We speak to a lot of customers about Yammer, often as part of a wider conversation about the Office 365 E-suite or collaboration and productivity in general.
One key theme across the majority of customers who are evaluating Office 365, or starting their migration to it is “Why do I need Yammer?”.
Ask 10 IT Directors or CIOs what their perception of Enterprise Social is and you’ll get the full spectrum of responses – some see it as a mission critical tool for connecting teams and sharing information, others see it as a work-provided Facebook – that will be misused for arranging nights out and talking about football.
Microsoft’s recent re-alignment of their communication tools to business uses yielded this great infographic that articulated where Redmond sees Yammer sitting in the conversation:
With Teams being pushed to the forefront as the de facto communication tool, the question of Yammer’s function becomes key for companies looking to migrate to Office 365, or those who have migrated but are looking to use the right tool for the right function.
There is more and more crossover becoming visible between the use-cases for Teams and Yammer when it comes to wide-scale information sharing across groups or company-wide.
The terms ‘Inner loop’ and ‘Outer loop’ are being used more and more to differentiate the communication methods and information types used – with the Inner loop being more focussed, time-sensitive information to a known group of collaborators and the Outer loop being more broadcast, asynchronous communications – such as social – where specific recipients or responders may not be known.
At New Signature, we believe in the benefits of a social channel in the workplace, particularly for the following use cases:
Helping colleagues share information
With teams spread across 3 continents and multiple time-zones, it isn’t always feasible to bring everyone together in a room or a conference call. The resulting risk is that Teams become fragmented and we do not see a complete view of what their peers and colleagues are working on, and therefore can miss out on useful information and lessons learnt. Posting useful information within the context of a team’s Yammer feed, helps keep a steady flow of useful information that colleagues can consume when they have the time.
Shift-based knowledge sharing
We’ve seen huge benefit for teams who work in shifts and do not necessarily see each other before they change over. With a Yammer feed, teams can post information in chronological order, ensuring that the latest, up to date information sits at the top of the feed.
Yammer has a wonderful feature called ‘praise’ which can be used to great effect to share great work done by colleagues. We use Praise to thank team members and share their work with the wider business in order to tell others and share the experience with remote teams. We’ve called out these three use-cases out specifically as we rely on them on a daily-basis. As a multi-national company spanning 3 continents, it is not possible to share information in real-time with all those who need it. Yammer has introduced a seismic-shift in how we asynchronously interact with colleagues and share information.
Microsoft will continue over the next few calendar quarters to refine the use cases that fit Teams or Yammer best. Will Teams become Microsoft’s primary tool for communicating internally? Almost certainly. Will that negate the need for Yammer – definitely not. Yammer continues to have its place in company communication toolkits, perfect for asynchronous broadcast-type messages that don’t have a defined list of recipients or a finite timescale for a response. A lot of companies use email distribution lists for this today (and the dreaded FW: FW: FW: RE: mail thread) so Yammer will continue to be a great method of communicating without sending email, because who wants more email?