Yammer came to market as a business version of a microblogging environment, like Twitter, but has layered on features for group discussions, file management, and application integration.
Yammer is a widely used social collaboration platform because a basic version of the product is available for free. Yammer's freemium model allows it to take advantage of the viral growth patterns associated with consumer applications, meaning that employees who find it useful can easily invite their coworkers into the network without worrying about licensing fees or administrative overhead. Anyone with a verified email address associated with the company domain can join this social workgroup.
CIOs of large organizations often find out after the fact that thousands of employees have joined a Yammer network and are actively collaborating there. They then must choose whether to endorse Yammer as an official collaboration system and become paying customers to get administrative control over it, tolerate Yammer as an unofficial resource (but set guidelines for its use), or try to shut it down.
Paying customers get greater administrative control, including the ability to include accounts from more than one company email domain and synchronization with Active Directory, ensuring that the accounts of former employees are automatically deactivated along with their corporate profiles.
Of those organizations that have decided to embrace Yammer, some like the Supervalue grocery chain have capitalized on its cloud delivery model to simplify delivery of the application across sprawling organizations.