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Yammer vs Chatter vs Slack?

Danny:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill Podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan. I’ve got Tommy Ryan here with me.

 

Good morning, Tommy.

 

Tommy:Good morning, Danny.

 

Danny:How are you doing?

 

Tommy:Doing well.

 

Danny:Great. This is going to be the deja vu Podcast here because we’re going to be talking about something that we talked about last week …

 

Tommy:That’s right.

 

Danny:… which, halfway through the recording, my Mac decided to call it quits and so, therefore, we’re going to go ahead and recover what we covered since we haven’t been able to share that with that world, which is talking about Yammer versus Chatter. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what our background, through the years, what we’ve used and just get into maybe have you reiterate some of the things that you covered last week with that.

 

Just to get us started, when did we start using Yammer? When do we start using Chatter? Just give me some background here.

 

Tommy:Yeah, so, for us, our introduction to social was Yammer. It was Yammer before it was acquired by Microsoft.

 

Danny:Reminds me of Groove.

 

Tommy:Yes. Yeah, we tend to do that. We can predict what is the next piece of software that…

 

Danny:We thought it was going to be Slack, but who knows? Maybe it’s-

 

Tommy:You never know.

 

Danny:We just don’t know.

 

Tommy:It’s never done until it’s done.

 

Danny:Yep.

 

Tommy:When we started with Yammer, and I can’t remember the actual date, but it does predate the Microsoft acquisition, we kicked the tires with it. Even before Jive, we got introduced to Jive after that. Yammer was one of those things that allowed us to do kind of that microblogging, quick communication, more broadcast-based information. That was our first taste of what social was.

 

Danny:Nice.

 

Tommy:We found, historically, in SharePoint, especially in our extranets where we’d have discussions with our customers, we would get started with those, but they would kind of die off over time and we found that, with Yammer, the social aspect of seeing a face, making it easy to contribute, having the [alerts 00:02:22] mentality that draws you back in, we found that Yammer was a way to get more discussion, open discussion to take place that wasn’t taking place before, except in a more physical standpoint of the water-cooler talk. This allowed us to have that electronic water-cooler talk.

 

I think the last time we were talking a little bit about the discussion threads we had at Extreme Logic where we worked before ThreeWill that that’s the last time I could remember that type of open dialogue and sharing, and it kind of brought that back to life for us.

 

Danny:Nice, and then so, after Yammer, we ended up … I know Jive was a replacement for us for a lot of what we were doing with Yammer, and then I think we ended up switching back after Microsoft’s acquisition, being the dutiful Microsoft partner, really trying to understand the product and where they’re going with the product, and we sort of switched back to Yammer. Correct?

 

Tommy:Right. Right.

 

Danny:Then how does Chatter fit in to all this?

 

Tommy:Chatter is yet another social product yet within the Salesforce platform that allows that same kind of sharing of information discussions and referencing content that’s within the context of Salesforce. That’s something that we’ve seen with sales teams, that they get used to Salesforce, so it’s like one major tool that they’re in, kind of like being in your inbox in Outlook and then being in Salesforce. The sales teams were using Chatter as that way to do their social, and then Salesforce started expanding that to be more of a single source social platform that you can use across the board. It didn’t have to be just the sales team.

 

Danny:How did we run into starting to use Chatter? What’s the story there?

 

Tommy:For us, Chatter, we really never adopted it as a standard within our organization. It was more a kicking of the tires. Historically, we did some work for Atlassian and that led to the work that we had at Jive. We were dogfooding on Jive and trying to understand what is Jive all about and then, after Jive, was the Salesforce integration with Chatter. Our use of Chatter was more looking at Chatter as a way to understand the features and functionality so we could surface that Chatter feed into the context of SharePoint. Then, as time passed, the maturity of Chatter, it started getting into things like communities, and we started looking at how can we have communications with our customers in these Chatter communities.

 

That didn’t get traction for us because you have to have very few things that you require your customer to log into and participate, and so we used our extranet as that single entry into our communications from an electronic discussion communication tool.

 

Danny:We got exposed to Salesforce by helping them actually build out their Chatter for SharePoint integration.

 

Tommy:That’s correct. Yeah.

 

Danny:Yeah. That was sort of our internal reasoning behind really trying to understand what does Chatter do, but then we often want to stay away from this switching to the social network du jour, so, therefore, sticking pretty much … sticking with Yammer. I think this is kind of interesting because I think, before, with our conversation about OneNote versus wikis versus Word, we almost … we came to the conclusion that you use what you need to use for the purpose that you you.

 

With this, where we’re comparing 2 products, I really thing it’s a situation where they overlap so much, it’s almost like you want your organization to standardize on one or the other.

 

Tommy:Maybe.

 

Danny:Maybe [crosstalk 00:06:51] don’t complicate things.

 

Tommy:No. I think that’s a reality. I think some of these tools end up becoming embedded into your work stream. You look at a social tool, really, that line is … I don’t know it’s as clean as you want it, to make it that this is the only place I do social. If you look at Chatter, within Salesforce, there is a Chatter feed around an opportunity. Are you going to not use that because you’re using Yammer? I don’t think so. I think you’re going to use Chatter for what it’s functionality is for the type of work you do as an organization. If you have salespeople that are talking about opportunity, they’re not going to go over into Yammer …

 

Danny:Yeah, that makes sense.

 

Tommy:… and have that communication.

 

Danny:That makes sense.

 

Tommy:They’re going to do it in the context of that opportunity. That struggle I think is why we’ve gotten into integrations like the integration with Chatter and Jive and Atlassian with Confluence. I think it’s to bring the information to where people are getting the work done, and so that becomes more than one thing, and so, yes, you want to collapse that as much as possible, but I think just the natural course of how our organization gets things done, you’ll start seeing tools creep in and then you have to decide, okay, where do I draw line or what are the best practices of where information goes.

 

Danny:Along those lines of wanting to integrate the two of them together. I know. I’ve talked with Eric Bowden some about what we’ve done, sort of the latest version of the work that we originally started out doing with Salesforce in where we’re really trying to take that Chatter feed and put it anywhere.

 

Tommy:That’s right.

 

Danny:With us, it would be putting it into where … typically, for us, it would inside of Office 365 because we spend a lot of time in there. We spend a lot of time on SharePoint sites. It sounds like what we are … We’re still somewhat taking the … use either ones for a specific purpose.

 

Tommy:Right. In our organization, Yammer is the 90% [crosstalk 00:09:23].

 

Danny:There’s a dominant one typically, I guess, inside of organizations.

 

Tommy:I think there is. I think there is that one place. It’s like you’re not going to have Gmail and then Outlook for your email tool. You’re going to pick one or the other, but you might end up having a very secondary tool that comes into play because of the types of groups you have in your organization and what are the tools that they use, because the salespeople are going to use Salesforce, and then you get into what are the developers using. They’re using Visual Studio, and then you say, “Do I use some of the things that are in Visual Studio? Does that make sense?” The collaboration that takes places, you’re trying to get it as close as you can to the place that you’re getting work done and not having to switch around.

 

That’s that whole concept of putting Chatter anywhere is to say, “If there’s enough important conversation that needs to go outside of this group that’s normally inside of Salesforce, let’s broaden that and let’s make … give the ability to put it where people are getting work done versus people having to think about, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go over to this Chatter thing if I need to go collaborate within my organization.'” No. I’m in my portal, and that could be … It could be SharePoint. We have done some work for a large organization that was in Adobe, Adobe Connect.

 

Danny:Experience Manager or something.

 

Tommy:Yeah, there’s a lot of different names for it, but, essentially, it’s Adobe’s platform that … They’re very big in the branding tools, the creative tools. This organization is very important for them for the creative side of things, so they used the Adobe’s portal to do knowledge sharing. We have surfaced them there, that Chatter feed, and the ability to share into Chatter the content that’s in that portal.

 

Danny:This sounds very much like a Microsoft strategy, which is go where the users are.

 

Tommy:That’s right.

 

Danny:Previously there was competition, because I think some people listening to this Podcast will then listen and say, “Oh, yeah,” like the Salesforce folks listening to this, they want to say, “Oh, Chatter is so much better than Yammer,” and then Microsoft people would want to hear, “Yammer is so much better than cha- Chatter,” but, really, what we’re saying is that they can be used for different purposes. Use what works best for your workflow. There’s typically inside the organization. One will be more predominant than the other, but I think a feature-by-feature comparison, really, people aren’t … They’re not really doing that. They’re just using it where it makes sense to use it.

 

Tommy:Yeah. On that theme of Microsoft has changed and there’s no “competition, more coopetition,” I think it’s coming from the mindset of the customer in mind because it is a world that the customer is going to be in different places and different … They’re going to be in an iPhone, in an iPad. You could say, “I’m not going to pro- provide an app for that. I’m going to put a lot of friction to not make that feasible for the end user to consume Microsoft services in an Apple device,” but, no, they have probably one of the better iOS apps for the Office Suite compared to the rest of the [Abego System 00:13:06].

 

Danny:Oh, Outlook is my favorite app.

 

Tommy:It’s even better I think than the desktop. I actually do some of my functions in my phone. I watch it go away from my desktop and go into my phone and send my calendar availability because they’ve got a great, great way of doing that. That’s beautiful, so we embrace that. As an organization, we are a Microsoft partner, but we realize there’s an interdependencies with other ecosystems that, if you can bring those together in a good way, in a way that is productive and keeps the customer in mind, that’s where you can solve the bigger problems because you realize it’s not just one ecosystem, it is a combination of ecosystems to make it happen.

 

Danny:Great. Anything else you would add to this conversation for somebody who’s, probably, maybe has both products or just looking for a comparison of the two products?

 

Tommy:I think the challenge you have is that new shiny, to stick or something as long as possible and you have to have some really compelling reasons to switch that 80% tool that you use for social. For example, we’re looking at Slack. Our development teams, there’s a few kind of a skunk work that our teams that are using Slack and trying to understand what’s the value in that. Is there a better collaboration? Is there more productivity? Is there better morale in the team using that as a tool for a project-based collaboration tool similar to Chatter? Is that sales context for conversations around sales objects? Should there be a Slack component that’s for just project teams?

 

What’s interesting is I read an article just recently, and we put it out on Yammer, about slack and a company called AgileBits that makes 1Password.

 

Danny:Oh, love it.

 

Tommy:They actually had this article talking about the addiction that they had to Slack, and what ended up happening is everything was going into Slack and they weren’t putting things into their knowledge base, not putting things into certain knowledge repositories. They would just put it out on Slack, and so it kind of fractured their information. The thing I think you have to realize with social, one of the slippery slopes is you can get lazy and just put everything out on to your social platform and not curate that content and make a conscious decision of this is long-standing knowledge that we need to curate in our organization.

 

When you’re looking at whatever social tool that is, be sure that that is information that is going to only have value over the next set of hours or days, at most, weeks. If you think it’s going to have more value than weeks, then, all right, where should this go, where in my knowledge repositories, what SharePoint site, what document library, what OneNote set of notes do I need to capture this, and then use social to bring awareness to where that knowledge is.

 

Danny:Yeah. Yep.

 

Tommy:I think that’s a challenge for organizations that you’re always fighting with, so, when you’re looking at your social platform, try to keep the 80% of your social in one tool and realize there will be other tools as you get larger or … as an organization and then, when you put knowledge in there, make sure it’s knowledge that is more awareness and, if it’s true knowledge, put that in a place that you can curate it over it.

 

Danny:Is Slack a lot like … Its functionality, is it similar to, because I’ve started to use it a little bit, but is it … It’s broader than the functionality that you would have in like a Yammer. Is that correct?

 

Tommy:Very, very close to a Yammer.

 

Danny:Is it? Okay.

 

Tommy:I think it is more … It’s got a better UI. I think the UI is more addictive. Within Yammer, I think you do think about what you’re going to post a little bit more. within Yammer, you can’t edit something that you posted, so there’s a little bit of a pause that you will reread something because you know, if you post it, you can’t edit it. You have to delete it and then go back and create it again. There’s some pause with Yammer, but then, Slack, it’s really easy. It’s almost easier than texting. It has more of a texting feel to me.

 

Danny:Okay. Yeah.

 

Tommy:It has some extra capabilities in it that … especially in the area of third party integrations. Within dev teams, when let’s say, someone checks in code or there’s a [pull 00:18:29] request, that type of information, that kind of chatter can be fed into your feed. They call it channel within Slack. They can fed into your channel, and so, as people are doing things within technical tools, some of those notifications, instead of it coming in as email, they can be fed directly into a channel. There’s some value there, enough value to say we should standard on Slack for our projects. The jury is out on that. Right now, Yammer is our standard. I think I see with Yammer, as it relates to content or knowledge in Office 365, if you’re putting an Office 365 and that’s your mainstream tool for your portal or your email, for your productivity tools in the Office Suite, Yammer is starting to hook in to that content and hook in to the different portals that are available within Office 365.

 

I think it’s very dangerous to go off of Yammer because all of that goodness, all that integration, I don’t think you’re going to have it at the same level with Slack. Slack is better in terms of a broader set of integrations, but the deep integrations you’re going to see over time, and they’re being revealed now, are in the Office 365 Suite and Yammer.

 

Danny:Probably, at our side of the company sort of at a micro level, what I … what we see evolving in general is that we’re using Yammer as sort of our standard and then, within different departments, say, delivery might use Slack for some inter-department communications, in sales, we might use Chatter for some inter-department communications, but when we want to talk to everybody across the channels, we would use Yammer for that.

 

Tommy:Great way to look at it because, someone like a JM in finance, he’s not going to go into Slack.

 

Danny:Yep.

 

Tommy:He might do a little bit of Chatter because he’s working on opportunities. Someone in delivery, they’re not going to be working inside of Chatter because maybe they don’t work on sales opportunities, but, yes, if we want to communicate to the entire organization, that stream is in Yammer.

 

Danny:Interesting. I wonder if with the larger companies that probably this is playing out very similarly.

 

Tommy:Sure. Sure.

 

Danny:You gave me some pearls today, Tommy. I thought I was …

 

Tommy:Yeah. Good.

 

Danny:… coming in, saying something different than … ending up with something, a different conclusion than what we have ended up, which is awesome. It’s great. I like just talking through some of these things. When your head is down, using these different tools, you’re … you may not have the insight that you get from backing away from it all, so I appreciate your taking the time to do this.

 

We did mention earlier in the Podcast a product that we’re working on called Channel. What we’re doing is trying to take that Chatter feed for people who want to use it sort of in any real platform. Yammer has something similar, which is called Yammer Embed. We’re essentially doing like a Chatter Embed.

 

For folks who are listening who may be comparing the two and want to combine Chatter with the different sites that people are on, please feel free to come by our website. Go through the “Contact Us” page. It’ll come directly to me. This is Danny speaking, and I’ll … We’ll set up some demos of that and show you what we can do with that particular integration.

 

Thank you for taking the time to do this. I love the socks [inaudible 00:22:18].

 

Tommy:I’m amazed that you.

 

Danny:What happened. Let me see him. Let me see him. Are they … They’re light blue with some stripes.

 

Tommy:A little bit more conservative. Yeah.

 

Danny:He’s going a little conservative on us, but that’s okay. That’s better than my socks. Mine are just sort of plain Jane. Keep it up. I expect something a little bit better next week.

 

Tommy:Okay.

 

Danny:Just kidding. Just kidding. Thank you, everybody for taking the time to listen, and have a wonderful day. Take care. Buh-bye.

 

Tommy:Buh-bye.

 

Danny RyanYammer vs Chatter vs Slack?

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