In this report, I have outlined the advantageous functionality of Yammer as well as how it could be used to solve common issues in modern day corporations.
The world of business is now more competitive than ever, and organisations are being forced to work harder, smarter and faster to stay relevant. In addition to this, technology has fundamentally changed the way people, and society at large, interact. To combat this, among other issues, there has been a recent ‘digital transformation’ trend where companies are increasingly looking to technology to improve communication, collaboration, efficiency and ultimately the bottom line. This is why Microsoft created Yammer (in Office 365) and below I will discuss the top reasons why you should be using Yammer in your organisation.
Before going into the details of how Yammer can benefit your business, you must first understand exactly what Yammer is, and what it hopes to achieve. The dictionary definition of Yammer is a ‘loud and sustained or repetitive noise’ and the software does live true to its name. In short, Yammer is a collaboration tool, or more technically an enterprise social network, that enables people to openly and securely share ideas and information. Also known as the workplace friendly version of Facebook (like, follow, join groups and share content), it is less formal, more social/modern and will help cut down on your company’s emails, getting to the source faster and with greater ease.
According to Microsoft, 85% of Fortune 500 companies use Yammer (6). Don’t rest on your laurels; be part of this digital transformation and read my top reasons below about why you should be using Yammer!
1. Internal Collaboration and Engagement
In my opinion, this is one of the most important reasons why you should be using Yammer right now! For all companies alike (big and small), communication is one of the most vital, and yet so difficult, things to get right. The larger the organization however, the more difficult and complex this becomes. Picture this scenario, you take a coffee break at a completely random time and happen – by chance – to bump into the right colleague or somebody you were looking to catch up with. The important thing to highlight here is that this event was all down to chance and nine times out of ten it wouldn’t be successful. What Yammer can provide for you is a platform where you can connect and follow colleagues and groups within your organisation so that you can stay up to date with the latest projects, news, interests and events as well as any common issues. On top of this, engagement is very easy, as you can use Yammer groups to ask questions and share ideas all the way from small teams and departments right up to companywide. A great example of this is Yammer’s ability to quickly engage with your company’s internal experts in communities and groups that are focused on specific tools, skills and capabilities. This interaction is in an open environment so, additionally, other employees can benefit, and the conversation can grow and strengthen with further inputs.
Yammer’s capabilities to connect with your employees is almost endless. A notable example is HR notifications and benefits. Instead of sharing this information on a weekly newsletter email – essentially a one-way communication channel – that most automatically delete, you can set up a group that enables conversation about the benefits. Since this would be open for all employees to join a diary/archive will start to form, ultimately streamlining the communication process and reducing confusion.
2. External Collaboration
Yammer cannot only improve your corporate communication internally, but its functionality enables an open dialogue with your external stakeholders (e.g. clients, vendors, contractors) too. In my opinion this extended communication capacity, within a single software package, is what sets Yammer apart from the competition. All of the benefits discussed in the section above (1. Internal Collaboration) also apply to external partners.
Another factor to consider is the power of this extended communication channel and the impact this could have on your creativity and innovation. By involving your external partners, you have essentially doubled the number of people to input ideas into the innovating process and as such increased the probability of improving your product or service.
3. Work seamlessly, wherever you are (seamless integration with Office 365)
Simply, if you already have Office 365 then Yammer is included for free! So why wouldn’t you take full advantage of it? Since Yammer is integrated into the Office 365 product, it can be used seamlessly and in conjunction with the other applications, such as Teams.
It is very important to consider and prepare for the future so that your company can predict and react to competition and market changes. With technology there has been a huge revolution/transformation within the last 20 years, where devices have become smaller and more mobile, and as such work and employees have become increasingly mobile too! Within the next decade I expect tablets and wearables to be the primary work devices and as such I cannot recommend more for you to adopt Yammer now! It does not limit you to one location or device, so it is very transportable, allowing you to work from anywhere.
This is something that I have already highlighted within the internal and external collaboration points, however due to its importance I thought discussion deserved its own separate section. To reinforce and reiterate the points previously made, Yammer allows you to start a discussion to find out the knowledge and expertise you need from the people within your organization that hold it. On top of asking questions, Yammer enables your employees to also make suggestions (e.g. team activities, events etc.) and tag colleagues – by @… them – so that they are notified about any advancements and when their input is required.
Yammer’s search function allows you and your employees to discover groups, colleagues, files, projects and conversations. Whatever it is that you’re looking for there will be a group or conversation about it on Yammer.
6. Efficient Information Sharing
Lastly, something that I have already touched upon but will expand on is Yammer’s capacity to accelerate the speed at which information is shared. The traditional method of sharing information, which is currently utilised by the vast majority of organisations is a top down communication strategy, where a senior employee will send a message to his team who will then pass this on to their own team and so on. Although this can be effective, it isn’t very fast and there is almost always a break down in communication by the time the information gets to the lower of the hierarchy: this can result in cultural issues and ultimately cause fractures within teams and hierarchy levels.
Yammer on the other hand enables a corporation to directly communicate to a specific section, or the whole of the organisation, with a single action – through the Yammer post. This functionality allows the user to decide on the scope to which they want their information to be shared: from an individual and single team to the entire corporation. Additionally, with Yammer the post only has to be submitted once and the information doesn’t need to be passed along a chain (as explained above in the top down approach). This results in a clear and intended message that is delivered efficiently.
To conclude this report, I think it is clear to see that Yammer can do a lot for your company, but there is one overriding reason why you should implement it into your technology strategy today: if you already have Office 365 Yammer is included completely for free! If that is not enough, consider the importance of communication (fundamental to Yammer development) to your business and its daily operation. I am almost certain that it is a cornerstone to your company’s success. In the technologically advanced society of today, innovation has given birth to an enormous opportunity to create which has resulted in vast choice for the consumer (you and me). However, it is this vast choice itself which has now become a problem today for many organisations and individuals. Think about the current collaboration tools you have in place, including email, chat, telephone as well as the vast library of others on offer. It can quickly become a mess! I believe that Yammer is the perfect solution to provide effective, efficient and powerful communication to your company today.