Yammer execs discuss platform's growth, show off new Windows 8 features

Less than a year after being taken over by Microsoft, enterprise social network Yammer is proving that the $1.2 billion (£790 million) deal may have been a good investment after all.

Speaking to existing and prospective customers during the London stop of the Yammer On Tour promotional tour, Yammer co-founder and chief technology officer Adam Pisoni touted the platform’s growth over the past year and its vision to help companies value open communication and internal transparency.

Since the acquisition in the summer of 2012, Yammer has multiplied its user base from three million to seven million in 150 countries, marking an impressive 165 per cent increase in the number of paying customers among its user base. Moreover, in line with the booming mobile and bring your own device trends, the company doubled its mobile usage, Pisoni said.

“The way we work impacts the work we do” is Yammer’s tagline and Pisoni drove that message home, pointing to the importance of integrating appropriate, relevant technologies to facilitate internal dialogue and become better positioned to adapt to ever-changing business landscapes.

Yammer’s proposition is to offer a solution for that need - the platform integrates a handful of the major elements being considered by IT decision-makers today - the cloud, mobile, social and big data - and allows them to communicate in a flexible, adaptable way.

“We’re helping your companies be more adaptable, more transparent, more aligned,” said Pisoni.

We also got a sneak peak at a handful of key updates Yammer users can expect to in a quick demonstration from the company’s chief product officer James Patterson, who said that an updated version of the service will roll out “in a couple of months”. Unsurprisingly, much of Yammer’s future will involve tight integration with Microsoft’s other products, including Windows 8 and its suite of enterprise-aimed productivity tools.

“What we think about is how to make companies more open and employees more connected,” Patterson said. “Our vision is to be a platform that makes it easier to share and communicate.”

The Yammer exec showed off the forthcoming Yammer Windows 8 app, which gets the Live Tile treatment, as well as a revamped, touch-optimised design that features a new navigation menu, a reimagined Yammer feed, and a new inbox, among other things.

Patterson also highlighted a new languages feature that uses Microsoft’s Translator API to translate messages and conversations sent through Yammer into a user’s native language, with 39 different languages available so far. Customers can also use the new fully functional Office web app within Yammer to collaborate on documents without having to open a new program, as well as carry on conversations about the document in question, with all dialogue and edits visible to co-workers on Yammer for maximum transparency.

“As part of Microsoft, we have access to a larger base of technoogy,” said Patterson, hinting that even more Microsoft integration could be on the way for Yammer.