Yammer was founded in 2008 and Microsoft acquired it in 2012 for $1.2B. Since then, they have spent the last few years integrating with the Microsoft Office 365 platform. This integration included:
- Single sign on with Azure Active Directory
- OneDrive for attachment support
- Yammer SharePoint classic web part integrating with Office 365 Groups
- Management interface
- Data center support
- Compliance support
At the end of the day though, all of these features were filling gaps and not innovating in new areas. There is no mind-blowing feature that makes it stand out against the competition.
- The strength of Yammer is that it is a Facebook clone for internal organizations. With over 1.8B people using Facebook on a daily basis, many are familiar with how to use it to engage with others in their personal life. Adoption time to use Yammer is easier because of this.
- Yammer is centered around the entire organization. This is the main difference to the other products mentioned above as they have limits to numbers of members.
- Posts can go out from ANY individual and everyone can see these posts and like and respond to them. You can also create Groups that are public or private for specific users.
- The topic tagging capability on conversations helps users find conversations by keywords.
- You can create polls to get feedback in a structured way.
- The Yammer company feed and group feeds become active with lots of conversations. So it can be difficult to keep up with conversations to make sure that when you’re mentioned you respond; or that you help in areas where you are a subject matter expert. The Inbox is the only real way to even attempt this. The “mark all as read” option to help with cleanup in bulk is finally there! However, the inbox does not have any filtered views you can configure to help triage this.
- The openness of Yammer often scares organizations who do not want users to be able to post for everyone to see. There is still no ability for a user to flag/report a thread much like other social networks.
- Yammer struggles to help users find information. The search is the biggest complaint I get from users in organizations.
- Much like SharePoint Groups, you cannot manage membership with AD groups. Yammer was a standalone, non-Microsoft orientated product before it was acquired. So Yammer users can be added to groups but can’t be managed with AD groups. This raises a lot of concerns with security of department Yammer Groups that have to be managed separately to typically controlled AD groups.
Stay tuned for the last part to our guest series with Hyperfish next week where we’ll be reviewing the pro’s and con’s of Office 365.