According to former Yammer Vice President of Marketing Steve Apfelberg, the company experienced triple-digit growth. It also expanded its features beyond just microblogging by adding features such as document editing, idea management and its own app store-like collection of third-party applications.Yammer surged in popularity last year.
But integration in "real" enterprise software has always been missing. You can embed Yammer in Microsoft SharePoint, but not much more. That's starting to change: Yammer and ERP software-as-a-service company NetSuite announced today that the two companies are teaming up to enable Yammer users to follow invoices, shipped orders, CRM contacts and other updates from Netsuite.
The integration works with two pieces:
- SuiteSocial: a new app within NetSuite that enables users to generate activity streams for records in NetSuite.
- Activity Streams: a new feature in Yammer that allows users to subscribe to activity streams from SuiteSocial and, eventually, other enterprise applications.
NetSuite integration is a small step forward for Yammer, but the company promises future integrations. The important part, at this point, is the underlying technology to handle activity streams from external applications. There's no word on whether Yammer Activity Streams will support oStatus, an open protocol for status updates and activity streams, but it would be a useful way of extending this feature.
For now, Activity Streams are presented to users as separate pages from their colleagues status updates. But eventually Activity Streams updates that are algorithmically determined to be to be "most relevant" will be pushed to the user's primary feed.
NetSuite already supports enterprise social collaboration through Qontext. Qontext enables customers to add microblogs and activity streams directly into applications so that users don't need to leave their primary application to participate in discussions. Yammer takes the opposite approach: activity from NetSuite is piped into Yammer. With Qontext, users can view activity streams in several different locations.
But the Activity Streams feature is still an important to addition to Yammer. Competitors such as Chatter (with its Salesforce.com integration), Socialcast, SocialText and tibbr offer ways to tie social networking to enterprise applications. Last week SAP announced its StreamWork product will integrate with its other enterprise applications. Yammer has been missing this capability and this move shows its serious about becoming a real enterprise platform, not just a rogue application for employee banter.
We've been pushing cross-application activity streams as a crucial part of enterprise collaboration for some time now and I'm happy to see it find its way into an increasingly popular application.