Friday, October 11, 2013

Chatter vs Yammer - Corporate Collaboration

With Baby Boomers, Gen X'ers and Millennials using social media to post pictures of Grandma's beer chugging contest on the Fourth of July with her son and rock and roll grandson, it is no wonder that the work place is also becoming more socially connected. Enter tools like Yammer and Chatter. Specific teams and cross-functional teams looking to connect into each other's respective silos is now finally possible (great? Um, I guess). Finding information is also easier with the myriad of search and tagging options. We can now SEE ALL... Although it is enticing to use these features, I've wondered if there existed a good review of these apps and how/when to use them?

The first question an organization must ask itself is: what do we really want to share (or do we want a culture of sharing)? Here's a simple matrix to give you some thought...
If this is your org, and you believe in it, you need to enforce and encourage it!

When you decide if/when your organization is ready and you are willing foster adoption, it is time to take either the red (chatter) or blue (yammer) pill... And now for my amazing opinion...

I've used Yammer at two organizations now... One, where we barely used the social collaboration solution, and another where we use it a lot. The features we use:
  1. Posting content (images, video, docs)
  2. Commenting about content
  3. Limited use of polling features or badges
  4. Some use of group creation
  5. Great use of search features... 
Some great features, but nothing that really strikes me as that great (see my Chatter comparison). From what I see, most, if not all, of the internal communication comes from postings about people's dogs, houses, weekend, travel or random copy/paste of links from other sources (the occasional system health status is there too). Some information is valuable, but most, not so much. My take is that Yammer is a great "water cooler" tool, but that's about it... 

As a sales and marketing exec, I'm in Salesforce all the time (I'm also an implementer). At the organizations I've worked for, none have really adopted Chatter, and I'm not sure why. Based on the stories I've read, people using Chatter report a better user experience, especially if they are using all the integration tools available. The features we use:
  1. Posting content (images, video, docs)
  2. Commenting about content
  3. Group creation
  4. Opportunity/lead sharing (activity-based)
  5. Report posting from Dashboards
  6. Commentary about specific quotes
  7. integration
  8. (Looking at Yammer integration - why isn't this free?)
As far as I'm concerned, if you're using Salesforce or considering using a myriad of other tools, Chatter is a better choice ( Chatter has all the fun features of Yammer, but the extendable nature of Chatter is just worth it...

Here's how Virgin Airlines uses Chatter...

Both of these solutions are free (some paid-for options too), and feature-for-feature they pretty much match up! However, Chatter has more business-case options (integration mainly), so I'd opt for that. But at the end of the day, it is whatever solution you CEO or exec team chooses, and, ultimately up to employee adoption (culture).

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