Yammer: A Tip of the Hat to You!
Yes, you are seeing it correctly. A positive article about Yammer. A couple years ago, I wrote a critical article about the future of Yammer. During those years, Yammer was struggling. A lot. There weren’t many improvements and overall Yammer was a frustrating experience. I was struggling with this development because I sincerely believe in the essence and promise of Yammer. It is an Enterprise Social Network where people connect with each other. Organizational and hierarchal boundaries disappeared. In Yammer, everyone was equal. I helped many organizations deploying and adopting Yammer the way it was supposed to be used. That was the key: Using Yammer as it was intended to be used. A tool to connect people, sharing expertise, and asking questions. That said, things weren’t looking very bright.
Microsoft realized the position they were in with Yammer. Basically, the only Social tool within the Office 365 suite. The competition was becoming stronger per day. It had to step up the game! Since my critical blog, a lot of new features were introduced! In no particular order:
- Edit posts
- Check all messages as read all
- External Groups
- Move conversations
- Group types
- Seen counts
- Group Insights
- New SharePoint Web Part
Edit posts and move posts were very well received by the Office 365 community. We waited a long time for those features. In my eyes, the most important update was the Office 365 Groups integration. Finally, we were able to store documents within a SharePoint Document Library, use OneNote for our notes, and enable Office 365 Connectors. Enabling Dynamic Groups made the user management of larger Yammer Groups a lot easier. Overall, the Groups integration extended the collaboration experience within Yammer and brought it to the modern world.
During my day job as a Modern Workplace Consultant, I discuss all the collaboration tools within Office 365: SharePoint Team Sites, Microsoft Teams, Outlook Groups, and Yammer Groups. I try and explain the advantages and challenges of all the tools. My favorite collaboration tool is Microsoft Teams due to the connection and integration with all Office 365 services and tools. It is all into one interface. Yammer is a close second though because of the ease of the tool. Everyone is familiar with Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. This increases the adoption due to the familiar interface.
Depending on the culture and requirements, the first choice for a collaboration tool is often Microsoft Teams. That’s also because Teams is aimed at a group of people, where Yammer aims at a larger group of people: the whole company. That said, you can, of course, collaborate within Yammer Groups. I would recommend using this approach for companies who have widely adopted Yammer and have a successful Yammer network. Otherwise, I would go for Teams.
Room for Improvement
I have a lot of praise but there is still a lot of work to be done. I am looking at the following improvements:
- Local Data Centers
Search has been awful since the start. Plain awful. You can’t really find anything. We really need a modernized search. Ideally, it is one that’s integrated within the Microsoft Graph. I want to find Yammer content within the search results of SharePoint Home.
Yammer is still hosted within the US. This doesn’t have to be a big issue but there are plenty of companies who can’t adopt Yammer or store documents in Yammer due to the location of the data centers.
I am really happy with the progress Yammer made over the last couple years. I sincerely hope Microsoft stays focused and keeps improving Yammer. We need a strong Enterprise Social Network within the Modern Workplace. Let’s make sure Yammer is our friend in the world of Social.