We’ve been big fans of Yammer practically since it launched. The idea of putting in place an open, hierarchy-transcending communication channel within the enterprise is simple (as most of the genius ideas :-)) but forward thinking. The corporate culture is transforming to become more and more focused on people, their skills and expertise, and their natural work relationships. Yammer understood this undergoing change and gives organizations a communication tool that supports it.
This is in a way something that we’re trying to do with our Question & Answer software, Quandora, as well. The knowledge management applications used to be particularly complex and rigid, with a focus on content, structure, metadatas, and workflows. Actually, the knowledge was pretty much managed like regular Enterprise content (documents, assets, etc), which is fundamentally flowed.
Knowledge is so ever-changing and volatile that if you don’t capture it the moment it has a shape in somebody’s mind, you’ll probably never will. This means than any barrier, even the lightest, has a big impact. We believe knowledge sharing has to be natural, easy, deregulated, and social in order to work.
Considering all that, our decision to develop an integration with Yammer was a no-brainer. On one hand, you have this social network allowing people within organizations to reach out to/keep up to date with a whole bunch of colleagues, potentially all of them, in real time. And to discover each other even though they may be thousands of miles away. On the other hand, you have this Q&A app, with, certainly, a different focus- sharing, centralizing and delivering knowledge – but sharing the same spirit of lightness and trust in people’s capacity to build value together by themselves.
Enable the Q&A with Yammer
In this case, first of all, people can log in to Quandora using their Yammer account. Having to create yet another account is always a hassle – one that is out of table in this case.
Moreover, organization can enable activity sharing from Quandora to Yammer. In this case, new questions, answers, comments, votes, badges… from Quandora generate notifications in the Yammer activity feed, enriching it with relevant content, and helping to get fast answers.
One of Yammer’s more powerful feature is mapping a social graph of the organization. Quandora taps into this treasure to enable itself to spread virally. We offer people a quick and simple mechanism to invite their connections to use Quandora.
And in the near future, we’ll even use Yammer’s profiles meta-datas, notably the “Interests”, to match people with questions and to offer additional content discovery options. Stay tuned, we’re on it!
Note: In case your organization is not using Quandora yet but wishes to become one, it’s really easy. You can find us on the Yammer’s marketplace.
- Unified login: people can login to Quandora using their Yammer account
- Activity sharing: Quandora activity is pushed to Yammer
- Unified search: searching in Yammer will find Quandora content
- Network leverage: invite connections, discover experts.
A couple of words on the technical side
We had a pretty nice and straightforward experience developing the Yammer integration.
First of all, it was very helpful that Yammer supports OAuth2. It may look obvious, but actually, there is a fair number of collaboration tools out there that don’t do that.
Also, Yammer provides a clean REST API that we were able to use easily to implement the required actions.
But the real cool thing was from our perspective the possibility to define our own type of objects and actions through OpenGraph. And the fact that those objects and actions can be use through the REST API. Thanks to this feature, we were able to achieve 2 important things:
- use suggestive words for Quandora’s activity. Sean asked “What’s your favorite Java editor?” looks better than if the word “posted” would have been used, doesn’t it?
- store our custom objects (“questions”) into Yammer as such, and make them available via regular Yammer search.
Last but not least, we really appreciated the support on the developers network. Every time we had a question, we were able to get quick help by posting it on the network. And the integrations team from Yammer was remarkably accessible and helpful as well. Thanks guys!!
If you plan to try out this integration, we hope you’ll find it pleasant and useful. Please let us know what you think, we’re happy to hear from you! (Ideally to hear that you love it, but if you in fact hate it, we want to hear about this as well :-))
Happy knowledge sharing!