Cloud // Software as a Service
News
1/10/2012
05:13 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Yammer And The Freemium Trap

Suppose your organization doesn't want employees using an unsanctioned enterprise social network in the cloud. How do you shut it down?

10 Important Cloud Apps For SMBs
10 Important Cloud Apps For SMBs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Some organizations have an allergic reaction to Yammer, the cloud-based enterprise social network with the freemium business model.

Anyone can sign up for a free Yammer account, with nothing more than a verified email address at a particular domain. Yammer groups all of the free accounts that share an Internet domain into a private social network--a great collaboration option for lots of small businesses and some larger ones. The company behind the domain only has to sign up as a paying customer if it wants to assert administrative control over that collaboration space. That's how it worked when Supervalu adopted Yammer as the grocery chain's enterprise social network. A group of employees started using the tool on an ad hoc basis, the company's CEO found out about it and saw the possibilities, and the unofficial collaboration environment became the official internal social network.

On the other hand, some CIOs and other company leaders see this as a problem. They find out after the fact that employees are collaborating and discussing all sorts of company business on an unsanctioned cloud service. When they learn the only way they can get administrative control over this environment is to sign up for a commercial account, they are pissed.

Suppose I don't want a commercial account, I just want to shut this thing down? Yammer's official response is that I can't do that--as far as they are concerned, these are a bunch of individual accounts that just happen to share a common email domain.

I know this because I discovered that there is a Techweb Yammer group associated with my email address (dcarr@techweb.com), populated by other employees of the Techweb division of our company who at some point were curious enough to sign up for an account. It looks semi-official, but it's a rogue social network with no official standing. I also used this example as part of my presentation for a BYTE webinar on "The Rise of Social Networks in the Enterprise".

Our parent company UBM has an corporate social network based on Jive, but as far as I can tell has made no particular effort to shut down the Yammer alternative. Nor do they need to. Because all of our employees and all of the most active discussions are on the official collaboration environment, this Yammer instance is a sleepy backwater, mostly forgotten even by the people who do have accounts.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
SMUKHERJEE2102
50%
50%
SMUKHERJEE2102,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 1:00:55 PM
re: Yammer And The Freemium Trap
Yammer is a good product, and in future business social networks like ApnaCircle, Viadeo etc will need to follow its path towards gaining more acceptance in the corporate world, besides exploring this area of revenue generation!
FZEBITZ250
50%
50%
FZEBITZ250,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 11:12:51 AM
re: Yammer And The Freemium Trap
Thank you, that is good to hear.
JMATKINSE14
50%
50%
JMATKINSE14,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 10:28:09 AM
re: Yammer And The Freemium Trap
That's not true, In the Freemium version users are allowed to remove people who have left the organisation from their network
FZEBITZ250
50%
50%
FZEBITZ250,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 8:12:04 AM
re: Yammer And The Freemium Trap
An onther issue with the freemium account is that when an employee leaves a company he can still access the company Yammer-feed. Seen from a company perspective this can be quite scary, if some of your employees are to join your competitor, but still have access to all the information shared. In that case all you can do as a CIO is to hope that Yammer is only used for social talk and not business.
Cynthia B
50%
50%
Cynthia B,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 7:25:47 AM
re: Yammer And The Freemium Trap
Benefits of Yammer aside, if a company does not want its employees on Yammer, all that the company needs to do is send an email to the employees banning Yammer, and then have someone - let's call him Bob the Destroyer - join @unfuncompany.com's network. Bob the Destroyer's job is to take names. You post to Yammer, you get fired.

I imagine that such an approach would swiftly kill the offending Yammer network.
Lawrence De Voe
50%
50%
Lawrence De Voe,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2012 | 9:52:25 PM
re: Yammer And The Freemium Trap
I can understand where these concerns are coming from, but in my own experience, Yammer's Freemium offering was a huge benefit. The model allowed us to run Yammer in pilot mode at no cost when we were considering an Enterprise Social Media platform for our business (and the momentum our Pilot created carried us forward through a successful Premium rollout).

There are a lot of technologies like this out there that can be misused: personal cell phones, iPads, email, photocopiers, Facebook, Google+, Dropbox, YouSendIt, etc. As a technology leader, if you discover that a significant segment of your business is deriving value from an unsanctioned technology offering, you've uncovered an opportunity. Either you have a corporate alternative in place and you have a chance to migrate these users into the corporate fold, or you have stakeholders and sponsors for a new project to help make your business more successful. The business landscape today is full of opportunities like this for us to do better as technology leaders.
DSACKS941
50%
50%
DSACKS941,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2012 | 6:47:59 PM
re: Yammer And The Freemium Trap
Hi David - We appreciate your perspective on this, but as you could probably tell from your conversation with Wayne Shurts of SuperValu (http://bit.ly/zw23jV), CIOs are beginning to recognize that social is different. It requires voluntary participation -- you can't force people to share. Our customers understand that there is a huge benefit to having your employees organically choose and adopt their internal social network since their voluntary and enthusiastic participation is the key to success. We have countless examples of customers who have embraced this, including a large online retailer whose IT executives allowed employees to choose between Yammer and their existing solution (they chose Yammer). One of our largest customers initially chose a Yammer competitor but came to us two years later after millions of dollars and significant time spent in a failed attempt to push engagement. Because a voluntary Yammer network in a different geography was thriving, they came back to Yammer and ended up rolling it out company-wide on a short timeline with great success. You may remember that in 2010, Gartner predicted over 70 percent of IT-mandated social media initiatives will fail (http://www.gartner.com/it/page.... CIOs now see voluntary (viral) adoption as a way to set up a social initiative for success and the freemium model as a great way to de-risk the value proposition for them so they don't have to pay anything until the adoption of the product in their enterprise is proven.

Regards,

David Sacks
CEO, Yammer
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
ITSM as we know it is dead. SaaS helped kill it, and CIOs should be thankful. Hereís what comes next.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.