April 24, 2012

Upgrade Your Yammer Group? Switch to Convo!

Yammer network users might have been surprised today to get an email from the service with the beneficent message that their existing Yammer group(s) had been upgraded to the Premium version – free for 60 days.

Once the 60 days is up – sometime in late June – administrators will then presumably be asked to cough up $79 a month to continue using the network with enhanced capability. Most of the upgraded features are administrative, and you will be able to downgrade your group to basic to continue using it for free.

But here’s the catch: basic groups have a 1 gb limit on storage. If your Yammer group has been active, with a lot of content shared, there’s a good chance you’ll be over that threshold and find yourself forced into upgrading to get enough space.

Here’s a brilliant idea for how to protect against finding yourself in that awkward position: instead of creating a Yammer group for your extended collaborations, create a Convo group! Here’s what you’ll get:

  • First, we have no limits on storage. So you won’t get into that Yammer bind.
  • Second, while Yammer makes you decide in advance whether a group is internal or external, that’s not the case with Convo. You can begin your group as internal, for example, and extend it to include others outside your organization whenever you need to.
  • The new Yammer touts the ability to cross-post content from one group to another and to have a private conversation about content. Convo already has that capability – for free.
  • In Convo all group activity is integrated into your news feed. In Yammer, each external group has its own feed, so if you manage multiple such groups, you have to pop into each one separately to keep up with your world.

Most importantly, Convo’s interaction model drives deeper engagement and broader adoption. There’s much it has to offer that no version of Yammer has:

  • Content markup and annotations, integrated into your activity stream. This makes your collaborations more immediate and makes your team more responsive.
  • Instant messaging and group chat, either oriented around specific content or not. This makes the environment even more responsive and engaging.
  • The best email integration capability of any current social cloud collaboration tool, so you can keep your Luddite collaborators, still clinging to their Inbox, in the loop.
  • The ability to highlight and annotate web pages and web apps. No other platform enables this capability, which can even be used with your organization’s browser-based enterprise apps.
  • The fastest response time available in a rich mobile app, so you can fully engage even when you’re on the go.

So there you have it: stick to Yammer, and get taken to the cleaners in 60 days. Or switch your group to the new cleaner look and richer interaction model in Convo. You’ll never look back!

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