First of all, I’m not a doomsday thinker and I like working with Yammer. Now that I have made that clear, I can elaborate on why I think Yammer’s success might become its downfall.
For those of you who don’t know what Yammer is, it is “a private social network that helps you and your company stay on top of it all. Yammer collaboration software and business applications allow you to get connected to the right people, share information across teams and organize around projects so you can go further – faster.” or as I like to call it “Facebook for enterprises”. There, I said it! Please don’t sue me!
Why is Yammer so successful?
Easy, if you look at it from a business owners perspective, it is “easy” to implement and to integrate with SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics CRM, …. , it is secure (or so they think) and it is cheap (if you take the free version). From an users perspective Yammer is intuitive and easy to use. Furthermore it allows easy and fast communication.
Why might this success become its downfall?
Yammer lacks a proper security and administration model. This is making it for an admin or a community manager almost impossible to manager or guide the network. Take this example from the “Yammer Admin Best Practices” group on the “Office 365 network” on Yammer:
The admin has no possibility what so ever to stop this kind of Yammer madness. He can’t stop, move or delete these kind of unwanted messages.
In its core it wants as many users as possible and to reach its goal it tries to lower every possible boundary. Yammer allows to invite almost every possible email address you can think off and is growing so fast that the company can’t keep up with possible questions and concerns uttered by the Yammer users.
Yammers apps are cool and fun, but have potential side effects. Yammer allows third parties to create their own app and connect it with Yammer, but this also allows these apps access to the network your company is using to share company information. So you better think twice before you allow an app to connect with your network.
Should you integrate Yammer with CRM Online?
Whereas the first integrations between Yammer and CRM Online were quite cumbersome, the integration has been simplified in a good way. Nonetheless this does not mean you should integrate both systems without thinking it over, an opinion shared by the people over at Imason and formulated in a clear way;
1) Performance: There is a performance penalty on nearly every page waiting for the Yammer embed feed to load. You will eventually start tearing your hair out waiting for it. You’ll notice Yammer integration in O365 is much more subtle and only loads if you need it, via a bar on the right hand side of the screen. Not so in CRM Online.
2) Usability: It doesn’t make simple use cases simple. Let’s say a sales person has a question about an account – your typical ‘does anyone know Bob and Company X’? One way to ask that question in CRM Online. 1) Login. 2) Sales -> Accounts -> Find Account -> Click Account -> Wait for the page to load -> type question in. Steps to ask that question directly in Yammer. 1) Login. 2) Type question, target sales group. Which is incidentally the same way you’d ask that question via the Yammer mobile app if you are on the go. Good luck trying to use CRM Online mobile to ask a question in Yammer.
Yammer is great for in-house communication, but still needs a lot of work to be securely connected with other systems. You could integrate it with CRM Online, but you should be aware of the performance consequences in CRM and you should consider the usability for end users.