Has Yammer hit the mark?

14 09 2008

A fellow employee* sent me a link to Yammer recently. Yammer is a well-endowed Twitter for the enterprise — online app, Blackberry app, iPhone app, email, SMS, all the features. I am trying it out and it’s great but there are some serious questions that I think will prove fatal without good answers:

As Julie Delaforce points out on Laurel’s post about Yammer, the site is silent on “security and how they guarantee that only people on your email network are able to access your posts.” Also what are they guaranteeing in terms of up-time? For $1 per employee per month, these are questions you’d want answers to as the amounts aren’t trivial for a company with thousands of employees.

Also, who owns the data? A company might have an obligation to retain messages. How do I get my messages out of Yammer? In a presentation captured on Ustream (thanks, Laurel), the CEO of Genie, makers of Yammer, talks about Yammer replacing email for some uses. That makes it a key knowledge tool, which mandates a need for backups. Genie is a 30-person start-up, it might not be here tomorrow. What of my data if it isn’t?

What about interrogating the data the way I want to. There are ways to search Yammer now and use tags but, if I were rolling this out to 3,000 people, I’d want to decide how I was going to search and organise the data. That will presumably come with the api but until then…

* I’d hat tip but company policy prohibits public acknowledgement of thought leadership in order to protect employee privacy — you know who you are and thank you.




5 responses

14 09 2008
Dane Glerum

Agreed there are questions that need to be answered. I think we’ll be seeing more information on Yammer in the near future as interest continues to rise.

The service is good, but as you mention for $1 per employee per month you could develop something internally or look at outsourcing. However, then you run the gauntlet of managing stakeholder demands with the artistic integrity of the solution. Something that can very quickly bring even to most innovative idea to a standstill.

Keep us updated with your experiences 🙂

15 09 2008
More on Twitter - Ambient Awareness « From the Tram

[…] plenty of buzz in the blogosphere and twitterverse. It is deffinately one to watch, but as Steven Lewis points out, there are a few questions that must be answered before it gets picked up in a big […]

24 09 2008
Julie Delaforce

Hi, just stumbled across this, thanks for the mention ;o)

2 10 2008
David Sacks

Thanks for writing about Yammer. In answer to your questions, the company owns the data, not Yammer. A company can export all of its data via the Yammer API, which is now available.

You can read more on Yammer’s security practices here:

15 01 2011

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