Microsoft recently released a little bit more information about it's Office 365 / Yammer roadmap. You can read the details here. The roadmap is a list of activities for bringing the two products together, devised after Microsoft bought Yammer for $1.2 billion in June 2012.
- Integration of Yammer with SharePoint search
- The placement of Yammer as the default activity feed in SharePoint
- An improved Yammer webpart for use on SharePoint pages and sites
- Improved document editing and instant messaging features in Yammer
But probably the biggest take-away from the whole thing was the evidence that Microsoft is really moving fast to get Yammer built natively into Office 365 and in the hands of clients as soon as possible. Clearly Microsoft did their research before buying the company and it really seems like they are pulling out all the stops to ensure customers start to see the benefits of social in the workplace. This is great news and really shows Microsoft is serious. Finally it seems social is coming of age in the Enterprise.
We've used Yammer quite a bit here at BrightStarr, both internally and on projects with our clients. It is a really neat product that offers a lot to its users. One of our clients is using it as a 'Q&A' portal, almost banning questions from email entirely. When communicated over Yammer, questions can be much richer, more easily include other people, and include things like votes and likes. Another client has added Yammer to the homepage of their Intranet using the activity feed as a daily barometer of what is going on in the company.
It is this integration with SharePoint (specifically SharePoint 2013 Online) that has us here at BrightStarr very excited indeed. Microsoft is now well under way in placing Yammer as the defacto activity feed within SharePoint. Whilst SharePoint 2013 has some incredibly rich social tools of its own, Yammer have been doing this a lot longer and their implementation just feels right. Yammer in SharePoint brings with it proper following, likes, and @mentions. Further down the line Microsoft is going to tighten the integration between the content, document, and publishing sides of SharePoint. Yammer already supports documents on its own, but this is something SharePoint has been excelling at for a long time. All in all the meshing of the two makes for a pretty compelling product.
But Yammer is bringing to Microsoft more than just a really great product, they are also bringing a really great business model. We've had the pleasure of spending a little time with the Yammer team over the years and their attitude towards helping clients is fantastic.
Yammer know they have a great product, so their time with clients is spent focusing on configuring and implementing the product to maximise adoption and usage. Microsoft has a similar model, not least using partner companies like our own. However traditionally SharePoint has been seen as a product that can be customised, with code, as much as is needed. With Office 365 Microsoft is encouraging configuration of the 'out of the box product,' like Yammer, rather than writing lots of code. Having the Yammer team on board will really help with this adjustment to approach.
As you can tell here at BrightStarr we are pretty excited about Yammer and Microsoft right now. We have seen some very cool stuff and we just know our clients are really going to benefit. Keep an eye on this blog for future pieces on Yammer and what it can bring to your business.