At Yamjam 2012 today, Yammer has announced the next iteration of its enterprise platform plans, called the Enterprise Graph. Yammer is a leading work media player, and was acquired earlier this year by Microsoft for over $1B.
This new generation of Yammer’s API is designed to allow enterprise software vendors to embed Yammer functionality into their apps. This is a real parallel to the Facebook platform strategy, and the idea is similar, allowing others to embed specific bits of Yammer functionality — such as activity streams, follow and like buttons, and pages —within those third party apps.
This functionality reminds me of Socialcast Reach, but a few years after that pioneering approach (perhaps a few years too early).
Obviously, Yammer and Microsoft are pushing aggressively to become the platform of choice for enterprise apps to become social, trying to take the high ground in the new battlefield in the work media marketplace.
To the extent that anyone was using the Socialcast work media tool to post into the Twitter stream, they won’t be any longer:
Twitter Compatible API: The Socialcast Twitter Compatible API allowed people to view a Socialcast stream, and post updates from within various Twitter Clients such as TweetDeck. On August 30, 2010, Twitter changed their approach and modified their Terms of Service. Twitter now requires that client developers adhere to “third party content” guidelines that drastically limit the ability for Twitter Clients to consume content from services like Socialcast. Due to these changes to Twitter’s Terms of Service, Socialcast will cease support for the Socialcast Twitter Compatible API on October 1, 2012.
Note: The Twitter Feed import capability is not affected by this change.
Basically, Twitter thinks it owns everything that anyone puts into the stream, and it has to stay there. Period.
This is almost as crazy as blocking IFTTT.
I need to get a demo of Strides, which sounds like a new, simpler, more Yammer-ish social stream app than Socialcast’s original technology.
Tim Young announces Socialcast acquisition by VMware.
Sounds like the team will be staying:
Most importantly, the people of Socialcast are going to continue to be here to guide your deployments, offer advice, provide support, and build a relationship with you. Both the leadership and employee base will continue to work on the Socialcast product. Our people are our strongest asset, and you’ll enjoy the same relationship you always have.
I am eager to get an update from Tim on his direction, and how this plays in VMware’s recent acquisition spree, including SlideRocket.
Steve Herrod, VMWare’s CTO, says some smart things about the future of work media:
First, let’s step back and look at today’s approach to enterprise communication. For the last 30 years, personal computing has primarily focused on automating the metaphors of the pre-digitized workplace including the “inbox” and “outbox” tray, manila folders, and printed documents. We’ve largely replaced printed memos, mail carts, and filing cabinets with documents, email, and file shares. These tools have dramatically improved our productivity, but the increasing volume of information can be overwhelming and requires manual prioritization and organizational work to keep up with this data deluge.
While traditional mail- and document-centric interaction will certainly remain critical, there are new approaches to collaboration taking root that better exploit the paradigms of the web. For example, communication is increasingly iterative, with fine-grained interaction replacing letter-like back-and-forth. Furthermore, these activity streams increasingly take place across dispersed groups of informally linked collaborators rather than following the boundaries of a formal organization hierarchy. And in today’s frantic world, the information in these activity streams should only interrupt the right people at the right time… and of course be safely archived and searchable. In summary, there is an opportunity for improved collaboration across a company that can drive new levels of productivity and employee satisfaction.
Over the last 3 years, Socialcast has been growing rapidly and garnering the reputation as a true visionary in the enterprise collaboration space. By focusing on people and their work habits, they have developed a platform deployed by some of the world’s largest companies to facilitate communication and collaboration across the entire enterprise. The Socialcast team has achieved this success by delivering the key elements of next-generation enterprise collaboration… real-time activity streams, a social graph of the entire enterprise, and the ability to participate in contextual- and purpose-oriented groups. These are fairly standard elements in this space, but there are four traits that make Socialcast particularly special:
- Rich integration capabilities
- Safe Collaboration wherever you work
- On- and Off-premise deployment
- A platform for new collaborative applications
I wrote an analysis of Socialcast last year, now summarized at my new workmedia.ly site, where I said:
Socialcast has developed a social streaming application based on groups and activity streams, and then proceeded to pour the company’s energies into making it a platform for socially instrumenting the various applications that an enterprise might be running its business on. With the Reach release, Socialcast has demonstrated that it is possible to unite a wide variety of applications — that themselves may lack streams or other capabilities associated with social tools — and therefore allow a company to connect all its functions through activity streams.
The only downside of this strategy is that Socialcast is likely to be evaluated — in part, at least — by the third party applications that it relies on to perform functional work, like CRM and HR. By relying on best-of-breed partners, like SugarCRM, Confluence and Taleo, those considerations are minimized. However, it is also possible that some of these current or potential partners — like Salesforce, Jive, and others — may themselves be jockeying for the role of the core social platform. I see a great deal of possible conflict, here, but it is not limited to Socialcast: it is a market-wide conflict.
And that is apparently a conflist that VMware wants to wade into.
To celebrate the launch of Podio tonight (at the Podio Store, 224 6th in San Francisco) I am going to provide free access to my report, Streams In Business, this week only. The report provides in-depth scenario-based evaluations of the following products: Podio, Bantam Live, Cohuman, Flowr, IBM Connections, Mangoapps, Socialcast, and Yammer.
Here’s one comment about Podio, from the report:
The combination of rich user-defined or user-customizable applications and Podio’s mechanisms for easily filtering the datasets being managed by their apps seems to be to be an amazingly powerful environment for managing everyday workflows, and sharing the stream of activities that form the basis of today’s work.
The full report is managed in a Box.net folder, located at http://www.box.net/shared/ko7v7z6gvr and the password to open it is ‘antimony’. Box.net supports download an entire folder, or you can download the files independently.
Please leave comment or questions on this blog post, if you’d like.
I have been deep in the investigation of streaming applications designed to be used in business for several months. Think of it as Twitter or Facebook for the enterprise (a list of the companies involved follows), also know as microblogging for the enterprise.
For months I’ve been heads down, evaluating products, getting demos, writing my observations, and basically heading toward publishing a report on the state of the market. The date of publication has slipped a bit, for two very different reasons. First, I have been dealing with a bit of a family crisis, as my very ill father has had to enter an assisted living facility, and is now receiving hospice care. But more pertinent to the study itself, the pace of the technical world has made the research and the report very difficult.
These difficulties also included the obvious fact that the staff of the various product companies are extremely busy. This has led to rescheduling of demos, slipped deadlines on demo materials, and in some cases companies opting out of the study simply because they have no time. (Note: some of the companies in the study are sponsoring my research, but some are not, so money is not a requirement, although it comes with extra benefits, including a chance to review their respective chapter of the report, and a briefing after the report is completed.)
Another factor making the research difficult is that new streaming application companies are popping up all the time. In just the past two months I came across Podio, Cohuman, and Flowr, and all have become involved in the study.
And a third factor is that the products keep changing. While I was writing up the section about Flowr, this week, I logged into my Flowr account to check a detail. I saw that some major user interface changes had taken place, and I sent an email to my contact there asking for updated screenshots for the chapter. I am still awaiting them, but I will likely get them in the next few days. However, by that time, something equally significant may have happened on Yammer, or BantamLive. I might have to turn around and ask those companies for updates. And so on.
It is these last two factors that are the most challenging, as an increasing tempo and rate of innovation in this hot corner of the social business marketplace makes pinning down the players in a short window of time very difficult.
I had a insight the other morning, in that semi-asleep moment just before fully waking up. I saw the report as a version, just like the products that I am reviewing.
So rather than trying to be completely comprehensive, and issuing the report once per year, I am going over to a more agile model.
The report will be versioned, and the first version — coming out the week after next — will be version 2010.1. I have decided to make the calendar year the prefix of the versioning scheme, for simplicity’s sake. I plan to release new versions every six to eight weeks (2010.2, 2011.1, etc.), adding new product reviews and updating others, as major updates in the streaming apps are announced or released.
Here’s the outline of the report, version 2010.1:
The Streams In Business Research Report 2010.1
Introduction — A summary of the subject, the approach taken, and the scenarios used to evaluate the products (see Microstreams In Business: Scenarios For Product Evaluation).
Product Evaluations: Positioning, Scenario-based Evaluation, and Conclusions for the following products
- Coffee Bean Technology
- IBM Connections
- Dimensions of Differentiation
- What’s Ahead
In upcoming versions, I hope to include other competitors such as Salesforce Chatter, Socialtext, Traction Software, Huddle, BlueKiwi, Brainpark, Jive Software, and others too many to mention. That is a function of their ability to work with me on the evaluation, though.
What Does This Mean To A Report Buyer?
Obviously, this rapid change in the market has repercussions for buyers of the report (and buyers of the products, as well). For example, Betty Ling might buy a copy of the report on 5 November, and by 15 December new product releases may come along to change her thinking about which product might be the best for her company.
Since we can’t put a brake on the market, We can offer the buyer the opportunity to stay up with it. So, I am going to modify my pricing model to allow a buyer three versions of the report. So Betty could download the 2010.2 version of the report in December, and also a copy of the 2011.4 report in June 2011, just to see what’s out there.
A buyer will received the current version at the time of purchase, and then can request up to two more copies via email, and those versions will be sent along. Additional versions will be available for an additional fee.
The report subscription — up to three copies within 12 calendar months from initial purchase — is $195, and this include access to all free and for fee webinars that I hold on the topic.
For information on the report and the webinars, sign up for the mailing list, here. We will be mailing out updates in the next week about the report and webinars.