Gettin’ Yammered!

By: Chris Judd

Here at GISi, we get Yammered.  Some of us even do it during work hours – and it’s not against company policy, in fact it is encouraged.  As a part of our commitment to Service Excellence, we need to communicate and let each other know when we are doing well.  This is premise behind my latest and first project here at the company, the Peer Recognition System.

Yammer Look and Functionality

Yammer describes itself as “a private social network for your company”.  It can be thought of as having the layout of Facebook and the following feature of Twitter but with the universe of people limited to just a specific company.  As you can see from the screenshot below, the GISi Yammer page has a strong resemblance to Facebook, sporting the similar blue and white color scheme:


Yammer as an Organizational Development Tool

A central goal of GISi is “To Be the Premier GIS Firm to Work For and With”.  As a company and as employees we are committed to our organizational development.  A part of this strategy is to facilitate feedback, not just up and down the management chain – but from peer to peer.  This recognition and acknowledgement of our good works goes a long way to build and improve relationships inside the company.  A couple years back, Yammer introduced their “Praise” feature for employees to recognize individuals or groups of people in the company. The praise interface is very similar to how one would post a normal status update on Yammer.  You input the person or persons you want to praise, add a little note about why you are praising them, and assign the topics/hash tags to list specific skills or products you are praising them about.


The Peer Recognition System is Born

The employees in our company started using the praise feature immediately after it was released!  It was decided that we needed to aggregate all of this good Karma so it could be tallied and reported in an analytical way.  This is where I came in.  I was given the assignment to gather up all of the kudos/Karma activity and harvest it to be displayed on the employee’s profile page on our company intranet.

Putting the technology together really wasn’t very difficult thanks to Yammer’s Rest API.  Here the steps that I took:

  • Everything starts after you register a new application by going here:
  • yammer3

  • Get authenticated: Yammer has a very detailed tutorial on using OAuth 2.0 to get access to the data.
  • Use the Yammer Rest API to cull out the praise data.
  • yammer4

  • Create a database structure to persist the Yammer data.
  • Then I created a simple ASP.Net web page to display the data that I collected.
  • Used the Content Editor Web Part (CEWP) to insert the simple ASP.Net page in SharePoint as an iframe.

We broke down the data by the topic (or hash tag) that a person was praised for, inserted their praiser’s profile picture, added a count of the Karma that has been given and received – called the Karma Counter.

Final Product

Now it’s easy to see who has a stash of Karma in the company.  We can just browse over our company intranet profile and admire all of the good Karma we have built up or given out.  Check out the final results, looks pretty good, don’t you think?


About GISi
Geographic Information Services, Inc. (GISi), is a professional services GIS consulting firm established in 1991 and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. The GISi team consists of highly experienced, educated professionals known for thought leadership and mission-critical thinking in the fields of geography, planning, environmental science and information technology. GISi is an industry leader in the innovative use of geospatial technology. As a professional services organization with strong technical capabilities and a culture of service excellence, GISi has an unparalleled reputation of enabling customer success. GISi helps organizations turn data into insight by leveraging spatial technology merged with tabular data for visualization and analytical capabilities. Additionally, GISi's sole focus is helping organizations derive maximum value from their ESRI investment through installation, configuration, data processing, custom development, and training services. GISi maintains a strong relationship with ESRI and has been a member of its Business Partner Program for more than 15 years. GISi has been honored by ESRI eight times in the last seven years for its innovative work in the ArcGIS environment including the inaugural ESRI Foundation Partner Award, Southeast Region Business Partner of the Year, and Most Valuable Programmer (MVP) Award for six years running.

2 Responses to Gettin’ Yammered!

  1. Mike Haggerty says:

    Good idea Chris! Who is the reigning Yammer champ this year?

  2. Would you be open to share the code?

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