Enterprise 2.0 – Twitter & co to revolutionize business practice

A couple of days ago we started to think about introducing a management information system, some kind of a “cockpit” tool, which provides management with news about projects, sales, and all other information on what’s going on in the company.

But then we visioned the picture of just another ERP tool, hardly fed with information from employees and therefore not very accurate. Another “off-the-shelf” tool that needs to be individualized to our company needs, gulping thousands of euros and bearing the same project risks of never being fully implemented as so many ERP tools before. Another complex tool that only 10% of features are really used.

STOP: we are an INNOVATION company – we HAVE to find a better way. From my private experience with Twitter I know that it is a great tool to stay in touch with my folks – after receiving up to 20 short messages from a friend who lives in Amsterdam per day, I get a very good background noise and sense on what that person is up to, how she feels, even a clear picture of how the surrounding environment looks like. Why not use a communication tool like Twitter in a company context.

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After some research we discovered Yammer, a spin-off from Geni, founded by former executives and early employees of PayPal, eGroups, eBay, and Tribe. Yammer Inc. offers a free Yammer tool, basically an enterprise version of Twitter with some incredible features:

  • Brief, but frequent updates on what everybody is working on – n : n
  • Asking questions and posting new ideas in your virtual office – retrieving feedback instantly
  • Tagging option which allows search functionality on specific topics
  • Tag clouds and sorting functionality which allows analysis of the companies communication habits such as ‘who is most communicative?’ ‘What are people talking about most?’
  • Building of a strong knowledge base for later investigations in certain topics.
  • Yammer provides a web, desktop, iPhone, Blackberry, SMS and Instant Messaging interface – so users get the information onto their fingertips

We are going to introduce Yammer in our company – it serves best for groups up to 20-30 people. We will ask everybody to at least once a day post a short status update on what happened during the last couple hours and what the person is working on or planning to work on today. It will be exciting to see how this is going to help internal communication.

Yammer is a winner of the TechCrunch50 Conference 2008 – watch them explaining their service and going live.

By Bernhard Hoetzl

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