quinta-feira, 21 de abril de 2011

Using Yammer to increase workflow and reduce dependency on email lists

Hello, everyone! I'm sorry about the lack of daily updates: it is because I've been writing a lot lately. Anyway, I'm excited to show you the article that just got approved: this one was written for Yammer through MediaPiston. For those who don't know, Yammer is company that sells integrated communication solutions to over 100,000 companies. No, I didn't get the number wrong. Check out their website. (By the way, I got 4 stars out of 5 for this article – pretty nice for a company this big, isn't it?)

Anyway, without further ado, here is the article.

Do you know how old emails are? 10 years old? Of course not. 17 years old, dating back from 1994? No, not even close.

Believe it or not, emails are a technology dating back from 1962, when the first rudimentary electronic network was created. That would be... 49 years, considering it's 2011 right now! This means, of course, emails may be older than you ever imagined they were. In fact, they might be older than you are.

Since emails have been there for so long, you probably also know what email lists are: you setup a server, and then addresses may be added automatically (as people send emails through them) or manually (as you setup a private list. Setting up a mailing list also requires you to decide if you want them to be "announcement lists," (a type of list that only sends email), "discussion lists" (where everyone is free to join – not very suitable for internal communication, right?), and the subscribing model. Oh, let's not forget spam, which requires a lot of time and money to get rid of.

This is your typical 1962 computer – it's amazing how old emails
are and how they have evolved together
with technology, isn't it?
Another problem inherent to emails, as you might have already noticed, is their slow response time: if you need something solved now and you only have an email address – well, don't count on it. Having a phone number might help these times – but what if you need to send messages to everyone, quickly?

Right after that, corporate (and internal) communication tools were born. These you might already know: Windows came with one built-in in their earlier versions. However, they were still very limited. It was the release of tools like ICQ that changed everything: now you could interact with a co-worker or employee even if they were outside of work, and messages were sent instantly. Then, MSN, AOL, Yahoo Messenger, and many other tools were born. However, the many choices of a myriad of tools also meant co-worker communication could be very hard – very quickly. If you are old enough (and now you don't have to be that old), you can probably picture yourself as John, James, or both of them.

John (on the phone): Hey, James. Say, I need to discuss some company issues quickly and send you a report. Do you have an MSN account?

James: Sorry, buddy. I only have an ICQ account. I don't trust MSN. It just keeps crashing.

John (irritated): Well, can't you create one?

James: Ah, that stuff is too complicated. Can't we discuss this through email? You attach the report and I get it as soon as I can.

John: (*Sigh*.) Ok. Bye.

John and James after they traded emails. They don't look very happy
about  the outcome of their conversation, do they?

Not to your surprise, the issue that was so urgent took more time than the expected to be solved, right?

Attempting to solve all these problems, many other social media tools that were born just the last decade: Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Digg – even YouTube can be considered a form of social media, however visual. Now these were even better: no need to install software, friend searching, customizing applications: you could create an entire different world – your world – within your own account. Unfortunately, these tools lacked what the seriousness of the email and the sense of urgency of instant messaging.

Let's face it... can a company handle all this information? What to choose, among all of these tools? And why did I read up to here only to read about Yammer? What's so special about it?

The reason Yammer is unique is that it changed the whole corporate communication system: before 2008, the answer would be to deploy your own communication strategy, alternating between a myriad of tools. But no more. In 2008, Yammer was born – and now, 3 years later, it is even more powerful than before.

You see, with Yammer you don't need to choose between tools: Yammer can unify them all into a single solution for you, with no need for installing any software at all – that means no crashing, reduced maintenance needs and improved workflow! Key features include:

  • Send long messages through email integration, or short, instant ones with Twitter (or Google Talk) integration.
  • Connect everywhere, from nearly any phone: Yammer supports iPhones, BlackBerries, Androids, Windows Mobile – and even regular cell phones through SMS integration!
  • Don't you like the official Yammer apps? Access Yammer through many third party apps: Gabble, OneLogin, itDuzzIt – even a Firefox extension is available!
  • Is the flow of messages too large for you to handle? No problem – specify the keywords you need and Yammer will search relevant data for you!

Wait – you might protest – you haven't described how to reduce dependence on email lists!

Indeed, I haven't: that's because there's no need of setting up email lists when you use Yammer: after all, Yammer only allows connections from within your network. This is because, to sign up, all you need is an email address and your business contacts, and it also translates into no spam and a productivity increase of up to 60%.

After hearing to all this, it may seem Yammer is expensive: in fact, it isn't. Yammer is "Freemium": you can get access to the most basic services for free, and advanced services cost only $5 per user/month.

You don't trust us? Great. Skepticism is good! Trust the 100,000 companies and organizations that opted for our services instead. They include, but are not limited to: UNICEF, Fox International Channels, AMD, LG, eBay, PayPal – and so on.

Guess what all these companies have in common?

Yammer: THE Freemium integration social network.

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