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Sharing documents socially
Monday, 16th April 2012
Yammer, the enterprise social network, which allows employees to post short updates, create pages and upload files, has announced that it has purchased online collaboration tool oneDrum. Will this combination make sense for the enterprise?
Yammer, the enterprise social network, which allows employees to post short updates, create pages and upload files, has announced that it has purchased oneDrum.
oneDrum is an online collaboration tool that allows users to share and edit documents in programs such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Microsoft Word. With oneDrum, users get all the benefits of online tools like GoogleDocs and Zoho Office but without having to learn how to use a new tool.
What are the benefits
This certainly looks like a shrewd move by Yammer as they look to become more than just Facebook behind the firewall. One of the biggest benefits with the integration of oneDrum will be that Yammer users will be able to upload files to Yammer from their desktop or shared drive and any changes made to the document, whilst saved to their desktop or shared drive, will be automatically updated in Yammer. This is currently one of the challenges with using Yammer as, although documents can be uploaded, once they're uploaded they can't be updated without being uploaded again. Yammer has addressed this to some extent with the addition of pages. However the integration of OneDrum will make the uploading and future editing of documents seamless.
The other perhaps more significant benefit will be the ability to co-create documents in Yammer. This functionality, which you can see demonstrated in this video means that any document saved to a Yammer folder can have multiple authors editing it at any time. This is similar functionality to that offered by GoogleDocs. If a document is being edited by multiple authors, they will be colour coded and character by character changes are shown.
This is potentially game changing by Yammer as they're effectively going up against the likes of not just GoogleDocs but SharePoint, which doesn't allow multiple individuals to edit documents. SharePoint does of course offer microblogging, activity streams, groups and the ability of upload documents, but add in the ability to allow multiple individuals to edit documents and Yammer has the potential to challenge SharePoint and similar tools to some extent.
Social document sharing
Yammer and GoogleDocs aren't the only tools that allow documents to be shared socially, but Yammer is perhaps one of the biggest to offer a way for organisations to share documents socially. Within an organisation users will typically create, share and modify documents within a document management system. With social features added, using a tool like Yammer, Socialtext or Confluence, the document management experience becomes more user-centric – in principle this helps everyone complete tasks with less hassle. Social functionality also enables more transparent communication and gives users simple views of comments and other activities alongside the document.
Another benefit of creating and sharing documents socially is that it allows users and teams to work more efficiently and effectively. For example, by sharing the document to wider groups and being able to discuss the document without having to engage in long email messages. Ultimately sharing documents socially in this manner allows users to do their work more easily.
If you're interested in looking at other social document sharing sites, then the last link in the list of other resources below gives details of the Top 20 freely available social document sharing sites.
By James Mullan
James Mullan has worked in the legal sector since 2001. He is an advocate of social media tools and has been talking about how these tools can be used by information professionals and organisations since 2005. James is currently BIALL President and in 2009 won the Wildy-BIALL Law Librarian of the year award for his use of social media tools. Outside of work James is a keen runner and maintains his own blog called "The Running Librarian" Follow James on Twitter @jamesmullan6, friend him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.
James can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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