Yammer – Putting the Cart before the Horse?
Is Microsoft’s Yammer a push for social or a hammer over the heads of customers stating we will indeed use Yammer? According to Jared Spataro, who heads the Office Division at Microsoft called it Microsoft’s ‘big bet’ for social. That may very well be. Only time will tell. The newest change – at least that I know of – is the ability to replace the SharePoint News Feed with the Yammer News Feed. Pretty innocuous. Over time the plan is to combine social, collaboration, email, instant messaging, voice, video, and line of business applications. That is assuming customers are willing to participate in a multi-tenant cloud service.
So what’s my point? Right now, social is not a high priority with customers, nor is it necessarily embraced by typical upper management. At the other end of the spectrum user adoption is a huge problem. I believe that you cannot compare a ‘consumers’ use of social to a ‘business’ use of social. In a previous blog I received a lot of great comments on LinkedIn commenting on within the walls of a company, end users do not behave the same as they do outside of those four walls. That change will take time. I participated in an independent Yammer group of topic experts just to get the feel of it – and one day a participant asked if they could start a different group as there was too much noise going on. The same can actually more easily happen within the organization. For this person, over time it was losing value.
Being from the ‘old school’ I still don’t see the ROI. Maybe there isn’t meant to be one. It is just a transition step to get us from where we are today to where the Microsoft’s of the world want us to be in the future. Although I still say show me the ROI, increase my rate of adoption, and prove the value. Let’s put the horse in front of the cart and not behind it.