Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Jun 28 2011   12:03AM GMT

Yammer’s David Sacks: Product vs. Platform

Melanie Yarbrough Profile: MelanieYarbrough

Last week at Enterprise 2.0, I sat down with David Sacks, CEO of Yammer. In the description of his panel discussion, Platform vs. Product, was a mention of the fault line between traditional software offerings and platform solutions with a wide range of capabilities. However, the conclusion the panel arrived at was that these days more and more products are presented as both. Even Sacks described Yammer as technically a product with an open API, allowing customers to build applications on top of it.

I asked Sacks why someone would choose Yammer or Salesforce’s Chatter above an intranet system, and he cited the distaste for accessing a “social network embedded inside a line of business tool.” Rather than separating departments, products such as Yammer offer “private, secure social network for the entire company.”

I was curious about how IT departments feel toward products such as this, given its usual suspicion for anything “social” or consumer in the network. Sacks pointed out that IT has been embracing the cloud. During his panel, another panelist accused Yammer of being insecure because of its position in the cloud. Sacks’s response was that he “hoped we’d moved past the point where anything cloud-based is considered insecure,” prompting applause from the audience.

With announcements of expanding communities, Yammer has moved beyond internal, allowing companies to create groups for each of their clients or customers. Future plans are to integrate a social layer atop and across all areas of the enterprise, from content management to finance.

What are your thoughts on socializing the enterprise? Would you prefer using a product such as Yammer that includes an API or build your own?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section or email me directly at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

Melanie Yarbrough is the assistant community editor at ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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  • James Murray
    One of the problems with systems built from scratch is that as technology changes the systems need to be upgraded. Upgrading a custom application often means starting over and building from scratch again. For this reason, building on a standard platform is always preferred. Patching and upgrading the system is simple when compared with a customized system. I’ve worked with several enterprise level organizations who 10 years later could never upgrade their systems built from scratch. As far as socializing the enterprise, we find that for a majority of the people, work is a social activity. Given the opportunity to telecommute most people prefer to come into the office and mingle with their co-workers. So building a technical platform that supports the socialization of the organization with each other, vendors and customers seems like an optimal win/win solution for the business.
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  • IT’s stance on social networking in the enterprise - Enterprise IT Watch Blog
    [...] I chatted with David Sacks about social networking in the enterprise, he seemed to think that IT was coming around to cloud-based offerings. But when I posed the [...]
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