Is your NetSuite Driven Business Ready for the Power of Yammer?

Yammer Enterprise Social Networking:In 2011, Yammer, the Enterprise Social Networking Platform, dropped some big news at NetSuite’s annual SuiteWorld event: that it was now integrated with NetSuite.  Launched in 2008, Yammer paved the way for a new kind of thinking about social networking, and has grown to be used by more than 80% of the Fortune 500 companies.  The idea behind Yammer was a simple but provocative one – take the day-to-day interactions and idea-sharing that are occurring somewhat publicly on Facebook, and move them to a more private social network to be used by businesses.

Yammer’s next step now is to integrate with other business software systems. Enter NetSuite.  Indeed, NetSuite is fundamentally Cloud-based which is the architecture supporting social networking.  The fact that Yammer partnered with and is compatible with NetSuite attests to the power of the NetSuite platform.  Yammer’s API is the  way to connect other systems to the Yammer activity stream.  Think of the activity stream as a threaded conversation.    Yammer will be presenting an alternative to Salesforce.com’s Chatter, further expanding the scope of its social network.

Yammer’s proposition is a simple one – streamlined business communications.  If you’ve read my articles on the benefits of a combined CRM and ERP system, you already know that business communications tend to break down between the marketing team, the sales team, the fulfillment team, and the accounting team. Yammer employs the same kind of thinking as the NetSuite platform – essentially, making it so that all the various employees using different apps can collaborate. That means that one team using a finance app, and another using an HR app such as the ADP Payroll system, will now have the capacity to speak to each other and share data. Yammer will take all the various members of an organization and allow them to share communications, data, spreadsheets, thoughts, events, and more – in one simple system.

Here is a good video of how Yammer is making a difference for the American Automobile Association (AAA).  The idea is that conversation can be more natural than email.  Enterprise social networking can illustrate the informal rings of communities within a company which illustrate centers of influence.  Imagine a company that is acquiring other companies and seeks to integrate teams together.  What a powerful way, especially for geographically dispersed individuals, to connect and identify with common custom concerns;  these social networking tools help mesh different cultures together by producing conversation.

The difference with Enterprise Social Networking and Public Social Networking is the boundaries that are placed on the dialogue.  Individuals need to feel safe to express themselves authentically.  Yammer makes a big point about security.  Enterprise level tools give administrators the power to allow communication to be guided, free-form, and open; or locked up as necessary.  Ultimately, Enterprise Social Networking tools adapt to unique concerns of each organization.

One pitch that Yammer likes to make is how their Enterprise Social Networking tools bring information together.  The  offer is similar to firms that propose data warehouse solutions.  All of this, in my mind, is a function of “best of breed systems” that may have been avoided if a single architecture was adopted.  See my article about this phenomenon.  Nevertheless, Yammer’s point is important:  traditional business system tools do not support unstructured conversation that spontaneously emerges as situations change.  I think they make a good offer and are well suited for companies that have adopted NetSuite’s fully-integrated CRM and ERP.

Enterprise social media is definitely a space to watch.  As we continue to see employees use personal devices for work reasons, and continue to become accustomed to the LinkedIns and Facebooks of the world, the workplace is rapidly becoming more personal and dynamic. As with all social media, there will be concerns around security and the access to privileged data.  One thing we can count on; people like to talk and social media tools simply amplify our capacity to express ourselves in business and personal life.

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Marty Zigman

Holding all three official certifications, Marty is Southern California's NetSuite expert and leads a team of senior professionals at Prolecto Resources, Inc. He is a former Deloitte & Touche CPA and has held CTO roles. For over 25 years, Marty has produced leadership in ERP, CRM and eCommerce business systems. Contact Marty to setup a conversation.

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2 Comments

  1. Ira
    Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marty,

    Excellent article. With Yammer being a communications hub, are there any considerations to link with Ribbit, or a transcription platform such as Dragon?

    Also, in being a new NetSuite client by next month, what modules would Yammer replace?

    Thanks Much,
    Ira

  2. Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ira,

    I see these as independent platforms:

    1. Ribbit now has evolved but the vision was to add telephony to business application. We leveraged one of their APIs to get at the transcription of the voicemail. See some of our work here: http://blog.prolecto.com/2009/04/22/voice-enabled-netsuite/ The good news is this is now becoming more prevalent.

    2. Dragon, is more about text transcription services from the client, not from a telephone service. Hence, it is about the input side to get speech-to-text.

    I envision a business platform that captures all of our speech communications and indexes it. Yes, I am way out there, but when I see the way most sales people work, they want to talk (speech) and “google” what they previously said. They don’t want to get heads down into data entry. We have a ways to go.

    What kind of things do you plan to do in NetSuite?

    Marty

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