Having actively avoided the social media water cooler prior to this year (aside from an obligatory presence on LinkedIn), I am fascinated by the value proposition of Yammer – the enterprise social media platform acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion.
Warning – View this promotional video only if you want to know exactly nothing about Yammer and have cleared all sharp objects from a radius of 50 meters.
I cannot fault the following comment left by a gentle YouTube viewer.
My informal survey of job postings shows that Yammer has yet to entrench itself in the workplace. Typing in “Yammer” in the search bar of Monster.com (with no geographic constraints) returned 307 hits. Conversely, typing in Excel, Sharepoint, Facebook, Tableau, and Minitab all returned 1000+ hits. Limiting the geographic search to Philadelphia, PA returns 1000+ hits for Excel, 448 for; Sharepoint, 304 for Facebook, 285 for Tableau, 35 for Minitab, and 4 for Yammer.
So, why won’t this dawg hunt?
I sense two fundamental reasons slowing Yammer adoption: one on the supply side, the other on the demand.
Microsoft embedded Yammer in Office 365 applications, but has come under fire for doing little to improve the user experience over the last five years. In addition, it’s not entirely clear how Yammer in-and-of-itself adds significant benefit beyond other collaboration platforms; some of which are also offered by Microsoft (i.e., Sharepoint and Teams). Within the Microsoft product portfolio, it feels as though Yammer has become a solution in search of a problem. With their $1.2 billion acquisition in 2012, Microsoft effectively neutralized the potential threat – the heavy lifting has been done.
On demand side, businesses either have to be ready for a collaboration tool such as Yammer or grow into it. A spot check of Yammer case studies housed by Featured Customers lends insight into some use-case scenarios where Yammer can carve out a raison d’etre. I am encouraged by the reports of airline employees (British Airways and KLM) that have used it to feed back operational and customer service issues to corporate headquarters and the quick-turn corrective actions that took place as a result. These cases highlight two key points: a) the front-line employees cared enough to raise a flag, and b) someone at corporate cared enough to be paying attention to the feed. Both of these are testament to corporate culture; one in which the tool found a unique and useful purpose. (I speculate that no amount of Yammer would make pets any safer on United!)
What’s your firm’s take on Yammer? Drop me a line – I’d be keen to hear it!