This article was published on October 29, 2012

Yammer unveils the Open Graph for the enterprise, to help make business apps more social

Yammer unveils the Open Graph for the enterprise, to help make business apps more social
Ken Yeung
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Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

At its first-ever user conference, Yammer has announced what it’s calling “an enhanced” way for businesses to be more social.

At its YamJam 2012 conference, CEO and co-founder David Sacks told the crowd that his company is unveiling its Enterprise Graph — a new platform that will enable developers and customers to “seamlessly connect people, conversations, and data across all their business services.”

YamJam is the enterprise social network’s first public event since Microsoft closed its acquisition of the company. Companies that are at this event are looking to see just how enterprise software is being reinvented and can help transform a business.

And there are quite a lot of organizations interested in being at the forefront of this “transformation” — currently over 200,000 businesses use its product, including 7-eleven, UNICEF, eBay, Intuit, Ford, Boehringer Ingelheim, and many others. 85% of all Fortune 500 companies leverage the service as well, including four of the largest US companies, three of the top 10 beverage companies, three of the top global gas companies, and three of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies.

With its Enterprise Graph, Yammer is hoping that it will help solve the problem they call “social network sprawl”: where businesses find that they are interacting with multiple social networks inside their own company. The company is interested in finding a way to develop a standard to bring everything together and working off the same database. You might think of this as the Open Graph for the enterprise.

If you’re wondering what the Open Graph is or why it sounds so familiar, then you’re not alone. Perhaps the most well-known implementation of the Open Graph belongs to Facebook. By utilizing this language, companies will be able to take advantage of the user’s profile links, updates, and other useful information — it allows Yammer’s users to develop ways to draw information about more objects than simply people, such as photos, events, relationships between each other, etc. It doesn’t even need to apply to individuals — it can work for virtual non-human objects between individuals.

Sacks says that Yammer would like to figure out how to make application and businesses more social but also develop a way where humans can interact with any piece of data they’re working with. As part of this new platform, users will be able to take advantage of several new features: embeddable feeds, follows and like buttons, pages, and the app directory.

Yes, Yammer did have many of these features before. What this Enterprise Graph appears to do make data more readily accessible. So with respect to the embeddable feeds, businesses can now insert conversations about “business data” in context. With pages, you can now follow them and they act similarly to profile pages for individuals and view the page’s activity, followers, and conversations.

Prior to today’s announcement, users had the ability to integrate other business applications into Yammer, starting with the Activity Stream API, which enabled the integration of existing enterprise business applications like Salesforce, Box, and TripIt so that data could be added to the social graph. Additionally, the company made available Yammer Connect, which enables users to port their account “identities” to their Intranet or other applications (think of it like Facebook Connect for the enterprise); Yammer Embed, a service that allowed you to instantly add Yammer feeds to any business application; and other noted integrations, specifically with Sharepoint, Salesforce, and SAP.

All features within the Enterprise Graph will be available to Yammer’s customers starting today.

Photo credit: Jim Merithew/

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