May 10, 2016
The biggest technology wave of the past ten years is without much argument Social Media. What began with sites such as Xanga and LiveJournal have been replaced by sophisticated platforms used by billions of people that generate billions of dollars. In our private lives, nearly everyone we know has at least a token presence on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, and many of us are on multiple.
We even use social media to further our careers. Our professional lives are documented on our LinkedIn profiles where we can learn from and collaborate with our industry peers in ways that were impossible only a decade before. It has become the standard means for interaction between our friends and our industry peers.
Microsoft Yammer, just one of several programs available through Microsoft Office 365, takes the ideas behind LinkedIn and turns them inward. Instead of a social media site for your industry, each instance of Yammer acts as a social media platform for your company.
The Value of Yammer
Yammer allows your workforce to collaborate on projects, send direct messages among peers, and share files in an experience wholly different from email. It looks, feels, and operates much like the social media accounts with which you are already familiar and features tools commonly found on other platforms.
But, the real power of it comes in its integration with the rest of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of software. Learn more about how Microsoft Office 365 can bring the power of the cloud to your organization.
Yammer brings a level of value and convenience to an organization in several ways:
- Yammer allows for seamless communication and collaboration across the enterprise to share ideas, work on projects, and build a community.
- Conversations can be started within Office documents to facilitate better communication and a larger discussion.
- Yammer is available in a mobile app which will allow your team to access it from anywhere.
- During a project, if another subject matter expert is needed, users can invite the expert into a group, send a direct message, and quickly find a way to bring them into the discussion.
New Feature Announcement: Yammer External Groups
The first thought most people have when learning about Yammer’s capabilities is its assumed limitation.
Can Yammer be used with people outside the organization?
Businesses often use third party vendors, freelancers, consultants, and other non-permanent employees for projects of all sizes. These team members are often as essential to the success of a project as the full-time staff. Yammer provides multiple avenues to include these team members, and Microsoft just recently implemented a new feature to expand these capabilities.
In April, Yammer announced that they will now support external groups. Users will be able to use external groups to rope in people from outside your organization. The groups will function much like the standard group features on other social media platforms. This will be perfect for projects involving third party vendors or clients and will enable them to stay in the know and up to date on project discussions and results.
External Groups builds upon two other features that allow you to extend Yammer beyond your immediate coworkers.
- External Networks: Administrators can invite external users to access a program with a consistent experience as the internal Yammer tool the team already uses. A single open community can be established where external and internal users can communicate freely. However, administrators can also segment the list into sub-communities to ensure the external users can only interact with those relevant to their job role.
- External Messaging: For a more limited role, external users can be labeled as “External Participants.” This is meant for short-term communications and will allow the external participant to comment on posts or reply to messages without occupying a full profile.
A Connected Workplace and the Death of Email
Yammer is a great tool for connecting a workforce and improving employee satisfaction. As collaboration tools are refined and developed, it points to the end of email. Already, solutions such as Yammer, Skype for Business, Cisco WebEx Teams, and more are providing alternatives for faster, simpler interaction.
We don’t need to tie such a short leash to our email inboxes anymore. Yammer allows us to communicate in ways that feel natural to us. We can start collaborating with our coworkers the way we actively choose to collaborate with our friends.
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