If Yammer fails, who is to blame?

A very different experience here in South Australia (at least, in the department where I’m based). Rather than just an element of social networking, we went with Socialtext, an ESN platform that offers blogging, micro-blogging, wikis, groups, collaborative workspaces and a range of other features. I think the big difference is that we didn’t just install and configure the software, we took on the cultural change that is necessary to get the best out of it. Today, you’ll see the platform used for policy development, collaborative project management, social intranet, content management and a huge raft of other business activities. Growth continues and new applications for this way of working are being found on a regular basis.
Takeaway message? Enterprise Social Networking works, but it needs more than just technology and it needs the whole package to be embraced, not just tweets.

Writing in local Aussie IT news site, Delimiter, Renai LeMay reports on an article in The Register about Yammer trials by local government in Australia being abandoned. I really liked the comment above on Renai’s piece that highlights how it can work, if the technology is supported and implemented in the right way. (I’ve blogged about that example before)

This is my comment:

I think its a little unfair to only call out Yammer on this issue, although I accept that they are fair game due to the hype that has been generated around it as a brand by both themselves and Deloitte etc. Yammer is not the only platform in this market and all the vendors (to varying degrees) recognise the need for the deployment of their tools to be supported in the way that Perry Wheeler describes. I’m currently working with a number of Australian organisations that aren’t convinced that a hands off, viral approach is the right way to do this.

Also many of the other US-based vendors in this space (tibbr, Newsgator, Jive, etc) are now investing resources into our region and I think we are only at the beginning of the mature adoption of these enterprise social computing tools. If you look carefully at Yammer, you will also see that the emphasis is now on supporting their premium paying customers to make the use of their tools more successful. Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. We’ve known that adoption of new collaboration and communication tools inside organisations can be hit and miss for decades.