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This is my personal blog which I began in February 2001. I called it The Obvious? when I wrote anonymously and chose the name to reflect the fact I have to overcome my inhibitions about stating the obvious!

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Thursday
Sep062012

Musing about Yammer and Sharepoint

I know this will come as a shock to many of you - to hear me expressing an opinion about technology and on top of that recommending a Microsoft solution - but it occurred to me that the combination of Yammer and Sharepoint might just be the best thing for people trying to make social happen in their businesses. 

I have been wary of the platform solutions like Jive and Tibbr for some time. They feel over engineered and over complicated - trying to do everything. I reckon users find interfaces that try to do too much confusing and that keeping things simple really matters. Being new to most businesses these platforms also take a lot of investment of time and money, requiring considerable effort to sell to your bosses worried about integration and security issues. 

In contrast Yammer and Sharepoint make sense for a couple of big reasons. You still have the issue about using Yammer's servers but most IT departments are comfortable with Microsoft so you won't have to fight all the battles necessary to convince them to go with something new. You will also satisfy those who feel the need to manage and control. They can be kept busy fighting with Sharepoint while you can get on with generating viral fun in Yammer.

Maybe at some stage in the future Microsoft will make the two tools join up usefully but it doesn't really matter. You will have got going, generated some energy, and hopefully shifted the culture in the meantime - and for a lot less pain than might be the case otherwise.

I nearly didn't post this because I am genuinely not that interested in the tools and if you can make things happen using Jive or Tibbr then that is much better than them not happening at all. I just found it interesting that the combination of Yammer and Sharepoint might have become the lightweight, trojan mouse, alternative.

Reader Comments (4)

I think that when you're inside an organisation it's best to just make the most of whatever tools you have.

I made my first unofficial team intranet in 1997 using Microsoft Personal Web Server which was inadvertently left on my machine despite everything else in the environment being heavily locked down.

Now, what I put on that intranet, what information people got from it and what effect it had on the corporate information systems are insignificant compared with the change it made in me to know that I was capable of running a web server and the kudos I got among the few other web-savvy people in the organisation who were equipped to find out what I was doing and who were experimenting with the same things themselves.

As you say, it got me going, it generated energy and it shifted the culture just a tiny tiny bit.

September 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd

I think a lot of people have been choosing that path (and not just in combination with SharePoint, although its very common) but unfortunately its still not a guaranteed approach.

I'd like to think its all about working out what the path of least resistance is, so that people can start to talk to each other. Sometimes its simply about using what you have on hand but shifting from being open to closed by exception.

BTW SharePoint 2013 will have basic Yammer-like capabilities, but organisations will still need to choose to turn them on.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Dellow

Yep - "organisations will still need to choose to turn them on" - is the rub. Plenty of battles to fight even with the "easier" option.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEuan

Initially I was opposed to platforms - the command and control aspect was my biggest barrier... the environments seemed forced. Yet realizing that many use open-source for their own connectivity efforts I saw that they took to Yammer quickly but ultimately I'd rather employees have a free range mentality. What the internal tool use does though is create an environment within the platform to promote Personal Knowledge Management efforts, to help employees better use their own tool sets for personal development not just for the benefit of the organization. Through Yammer I could help people see their own tools as not just social for social sake but for continuous learning and productivity. Yammer and other Enterprise 2.0 can serve as a positive gateway drug of sorts.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermark britz

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