Yammer to upgrade mobile apps, groups and search in enterprise social product

The company is also integrating its software with Microsoft Dynamics

Yammer will announce a series of enhancements to its enterprise social-networking software on Tuesday, including updates in areas such as search, groups and mobile, as well as expanded integration with third-party products, such as the Microsoft Dynamics enterprise applications.

A new Universal Search feature allows users to search through Yammer content from within pre-integrated third-party software, including Salesforce.com, SAP and Microsoft SharePoint. The new search function also comes with an API (application programming interface) for custom integrations.

Yammer customers will also get a new option to upgrade their collaborative workspace, called Groups, to a "premium" version that features more sophisticated IT administration features and end-user functionality.

Meanwhile, the Yammer iPhone and Android mobile apps now will feature "slide-out" navigation for easier access to features such as user profiles and groups, as well as access to more file types and a more streamlined user interface overall.

Pre-integrated third-party software has grown now to include six more products, including Microsoft Dynamics, making it possible for users to be notified of Dynamics actions and events within Yammer's activity streams. In addition, Dynamics content will appear in Yammer search results.

Other improved areas include content sharing and integration tools.

Yammer is one of a growing number of vendors making software that adapts the functions of social media services such as Facebook and Twitter to workplaces.

These enterprise social-networking (ESN) systems typically feature employee profiles, activity streams, microblogging, collaborative workspaces, file sharing and joint document editing, along with APIs and other developer tools. IT management and security features are also included.

The promise of ESN products is that they can jump-start internal employee collaboration and communication and boost external interaction with customers and partners.

Forrester Research forecasts that spending on ESN systems will grow at a compound annual rate of 61 percent through 2016, a year in which the market for these products will reach US$6.4 billion, compared with $600 million in 2010.

Other ESN vendors include Jive Software, Socialtext, Box.net, Telligent and NewsGator. In addition, vendors with broader collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft, IBM and Cisco, are increasingly adding ESN functionality to their products. Enterprise software vendors including Salesforce.com, Oracle and SAP are also adding ESN features to their applications.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.