Social media networks have had a significant impact on how people connect and share information, and more and more businesses are looking for ways to incorporate that kind of conversational, small group networking into their organizations. For organizations using Office 365, Microsoft is offering their business-focused social media network Yammer as a way to make enterprise social work for your organization.
Yammer and Office 365 Integration
Yammer is not yet fully integrated into Office 365, but already has features in place and a solid roadmap for future integration and expansion. The message coming out of the March 2014 SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas was “work like a network,” accompanied by plans to expand the existing Yammer Groups experience, create an Office Graph feature, a new app, and to pull social experiences into existing applications, like SharePoint 2013.
Yammer feeds in Office 365 and Office web apps are coming up, but the new Yammer app for SharePoint is available now and definitely worth trying out, even if there are some barriers to user adoption. It’s not a default part of SharePoint online or on-premises yet, but can be added to both so your users can begin adapting to Yammer as Microsoft encourages customers to use Yammer to replace current SharePoint social features.
Adding Yammer Apps
Adding Yammer apps is possible even in on-premises installations, but easier to do in SharePoint online sites once an Office 365 global admin has made the app available for use. Microsoft has provided a downloadable whitepaper for on-premises customers to help them switch between SharePoint social features and Yammer. They also offer a step by step guide on adding a Yammer feed for SharePoint online sites, including options on choosing between Group, Home, and Comment feeds.
Once the app is added to your SharePoint sites, the next step is for users to sign into Yammer and collaborate. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single sign-in experience available yet, although it is on the roadmap.
However, Microsoft has recently simplified the login process by offering an option to map Office 365 users to their existing Yammer accounts. You do need to enable user mapping, following the steps outlined in the simplified Yammer login guide, but once that’s done, users will not need to log in to Yammer again from Office 365. It’s not a seamless experience yet, but it does help boost user adoption by removing a few steps and also streamlining creation of new Yammer accounts.
Overall, the Yammer app makes it easier to collect comments, thoughts, and feedback on your SharePoint sites without losing information in endless email chains. It also makes it easier for remote and asynchronous groups to collaborate, even with the still-imperfect installation and adoption process. As new features are published, and the Office 365 user experience improves further, it will become an even more useful tool.
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