Yammer is more and it is less than Twitter. Yammer is ‘Twitter for inside your company’. I private micro-blogging status update service that only works with your colleagues at work.
Your identity is based around your official company email. While Yammer is a web-based service, rather than something you install on your company network, it is only accessible to you and your signed-up colleagues – updates and information do not appear on the world wild web and will not show up on Google. It’s private and secure.
So Yammer feels like the solution for teams, groups and departments inside the company, behind the firewall. Yammer may well be an easy way to get social media into a corporation without risk of public exposure and with a reduced risk of upsetting anyone (caused by poor choice of words).
So how could I justify Yammer to my boss?
I feel that Yammer and ‘yammering’ could help a great many people in our company, perhaps 20% or so, to keep in touch, get engaged and know more about what’s going on.
I also feel that Yammer could be a valuable communications channel for the Internal Communications team, so I must discuss it with my manager.
But there’s a cost of course.
Yammer can be used for free, but there are no administrative tools unless your company (not the individuals) chooses to pay for all accounts. Yammer charges on a per person per month basis. At £1.83 ($3) per person per month the cost is neither small nor in any way large for a big company.
What if it became popular? What if, even with tight admin, the costs spiralled each year? What about ‘dead accounts’?
Beyond the modest financial ramifications is the culture shift concern. While I would of course suggest rolling Yammer out through obvious small teams first, teams and departments we know and can talk to, getting ‘everyone’ involved with Yammer could bring the house down on us.
People will ask why we’re wasting time and money on something so facile. Time spent yammering could be judged to be time spent skiving.
The obvious comparison is Instant Messaging around the office. IM provides ample opportunity to ask quick questions, get things done quickly and co-ordinate a group of people when time and timing is of the essence. But IM can become overly conversational to the point that it’s distracting, too personal and a waste of working time.
(Yes, many people work during working time; not everyone eats, drinks, chats about their children / new house or gossips about what Jack was saying to Moniker in that last design meeting…)
I don’t think Yammer should replace Instant Messaging; conversations and fact checking / instruction giving should still be done by email / phone / IM I think, but you can see how the time wastage concern is for both Yammer and IM. Time is money, and some people are really really busy and don’t like to see people ‘idly’ social media-ing.
So how shall I demonstrate the benefits of Yammer, and how shall I justify the financial and time cost?
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