Today, Yammer announces the acquisition of UK-based OneDrum, a document collaboration and file sharing company that supports Microsoft Office. It's become clear that Yammer is no-longer just another social network, it's an organization's primary productivity tool.

A Direct Hit on SharePoint

Maybe you don't see that, but I can. With OneDrum capabilities integrated into Yammer's social network, we see the makings of a SharePoint competitor, only implemented from the social side first. Now of course I'm not talking about a complete SharePoint replacement, no one will ever do that. But if an organization uses SharePoint for document collaboration and file sharing (which many do) and also integrates some social features within those functions, then we are on the same page here.

Let's back up.

What OneDrum Allows Yammer To Do

Yammer wants to be the center of your workday technical environment. Turn on your computer, log into Yammer and get to work. Simple enough. But as being social for social's sake isn't enough, Yammer is going to support your ability to collaborate on files directly within its interface. So, you can:

Sync: Automatically synchronize with the desktop. Yammer files will automatically sync to a folder structure on the desktop that is organized by Yammer Groups. These are shared folders among the entire team, so you can drop files into the shared folder and they automatically sync in Yammer and then out to other group member's desktops. Changes to documents made from the desktop folder automatically update the Yammer server version and each member's version, and files can be worked on offline and synced up later on.

Discover: Yammer files all have a unique URL so you can follow changes to it. Files are full text searchable and accessible from mobile devices where they can be emailed or shared. A version history is also available via a Yammer Ticker ( a real-time activity feed).

Co-create: For any Word, Excel or PowerPoint file within a Yammer folder, you can have multiple authors/editors working on it. Users are color-coded and character by character changes are shown. While real-time editing is of course automatic, offline edits are also synchronized as appropriate.

Many will have the typical security and permissions questions at this point and Yammer does respond to those concerns:

  • Data in motion will be encrypted using 256-bit SSL/TLS and data at rest will be encrypted using 256-bit AES
  • Access is based on group associations, so when you join a group, folders are automatically added and when you leave a group they are automatically removed.
  • Admins can mark files as read only if necessary and when not, the version history tracks all changes to the file so you know who did what.

So Where's the SharePoint Relationship?

Can SharePoint allow multiple people to work on a document at the same time? No. Does it offer desktop synchronization? Yes and a myriad of third party providers offer something similar here as well. So I'm not saying there's a one to one relationship here.

But many organizations find that microblogging and activity streams are the primary tools for teams to work together (it's our primary tool for communications here). Add in to this the ability to share documents, work on them at the same time and have all the version history, update notifications, offline access and security and you have a combination that does challenge what some use SharePoint for.

One question I would have is what this relationship means for mobile Yammer. Is the same functionality available?

Interesting that OneDrum is still in beta according to its website. Not sure if that's really important in world of what seems like perpetual betas (aside from Google I mean), but it may help Yammer bring the integration to fruition a little faster.

Yammer has indicated that full integration will be complete sometime this summer as a desktop client download (no Microsoft plug-in required). All OneDrum employees will join Yammer and its CEO Jasper Westaway is leading the integration.