Yammer, now a division of Microsoft, opened its YamJam user conference Monday with the announcement of an Enterprise Graph model for social application integration, as well as deeper application integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and cloud applications including GoodData, WorkSimple, Kudos and Salesforce.com.
"More and more apps are building in social features, but they're all disconnected, so you wind up with a dozen mini-social networks," Yammer co-founder David Sacks said in his keynote presentation. Yammer's goal is "not just how to enable all apps to be social but also to solve this problem of social network sprawl," he said.
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Components of the Enterprise Graph include:
-- Embeddable feeds. Yammer now offers embeddable feeds for virtually any business object, such as a record, document, opportunity or other piece of data. Previously, Yammer offered embeddable feeds only for Groups and individual profiles. Yammer says these object feeds will put conversations about business data in context.
-- Embeddable Follow and Like buttons for "virtually any application."
-- Yammer Pages that function like personal profiles, except for business objects. Pages show recent activity, followers and conversations. Using Yammer Embed, the same information can appear on the business object’s Web page in the original application.
-- App Directory for third-party applications that take advantage of the Yammer platform.
The new Yammer Pages product is completely different from the Pages product Yammer introduced last year, an online document editor now being renamed Yammer Notes.
Now, Yammer Pages are more like Facebook Pages, in that they are structured similarly to personal profiles with their own feeds of conversations and activities. The Dynamics CRM integration Yammer announced allows Yammer Pages to be created automatically for each customer or opportunity record, with social conversations about that account mirrored between Yammer and Dynamics.
Although he used Dynamics as an example, Sacks said the same capability is available to other non-Microsoft applications that integrate with Yammer. Jeff Teper, a corporate VP with Microsoft's Office platform division, was on hand to assure customers that Yammer will be able to continue to function as an independent platform, even as Microsoft weaves it into its social networking infrastructure.
Sue Landry, a Gartner analyst who appeared at the event, agreed that social will be "one of the primary forces shaping the future of IT and how business gets done," although it's really the "nexus" of social, mobile, cloud and Big Data technologies that are driving the broader transformation. Increasingly, social will be an integrated part of all the applications we use to get our work done, rather than a separate portal or application we go to for our enterprise social networking activities, she said. The goal should be a fluid experience for users that avoids the construction of social silos. "We're going to see an evolution from a standalone social environment to one that is augmented and part of the organization," Landry said.
Yammer also introduced new security and integration partners:
-- Okta, the on-demand identity and access management service.
-- Smarsh, a cloud-based message archiving and compliance service.
-- Symantec's Clearwell eDiscovery Platform, allowing administrators to export Yammer data directly into Clearwell, where it is aggregated with data from other enterprise systems for ease of discovery.
In addition, Yammer said it will support the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), aligning with the industry standard for providing security in electronic discovery products and services.
Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)