Yammer CEO: We're consumerizing the enterprise

David Sacks, CEO of Yammer, believes social networking will become ubiquitous collaboration layer across full range of enterprise software

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The other thing we're doing on integration is we're pulling in community feeds on all these other products. Last year we integrated with SharePoint, Salesforce, Box, NetSuite, about a dozen others -- we just added SAP to that list. So what we do is pull activity feeds into and out of all these apps, and now in one scrolling ticker you can see what all of your coworkers are doing in their enterprise apps. It creates this ambient awareness of what's happening in your organization. It's similar to what Facebook has done with the ticker on the side where you can see what music your friends are listening to. You can see what records they're interacting with.

Knorr: What you're describing raises the security question. How do you handle security policies?

Sacks: First of all, when you buy Yammer, you get administrative rights over the network. You get to moderate and control the content and membership. You can do things like integrate Yammer with your Active Directory so that employees are automatically provisioned when they join your company and they're automatically deprovisioned when they leave your company. You can do things like single sign-on or IP range restrictions to make sure that employees can only access Yammer through your VPN or through an IP range at work.

You can export data for e-discovery purposes. The way that most people do discovery, they just dump all their company email into some sort of e-discovery silo, where you can process discovery requests against that. Every Yammer message will convert into an email format, so you can dump it into whatever current too you're using for e-discovery. We don't really pose any incremental risk over email. Whatever process you use to manage email, you can apply that to Yammer.

Knorr: Do you have user-based authorization?

Sacks: We have a pretty simple privacy model in Yammer, which is, if you want data to be private, post it to a private group. Effectively, every piece of content on Yammer, whether it's a conversation or a file or a page, always lives in some group. There's a default group called the all-company group where everyone can see it, but you can post wherever you want. It's very easy to create private groups where you restrict the membership.

We have two levels of administration, so there's a superadmin and a more general admin to perform more mundane tasks. We've invested a lot of time in making this a tool that is enterprise grade that will be acceptable to IT.

When you think about it, what we're selling are the IT tools. The reason we are a freemium product is there's nothing we restrict the end-user from doing. They can get in there and use it. It's the enterprise tools that people pay for. We have a strong incentive in making these tools as robust as possible.

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