Extending your collaboration reach: Yammer External Networks

Yammer has been helping companies get social with other employees for over 2 1/2 years, but you may not know is that Yammer has an easy to implement solution for collaborating outside of your company too. Yammer External Networks enable companies to extend the reach of Yammer to customers, partners, suppliers, alumni, agents, franchises or contract workers, just to name a few, that are essential to your business success.

In many companies, realizing the need to communicate with people outside the traditional enterprise is vital, but this creates somewhat of a business conundrum; How and why do they want to collaborate with us? Often a company needs to feel that they know the answer and it must be right the first time, especially when it comes to interacting with your customers. This can lead to analysis paralysis resulting in these efforts stalling before they even get deployed. Often times, this anticipation of needs result in very complex solutions that nobody knows how or wants to use and in the end, finding out that all the external party wanted to do was to have conversations and do basic file sharing.

With Yammer External Networks, it is possible to tap your experience with your employees and easily extend Yammer beyond the firewall and collaborate with anyone with very little effort. By using the same tool, it provides a user experience that is consistent with what your employees already use internally and helps employees focus on the conversation, not learning yet another tool.

You are in total control. If you want all of your customers to collaborate with each other, then you can setup one community for your customers. If on the other hand, you want your customers only to collaborate with you, then you can setup a community for each one, creating a secure environment to collaborate.

If the person outside the enterprise already has a Yammer account/network, this new relationship will be added to their existing account enabling them to easily switch between networks.

Community functionality exists in both free and licensed versions of Yammer with varying features and licensing. Several companies have already realized great success in deploying and administering external networks to solve many business challenges that exist beyond the firewall.

Molson-Coors, among the world’s largest brewers, uses Yammer External Networks to maintain relationships between employees and retirees. By reaching this very important group of former employees it extends access to the resources that would otherwise have been lost to the company. Club Molson-Coors was envisioned to keep retirees connected with the the company and aware of campaigns and promotions. It also helps retirees provide feedback and opportunities to continue to grow the Molson-Corrs brand.

Razorfish, a global digital marketing company with over 2,500 users in 16 offices, uses Yammer external networks to collaborate between client teams and customers. With Yammer, they are able to quickly share links to content, ask questions about collateral and perform content review without a single e-mail, resulting in increased customer satisfaction.

Whether it be streamlining your supply chain, retaining corporate knowledge through retirees, interacting with customers, coordinating agents or other contract workers, Yammer external networks enable you to extend a tool familiar to your employees to solve external business challenges.

In my next post, we’ll explore you how easy it is to setup and get started using external networks with the people that matter most to your business.