Yesterday Yammer announced its acquisition of real time sync and desktop collaboration vendor oneDrum. This is Yammer's first acquisition and one that significantly increases Yammer's depth in facilitating social collaboration. Yammer provides a popular employee social network platform that is sold in the freemium model and has until now, expanded its footprint through a series of strategic partnerships that most recently include Ultimate Software. In these partnerships Yammer forms the social backbone or system of relationship for other key business systems from ERP to HCM.
With oneDrum Yammer adds seamless real time synchronization from any yammer connected device and a very important set of collaboration functions. One of the most difficult problems in the emerging collaborative enterprise is facilitating joint work around a document, spreadsheet, powerpoint, etc. Often teams try to use email as a proxy for a collaboration solution, which is definitely sub optimal and often ends in frustration caused by a versioning nightmare. Content management systems have tried to help with this problem and while they are fine with versioning they are not adept at the actual process of collaboration, that is, getting people together in real time to "do" the work. The only tool in widespread use that I've seen so far for this activity is Google Docs. Now while the functionality is excellent there are many inherent problems in using a consumer tool inside the enterprise, not the least of which is that it is generally being done with out corporate IT knowledge and with a high degree of IP and security risks. Of course some companies do use Google Docs as an approved enterprise productivity tool, which removes the security issues, but does not provide an integrated social experience. Yammer + oneDrum solves the security issues AND provides an integrated social communication and collaboration tool, with joint, real time work capabilities all integrated into the companies social network. The new features, which will be available this summer as a client download (no Microsoft Office plug-in required), will include:
Sync: Access Yammer files through a desktop folder that includes a sub-folder for each Yammer group.
- Users can drag and drop files into the shared folder to sync with all group folders
- Shared folders are automatically provisioned when a user joins a new group and disappear when the user leaves (or is removed from) the group.
- Users can open files from the Yammer desktop folder and work on them in their native applications all with real time automatic sync. This includes offline capabilities as well.
- Find: Each Yammer file lives at a unique URL (or permalink) where it can be viewed in the browser, followed, shared and discussed including automatic notification of changes. This works across any Yammer supported device
- Real time Collaboration: Employees can work collaboratively inside a Word, PowerPoint or Excel file added to the Yammer desktop folder.
- Security: Data in motion will be encrypted using 256-bit SSL/TLS and data at rest will be encrypted using 256-bit AES. Content can be marked read only and there is a version history. Viewing permissions are based on group access, so when a user is removed from a group or network, access to files is revoked accordingly.
This is only the first round of functionality so it will be interesting to see what else can be done with the integrated products after this summer's release.