Yammer and the intranet beyond the firewall

By Nic Price on 8 October 2008 — 1 min read

One of the hats I wear is Content Producer for Intranets Live, a subscription-based intranet media channel, with a monthly two-hour online show starting on 4 November.

In the first show we’ll be interviewing David Sacks, CEO of microblogging service Yammer, winner of the TechCrunch50 award last month.

Yammer is designed to provide a secure online space where company employees (with the same company domain in their email address) can broadcast short messages to each other.

For example, people can use it to ask questions or to let everyone else know what they’re working on.

Yammer follows in the footsteps of the hugely successful Twitter, which is being put to great public effect in the run-up to the US presidential election.

Philosophically, Yammer – “What are you working on?” within the company – and Twitter – “What are you doing?” publicly or privately – come from different places.

I’ve spoken with some companies who’ve been using Twitter to communicate in teams and groups privately for some time now. They say they can’t see the value in moving to Yammer. Others have said they find Yammer is just what they needed, and is really helping to make the feel part of the company.

Web-based services like these, along with many others, are described as the intranet beyond the firewall.

So I was just wondering…

  1. With employees using more and more web-based services to get their work done and communicate, what now for internal communications and IT managers?
  2. Why should we trust third-party services with our information?
  3. What would happen if the service your company uses becomes a victim of the credit crunch?
  4. What are the best and worst examples of people using microblogging services at work?
  5. Do services like Yammer and Twitter finally spell the end of the company firewall as we know it?
  6. Is all this the responsibility of the intranet manager? And if not, who’s responsibility is it?
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  • Nic,

    all good questions. With so much stuff out there and the easy accessibility there will be increasing pressure to federate the control of the IT department so that more people can engage in the kind of questions you raise rather than it being about the control of power in an organisation.


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