Legions of different applications that is…
At the recent Techcrunch50, Twitter-for-enterprise startup Yammer took out the top prize. I was interested to read a post by Bernard a couple of days later where he uncharacteristically lashed the decision. Basically Bernard calls Yammer a "me too" offering that offers little that existing offerings do not. Bernard’s specific criticisms were;
1. No barriers. Lots of alternatives already exist, some very credible. Even some open source. This looks like an engineer’s side project. In engineer speak this is "trivial". I am sure there are dozens of clones already and many more being hatched right now.
2. The incumbent can replace their advantage way too easily. What stops Twitter adding some features to make it more appealing to enterprises? I imagine they are already considering this.
3. No natural early adopter. The normal early adopter is on Twitter. The early adopter within companies? If you are a good corporate citizen Yammer would look a bit career-threatening – for reasons explained below.
It’s interesting to see just how many offerings exist in the microblogging-for-enterprise space (list courtesy of Jeremiah);
Prologue, by Automatic, makers of WordPress
Enterprise Social Messaging Experiment (ESME)
Laconica – The Open Microblogging Tool
I Did Work
So it seems Bernard was a little justified in his criticism… of course all of this overlooks the value that microblogging brings to an organisation – those of us who use it (I use both Twitter publicly and Yammer within a closed organisation) have already been convinced of that fact.
The real issue lies more in aggregation – following an RSS reader, a social network news feed, email, a couple of microblogging services and all the other data streams just get’s too much – I’m looking forward to the day when truly open standards allow me to aggregate whichever services I want to all in one place – there’s nothing worse than having to manipulate multiple desktop apps and browser windows just to stay in touch – MAKE IT EASY FOR US VENDORS!