In his session at GlobalCon2 yesterday, Jason Mayans (Group Product Manager for Yammer at Microsoft) introduced a 'New Yammer' to an excited audience! As expected, this session generated a healthy debate (in the session chat) between the benefits and features of Yammer and Teams.

During the session, we received comments such as:

  • We use it for communications that go out to a much wider audience than Teams
  • We use Yammer to share updates with specific teams or communities of interest
  • I am the leader of a company singing group. I use Yammer to announce rehearsals and concerts to the company at-large, but my Teams site will be only for people currently a member of my singing group.
  • I've used Yammer for informal / general comms that weren't specific to a project or team
  • We use Teams for our core work with files, meetings, chat, and collaboration with the people we work with every day to get things done. Yammer is for larger, company-wide conversations and events (like HR, IT, diversity and inclusion, leadership, etc), as well as for broad announcements and news that need conversations around it, and open knowledge sharing and Q&A with people that you don't necessary "know".

And also questions arose such as:

  • I just do not get how this isn't teams? Channels setup carefully gives you this functionality

“We use Yammer with hundreds of users who are not part of our tenant, but now that it's fully integrated, have to figure out how to handle that”

So - what did Jason tell us?

Fitting in with Microsoft's aim to help companies thrive, build and rebuild in an ever changing climate, Jason described the Yammer mission as to "help organisations and people around the planet achieve more" as the "new normal" way of life evolves.

The new Yammer is really the first, Microsoft 365 service that's been redesigned from the ground up using the fluent design system.

Examples of ways in which organisations can engage with the new yammer are:

  • HR - to support flexible work styles and to streamline the employee onboarding experience
  • Marketing - to collect and share customer feedback, collect ideas from the company and announce campaigns
  • IT - to announce new company wide rollouts and new and new technology adoptions
  • Sales teams  - use the new Yammer to enable best practice sharing between employees, share competitive insights with each other and share account intelligence.
  • Product teams - for knowledge basis, identifying product issues, sharing feedback and idea generation 
  • Leaders can reinforce the company, mission, values and goals with workers and live events, unlock company experiences for people in the field or on the go.

The Yammer team have been rapidly releasing new features and integrations to help customers navigate this new world, and the new Yammer experiences are now available in public preview. The slide below summarises the current availability of features.

He demonstrated the New Yammer experience on the web & showed the modern, clean, fresh experience that can highlight conversations happening within your organization.

The new Yammer feed is an AI and machine learning feed that uses information about your activity in Yammer and across Office 365 to present content that you're interested in, both content from communities that you're a part of and from people you're following. 

A lot of common Microsoft 365 elements are used providing the ability to switch to other apps, the common search bar across the suite with auto-complete behaviour for people and communities which gives a very consistent experience.

One of the big changes in new Yammer is renaming groups to communities to reinforce the purpose of Yammer. Yammer is about connecting your employees together in communities, it's not about teamwork (that's for Teams). Yammer is not about a generic concept of groups, but it's really about building a community in your organization.

The Leadership Connection Community

This is a very common type of community used within the Yammer to help leaders and employees connect with each other, enable employees to ask questions of leadership and enable leadership to help reinforce the culture they want within an organization. 

This community was designed with community managers in mind, to help hem drive the use and health of communities within organisations. Specific features for community managers allow:

  • Conversations (or announcements) to be pinned the top of a community
  • Conversation to be closed to further comments
  • Off topic / inappropriate comments to be flagged for review

Some of the different types of content that can be included are

  • Conversations
  • Questions
  • Send praise
  • Create a poll

Rich text can be used within posts, using bold, italics and increasing text size etc. The new Yammer publisher experience also attachments and .gifs be added. 

Live Events capability

The great thing about live events is that you can either view them "live", (where they're actually happening), or they're on-demand for your employees to find and watch at a later date.

Questions and conversations can be asked before, during and after the event has finished. Best answers can be flagged so they can be found first, saving a lot of unnecessary searching. Event managers can also be helped with an option to find unanswered questions.

New Yammer on Mobile

The new Yammer mobile experience is simple, beautiful, and clean, just like the web experience. When you first jump into Yammer mobile, you land in a personalized feed, which brings together conversations and announcements from across your communities.

Yammer mobile also offers a video sharing experience, allowing you to capture a live moment and share it directly into a Yammer community. The video recording experience, lets you instantly capture a video, add text, trim and edit it as needed, before being posted in order to create more visually powerful content. It's also perfect for creating a sense of authenticity allowing you to share authentic moments with your colleagues.

Yammer superpowers within the Office 365 Suite

Yammer can be integrated with Microsoft Teams as an app, providing easy and quick access to Yammer within the hub for teamwork and the updated Yammer web part in SharePoint, brings the features and the design of the new Yammer, including things like questions and answers to help you power a more social intranet.

Below, you can see the new updated SharePoint web part for Yammer. This matches the new design, but it's also a fully featured Yammer conversations experience. You can create new conversations, ask questions, use rich texts in this conversation, add attachments and gifs, all within the context of this SharePoint site.

Yammer Integration with Outlook

For users who live and work in outlook all day, they can also be reached with announcements created in Yammer and they can also interact with Yammer conversations without leaving their outlook inbox. 

New Yammer Benefits for IT

Organizations can now better manage compliance on Yammer with ease discovery, data governance, and centralized administration of Yammer within the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. These capabilities enable you to manage the compliance of Yammer really in the same way that you manage compliance across the rest of the suite for teams, for email and for SharePoint.

Native Mode

Native mode is a capability that enables you to enable compliance, within Yammer. It ensures that all of your users, groups and content in your Yammer network are backed by Microsoft 365. This is actually now the default state for any new customers who join Yammer.

The Native Mode Alignment Tool helps existing organizations move from their current state into Yammer native mode.

The benefits of native mode are:

  • Efficiency, it enables you to manage your Yammer communities and users, just like you do for other Microsoft 365 services using Azure active directory users and using Microsoft 365 groups.
  • It ensures that all of your files are stored in SharePoint, which means that they're subject to the existing SharePoint governance policies, and are enabled by SharePoint search.
  • It helps compliance, including E discovery through the compliance center.

For end users, native mode really helps them serve a consistent experience across all communities in Yammer, with deeper integrations in Microsoft 365. So it enables live events to happen in all of your communities. It enables richer teams and SharePoint integrations, and of course the broader kind of file discovery and file organization capabilities of SharePoint.

Once you enable native mode, E-discovery is available in the 365 security compliance center, built on the same platform as the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite. This means that you can discover Yammer content side by side with other workloads. With advanced E-discovery, you can reconstruct full conversations to match exactly what users saw in Yammer when you search for the content. Legal holds also now apply to Yammer conversation and files via SharePoint. This is all based on the underlying infrastructure of Office 365 connected groups. In addition to E-discovery through the Microsoft 365 security and compliance center, you get the capabilities of enabling communication compliance on top of the Yammer private messages and community conversations.

Data Governance

Data Governance capabilities enable you to have granular retention and deletion policies across communities and users. You can set up these policies to indicate how long you want to keep content in Yammer or how long before you want to delete that content. Lastly, within Yammer, we have the capability of a local data residency. this means that you can choose whether your Yammer network is provisioned in the United States or it's provisioned out of the EU, when you're creating that network and existing customers have the option to re-provision their networks from one location to the other.

To find out more information and out how to use the new Yammer Preview in your organization go here, and for Yammer adoption resources look here.

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About the author 

Helen Jones

Helen is our go-to admin superstar, not only does she organise our online events, but liaises with speakers, answers queries and generally keeps the rest of us in line! 2021 is the year she hopes to learn more about the Power Platform and become instrumental in supporting our online workshops.

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