This week sees a milestone for Yammer in its Office 365 journey. RE:Office 365 had the pleasure of speaking with Steve Nguyen and Angus Florance from the Yammer team. For 18 months or so, Yammer observers have seen few changes in the product. The long-awaited "Mark all as read" arrived last year, which made a lot of people happy that they could zero their message count. But behind the scenes there was a lot of ground work, unifying identity, getting to the right compliance level with other Office 365 products. Steve described these as the "not-sexy" changes.
This week's rollout of Yammer connected Office 365 Groups is the culmination of all that preparation. Office 365 Groups have become the fabric underpinning unification of many different Office 365 services. Outlook, SharePoint, Planner, Power BI, Skype and this week, Yammer.
Steve, Angus and my co-host Loryan Strant discuss the rollout of Yammer connected Office 365 Groups, with some pertinent questions from our live online audiences.
So why are they called "Yammer connected Office 365 Groups?" In this first wave of the rollout it is due to SharePoint, Planner and the group notebook being connected to the existing Yammer group toolset. The connected groups will still have some Yammerness available to use. Yammer files for example will still be present, allowing files to be uploaded to the traditional Yammer files storage. This may cause some initial confusion. A conversation is started and a document is attached to the original post or to a response. The document will be uploaded to Yammer files. This has been a core value of Yammer, to hold conversation in the context of a document and let it remain there for others to add to. This first phase will see a SharePoint team site and document library connected to a Yammer group. But in the future, the Yammer files will be moved into the connected SharePoint site and benefit from easier document sharing that is more consistent with the Outlook groups and Microsoft Teams experiences. Each will benefit from that common document storage platform. Compliance, versioning, co-authoring will all be more consistent with the Yammer connected group.
Yammer connected Office 365 Groups need to be created from within Yammer. Just like Outlook groups are created from with Outlook and OWA. Or when a team is created in Microsoft Teams, it creates the Office 365 Group with IM based conversation. The conversation experience drives where the group is being created from. Office 365 Groups can be created from other products. Recently SharePoint released a process whereby creating a new team site also creates an Office 365 Group, defaulting to Outlook for conversations. Eventually you'll be able to choose your conversation experience as you create an Office 365 Group from the other services.
In this first wave, net new public and private Yammer groups will be created as connected Office 365 Groups. The second wave will give existing public and private Yammer groups, and hidden Yammer groups the ability to connect to an Office 365 Group. Following that, Yammer groups with external users will be connected to Office 365 Groups after some licensing considerations have been addressed.
The Yammer connected Office 365 Groups will now also have an associated email address in Active Directory. Sending an email to the Yammer group will create a message in the Yammer conversations. Sharing a file with the Yammer group from OneDrive or saving directly to the SharePoint team site from an Office application becomes possible. The connectors we see in Outlook groups will be added to bring in content from other sources to discuss. Further along the roadmap, the plan is to be able to escalate the conversation in Yammer to a real-time call/IM/online meeting with Skype. Compliance is still an important issue to address. With the documents being stored in SharePoint, there are immediate and existing compliance capabilities what apply to documents. In the interim, Yammer connected Office 365 Groups will supported soft delete, in the event that the group is deleted, it can be restored.
With much of the heavy foundation work in place and the Yammer engineering team growing, expect to see more functional changes in Yammer. Thank you Steve, Angus, Loryan and our live audiences for joining us.
If you have further questions you'd like to put to the Yammer team, join the Live, Yammer Ask Me Anything session on the Microsoft Tech Community - March 7th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PST/5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. GMT.
Yammer integration with Office 365 Groups now rolling out - Office Blogs