Earlier this month we pointed out that Yammer has moved past basic social networking and into primary productivity tool territory. But that news was nothing compared to its latest announcement -- universal search.

Welcome Yammer Spring Release

Ah Spring, one of my favorite times of the year. The flowers start blooming, the snow is gone forever (we hope) and lots of new functionality arrives on our doorsteps from the vendors who serve our needs.

Yammer's Spring release is packed with goodies, some of which we've already talked about including premium groups, content sharing (via a share button and email) and integration products (such as Yammer Embed). You can read the details on that news, but let's get to what's new.

Universal Search Comes to Yammer

Looks like it's easier to find business data from many content repositories via Yammer's search engine. Thanks to Yammer's Activity Stream API, third part content that is accessible via activity streams can be displayed in Yammer's environment. This includes business information (records and content) from existing business app integrations (Salesforce.com, SAP, Box.net and Microsoft SharePoint).

Files, Pages and conversations are full-text searchable, and as you search, relevant results are automatically displayed in a drop down list and are categorized based on people, groups, files, Pages, topics and applications.

Yammer Universal Search

Selected records in the stream open the required application (and the selected record/document) in a new Yammer tab. Security is also applied through the API.

Existing enterprise search systems typically crawl and index all the information behind the firewall but cannot access data behind the login walls of cloud applications. As more and more data moves to the cloud, a new approach is needed,” said Yammer founder and CEO David Sacks. “Universal Search demonstrates the power of the Yammer platform to be the common communication, discovery and collaboration layer across business applications.”

New Integrations, Including MS Dynamics

To demonstrate the variety of business information you can make accessible via the new Yammer Universal Search, new integrations have also been announced. The biggest name you'll hear is Microsoft Dynamics, a customer relationship management solution. Updates to changes in accounts, campaigns and opportunities will appear within Yammer's Ticker, as well as be accessible via Universal Search.

Additional integration partners (all cloud-based solutions) include:

  • Perks.com -- The full-service incentive and recognition solution publishes activity stories in Ticker when users create nominations and recognitions such as employee of the month or going above and beyond.
  • Sciforma -- The project and portfolio management solution publishes updates when an employee creates, updates or completes a project.
  • Senexx -- The intelligence engine automatically routes questions to experts and relevant groups on Yammer and syncs user profiles with LinkedIn.
  • UpMo -- The social talent engine encourages internal upward mobility by feeding updates when an employee is recommended for a job or changes their reputation score.
  • UserVoice -- The customer feedback and innovation tool allows new forums, ideas and comments to appear as activity stories in Ticker.

And in case you didn't know, Yammer already had integrations with: AffinityLive, Badgeville, Box, Expensify, GageIn, Kindling, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Moreover Technologies, NetSuite, Planview, Salesforce.com, SAP, Sparqlight, Spigit, Subscribe-HR, TripIt and Zendesk.

Life in the Activity Stream

In Yammer's first quarter this year (2012), it surpassed five million corporate users and had more than 300 employees. It has certainly been a busy period for the enterprise collaboration provider. In February, Yammer secured US$ 85 million in funding which has helped with the development of all the new functionality and partner integrations.

Yammer's news is more evidence of the growing importance of the activity stream and further proof that we need to ensure that stream is providing us the right information, filtering where possible, at the right time. But is an enterprise social network the next evolution of the intranet? I think social networks play a critical role in helping teams work more effectively, but I think it's an element of an intranet, not a replacement for it.