Yammer: A New Social Intranet
Keeping agency personnel up to speed about the changes that happen day-to-day is a challenge. Yammer is a Web-based product that adapts Twitter’s approach to feeds and applies it to an organization. The goal is to improve workplace communication and collaboration by providing a forum where workers can share information, pose questions, get answers, and build connections in a simple, secure, and private environment.
Nibby Priest at Vaughn Insurance currently uses Yammer in his office, similar to the way some use an intranet. For example, when insurance companies have rule changes or procedure changes, anyone can “yammer” a short message to everyone with the information and attach any pertinent files.
They use hashtags to identify companies. Hashtags are inline tags that allow people to search for tweets that have a common topic; you create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash (or pound) symbol: #hashtag. For example, “Yammer provides an excellent way to search for all #Safeco Auto changes.”
To complement Yammer, Vaughn Insurance uses Instant Messaging (IM) to share messages such as “Going to the bank” (sent as a group message) or “Your client Mr. Jones is in the conference room waiting for you” (sent to an individual). Things that need immediacy and are irrelevant within a few hours or days are usually done via IM.
Yammer recently announced a redesign that will include Facebook-type features to provide a social platform for agency personnel to communicate and collaborate. A free version, as well as two paid service levels, are available.