Yammer Buys OneDrum for Office Collaboration Tools

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Enterprise social networking vendor Yammer said Wednesday it has purchased OneDrum, maker of software that allows users to work on Microsoft Office documents and other files collaboratively. Terms were not disclosed.

Today, users still rely largely on email to share files with each other, a cumbersome process that can lead to problems, such as difficulty keeping track of document version histories, according to Yammer.

The addition of OneDrum's technology will allow users to gain access to Yammer files through a desktop folder, which will contain folders for their various Yammer groups, the company said. Files can be dragged into the folder and uploaded to Yammer, which synchronizes them back to other group members' desktops.

These files each have a unique URL, allowing workers to view them through a browser. Changes made to a document are flagged within the Yammer system's Ticker activity stream, alerting users who are involved with it.

Workers can also work simultaneously on Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentation files once they are pulled into a Yammer desktop folder. "Character-by-character changes appear as colleagues make edits to the file, while color-coded cursors identify different users collaborating in the document," Yammer said.

The system incorporates 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption for information in transit, and 256-bit AES encryption for data at rest, according to Yammer. Other security and archiving features include a viewing permissions framework; the ability to mark content read-only; and a version history function.

OneDrum's features will be rolled out later this year as a desktop-based application that will not require a separate plug-in for Microsoft Office, Yammer said.

The OneDrum acquisition represents "a big step in bridging the old and new styles of work" on the part of Yammer, Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky said in a blog post on Wednesday. "Many people still rely heavily on Office documents as part of their daily workflow. The combination of Yammer and OneDrum will make it easier for them to share, edit, comment, Like and discover those files."

However, OneDrum's functionality "is not unique," he added. "Competitors such as Jive offer similar integration which they obtained via the acquisition of Offisync in May 2011. Box, DropBox and other 'file sharing' vendors are also hard at work on improving their collaboration and sharing features."

The OneDrum deal comes amid an onrush of consolidation in the social collaboration software market. Also Wednesday, Citrix announced it has purchased cloud-based project management and collaboration vendor Podio.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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