Secure Communication and Collaboration in the Cloud without Email

Yammer vs. Chatter - 2 different approaches to social networking and collaboration in the in the cloud - advantages and disadvantages of each service.

Yammer

Yammer is an enterprise social network akin to Twiiter for your company. It has feeds, profile pages, an external communities product, and can act as a knowledge repository. You can start it up for free where only people with your company's email address can join the network then later have the company claim the domain and administer the network yourself. Yammer is really easy to setup - takes minutes, and allows for employees to collaborate using a variety of different platforms.

 

Apps: 

  • Web App
  • Cross-Platform Client Desktop App
  • Mobile Apps (iPhone, Windows, Android, RIM, and SMS)
  • Browser Plug-ins
  • Twitter Integration
  • Email Integration
  • 3rd Party Products

With a plethora of different ways to interact with Yammer adoption is easy to achieve particularly with all the plug-ins to existing popular services and products - Twiiter and Google Reader to name a few. Yammer also includes a rich API for building social apps directly within your own infrastructure - they provide developers with the same API that they use to build out all the integrations mentioned above.

Salesforce Chatter

Salesforce Chatter is a collaboration tool embedded within Salesforce.com CRM and any other custom App built on top of the Force.com platform. Chatter turns all Apps within the Force.com platform into social apps allowing both people and data to talk or Chat. Users of Salesforce can choose to follow people via their profile pages or data via any record's detail page within the system. Chatter is embedded on any page within Salesforce that the system admin decides it should be on and it creates a stream of news much like a Facebook News stream essentially socializing data within the Salesforce.com system.

 

Apps:

  • Web App within the Force.com UI
  • Integration with any Application built on Force.com
  • Mobile via Salesforce Mobile (Lite and Full Version) on iPhone, Windows, and RIM
  • Many 3rd party apps built in the Chatter Exchange on the Appexchange

 

Each Product has their Advantages and Use Cases

 

Yammer

Yammer can act as a standalone application creating the always needed Enterprise Class Social Network. Being standalone has it's advantages and disadvantages. Advantage being that users don't have to already be a Salesforce user in order to use Yammer. Every employee within the company can use Yammer. Disadvantage being that it calls for adoption of an entirely new standalone tool which could be challenging.

Yammer's integration with desktop clients, existing web apps and services, as well as their API's ability to integrate into existing infrastructure is a definite bonus. People love Client Apps for Twitter because they are much easier to use then the rather blah twitter.com interface. The desktop element mixed with the mobile element make Yammer adoption much easier to stomach for most users. Add to that the ability to send something to Yammer from my Google Reader and now we are talking about true integration of Enterprise Collaboration with the Consumer Web - a sweet mix.

 

Chatter

Where Salesforce Chatter really takes the cake is it's ability to turn an already familiar and highly adopted system in Salesforce.com into a full fledged social network. People already use Salesforce every day to manage their CRM, their Service Desk, and many other uses so it's easy enough to turn that platform into a social network. The other main point is that not only can people talk BUT data talks. If you subscribe to a record like a top customer anytime someone changes that record you could be notified in your feed - something like that really turns information into a push mode and makes it easier to follow what is going on within your company - not only with people but with your customers and your data.


Where Chatter falls short thusfar is it's integration with other 3rd parties. While there is a robust API for building these integrations they haven't surfaced just yet. A desktop App seems like a must and while Chatter is embedded within Salesforce mobile apps it feels as if a Chatter specific App would be a great thing. Not to mention integrations with Consumer Web products such as Twitter and Google Reader which Yammer already concurred. It's understandable that Chatter doesn't have these integrations just yet but with the release of the Flex Toolkit for Force.com and the Adobe Flash Builder for Force.comI imagine an Air App for the desktop is soon to come for Chatter.

 

All in all both of these products, Yammer and Chatter, have the ability to change the way communication and collaboration occurs within the Enterprise in a safe and secure way. If you are already a Salesforce.com user it's likely Chatter is the way to go as it's one of those things you just turn on. If you aren't and are looking for a Twitter type solution for your company I would recomend taking a look at Yammer because it has some great features and integrations. Either way, both solutions are game changers in the world of communication and collaboration.

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