Innovation That Matters

Twitter for enterprises

Work & Lifestyle

Breaking down barriers and fostering cross-company communication has long been one of enterprises’ most persistent challenges. A tool that was launched last month at TechCrunch50–and then went on to win the conference’s Best in Show award–offers a new solution, however, in the form of a sort of Twitter for the enterprise. Yammer aims to make organizations more productive through the exchange of short, frequent answers to the question, “What are you working on?” Employees’ responses to that question get aggregated into a private, central feed, enabling coworkers to discuss ideas, post news, ask questions and share information. Anyone in a company can start a Yammer network and begin inviting colleagues–the basic service is free, and access is limited to those with a valid company email address. (Yammer is also careful to stress that information is never shared with third parties.) Every employee can maintain a profile on Yammer, allowing it to serve as a company directory, and all messages are tagged, giving participants the ability to follow feeds specific to both the tags and the people they find most interesting. Content, meanwhile, is searchable by anyone within the organization, effectively making Yammer a knowledge base in which past conversations can be easily accessed and referenced. In addition to the website, users can interact with their network via a desktop client, iPhone, Blackberry, IM, SMS and even email. Companies that want to claim and mange their Yammer networks can pay USD 1 per month per member of the network for administration privileges; special pricing is available for large networks. Founded by former executives and early employees of PayPal, eGroups, eBay and Tribe, Los Angeles-based Yammer is backed by venture capital firms Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures. One to watch–and try out! (Related: User-generated video for the corporate crowd.)



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