It’s been a year since the acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft and there’s still a lot to be questioned and excited about. Since the acquisition, usage of Yammer has increased by 55% totaling 8MM users. With the powerful force of Microsoft behind it, that number will surely skyrocket once the integration plans are in place. But wait, let’s back up. What is Yammer?
Yammer is a social networking tool, similar to Twitter and Facebook, connecting individuals for the purpose of collaboration and knowledge sharing, but within a company. This unique collaboration tool enables associates to connect with their partners and peers, share files, receive instantaneous feedback and co-author documents. With the ability to access Yammer from any device (i.e. Tablet, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows) these functions can essentially be performed while on-the-go, increasing productivity and response times. Using Yammer in a business environment bridges the gap of geographical barriers for communication. Depending on the size of your firm and number of offices, this could be a real game-changer. And of course, depending on the culture and nature of your firm, Yammer will be used in different ways. Is this something your firm has considered? How are you currently sharing documents and communicating with your peers?
You may be wondering how Yammer is different than every other collaboration tool, such as SharePoint. Valid point. The truth is, there’s a lot of overlap which is why such a thoughtful integration plan is taking place. The integration will create a single sign-on, furthering the integration and commitment between the two. Document sharing, versioning, editing and tagging are all functions that can be performed by both Yammer and SharePoint, but there are differences. Below is a helpful chart outlining functionality differences, also found here:
|Via File Explorer||Yes||Yes|
|Via Drag and Drop||No||Yes|
|Version History||Yes – single version type||Yes – major and minor versions|
|Check In / Check Out||No||Yes|
|Commenting in Browser||Yes||Yes|
|Commenting in Office Client||No||Yes|
|Co-Authoring in Browser||No||Yes|
|Co-Authoring in Office Client||No||Yes|
|Share with a group||Yes||Yes|
|Share with a user||Yes||Yes|
|Share via email||Yes||Yes|
|Document Following and Alerts|
|Out-the-box||Yes – files, notes and links||No|
|User Defined||No||Yes – including Managed Metadata Service|
|Tagging||Yes – via Topics||Yes – via Tags and Notes|
|Approval Workflows||No||Yes – out-the-box and custom|
|End User||No||Yes – Recycle Bin|
Here is also a list of hot projects to connect both the Yammer and SharePoint experiences, found at SharePoint’s blog:
- SharePoint search integration. We’re enabling SharePoint search to search Yammer conversations and setting the stage for deeper, more powerful apps that combine social and search.
- Yammer groups in SharePoint sites. The Yammer app in the SharePoint store will allow you to manually replace a SharePoint site feed with a Yammer group feed, but we recognize that many customers will want to do this programmatically. We’re working on settings that will make Yammer feeds the default for all SharePoint sites. (See below for a mock-up of a Yammer group feed surfaced as an out-of-the-box component of a SharePoint team site.)
- Yammer messaging enhancements. We’re redesigning the Yammer user experience to make it easier to use as a primary communication tool. We’ll also be improving directed messaging and adding the ability to message multiple groups at once.
- Email interoperability. We’re making it easier than ever to use Yammer and email together. You’ll be able to follow an entire thread via email, respond to Yammer messages from email, and participate in conversations across Yammer and email.
- External communication. Yammer works great inside an organization, but today you have to create an external network to collaborate with people outside your domain. We’re improving the messaging infrastructure so that you can easily include external parties in Yammer conversations.
- Mobile apps. We’ll continue to invest in our iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 8, and Windows 8 apps as primary access points. The mobile apps are already a great way to use Yammer on the go, and we’ll continue to improve the user experience as we add new features to the service.
- Localization. We’re localizing the Yammer interface into new languages to meet growing demand across the world.
Until it’s clear what the Yammer experience will look and feel like, it’s hard to say it’s a “must do.” There are a lot of real benefits to Yammer; I have successfully used it before. With the integration of SharePoint (which will be the first phase), Skype, Office365, Dynamics CRM, etc, there is a lot of real potential in Yammer’s longevity. We’re looking forward to it. Are you?