This is the fourth instalment in my five-part series of blogs about new technologies and services which were announced at Microsoft Ignite.
There’s a big push on Yammer at the moment, with Microsoft referring to it as the Year of Yammer and branding this as #YearOfYammer.
If you’re not familiar with Yammer, it is Microsoft’s enterprise social network – think of it as Facebook for the workplace. It has been around for several years, but the Yammer of the past has always seemed disconnected from the rest of Microsoft services, creating confusion amongst users.
One of the reasons for this has been the disconnect between the main identity solution behind Yammer and other Microsoft services. It used to require a separate identity, because Yammer was a third-party product acquired by Microsoft. This has now been addressed with full integration with Azure Active Directory (AD) and Office 365 groups.
Microsoft’s primary aim with Yammer this year is to improve the user experience, and to simplify its use in the workplace. This can be summarised as:
- Leadership engagement
- Knowledge sharing
- Corporate communications
Yammer groups are changing to be referred to as ‘Communities’, to remove the possible confusion between Yammer Groups and Office 365 groups. There will still be groups in Yammer, but these are Office 365 groups – so this will provide a membership service for all other Microsoft 365 services (such as Teams, Planner and Stream).
To date, the Yammer user interface has not been as good as the modern experience in Office 365, so this will now be refreshed in line with SharePoint Online. There will also be deeper integration with other services - such as Outlook, Teams and SharePoint - to provide a seamless experience, including a new Yammer app for Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft is also bringing greater integration into the Outlook apps, with the ability to interact with Yammer posts directly from your Outlook inbox without needing to leave the app. You may remember from my previous posts that similar integration is also being introduced when users receive email notifications for @mentions in Office documents – it’s all about integration right now.
The updates and features mentioned here and previously show how Microsoft is working towards its keynote theme of ‘to empower every person and organisation to do more’ – and how it sees Yammer as one of the services that can help achieve that goal.