networking becomes a way for the employee to feel the concept of a workplace family, which, in turn, can lead to enhanced productivity overall.
As noted, Yammer is a great social networking tool for enterprise environments and its capabilities can positively impact a company’s bottom line, from production speed, to human resource issues and even knowledge base fusion.