Yammer is Microsoft's big bet for enterprise social and here's why

Yammer is Microsoft's big bet for enterprise social and here's why

Summary: SharePoint lives on as an on-premise product but for many it's time to move to Yammer.


SharePoint has had social features — from a profile page to a way of writing blogs and finding people — for several years now. But the most obvious social feature, the SharePoint news feed, was noticeable by its absence from the SharePoint Conference keynote.

In case you haven't got the hints Microsoft has been dropping for a while now, that's because all the effort is going into Yammer, which is getting integrated more and more deeply into Office experiences.

Yammer is now Microsoft's big bet for enterprise social, and that makes sense. Yammer gets the kind of viral adoption SharePoint used to have before IT teams got their hands on it, when people were looking for a way to share documents. When they want to actually have a conversation with colleagues and partners, Yammer is where they turn.

The integration between Yammer and SharePoint is getting steadily better, especially on Office 365. So if you don't want to lose any of the relationships and answers and ideas people want to share when you finally switch to Yammer, switch now.

Because there will not be a way to import anything from the SharePoint social feed you have today, Microsoft confirmed to us, and while the SharePoint social feed will stay in on-premise versions it won't get any new features.

And if you're thinking you won't ever switch to Yammer, think again. Once the integration is good enough, Yammer can become the default enterprise social network in Office 365 (it's not quite there yet, but it's not far off). Plus Yammer will be available to use as the SharePoint social network, even on premises.

And with the news that Office 365 will have features that can't and won't make it into the on-premise version of SharePoint 2015 (because they need cloud services like massive machine learning and data mining and natural language recognition that you don't have enough servers to run yourself), you're starting to need a good reason to stick with on-premise servers that you buy and install and maintain and update yourself when you could get a more powerful version as a cloud service you just connect to.

Keep on-premise servers for the things you absolutely have to keep on your own servers, federate with the cloud services and get the best of both worlds. Or get used to being not just a year or so behind but having fewer tools at your disposal than your competitors.

Further reading

Topics: Cloud, Microsoft, Social Enterprise

Mary Branscombe

About Mary Branscombe

Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

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  • Yammer is only one of many Enterprise social plays

    there's IBM Connections, Mango Apps, and Jive. Broader coverage of the trend, rather than one vendor's product, would have made for a more interesting article.
    • You've missed the point of the article

      SharePoint 2013 has built-in social features. However, they are being deprecated in favour of Yammer. For many of us, specific news like that is more interesting than a review of competing products which mostly offer the same feature sets.
      • Actually, not really

        The idea that Microsoft would push users towards the cloud with social? Fairly self evident if you've watched their moves for the last two years. It is about as newsworthy as announcing that SharePoint 2015 will come with new project templates for Visual Studio - like duh!

        But the movement of business to social - and who might be a threat to the leader, Yammer (i.e. Mango, which is considerably more feature rich?) And whether business social is even going to happen?

        A lot more interesting to me than announcing that water is blue.
  • Wow

    Are all Microsoft products on a 10 year release cycle? They came to the phone/tablet game way late ... and now this. No wonder their executives are jumping ship.
    • Microsoft led Enterprise Social capabilities

      Microsoft had enterprise social capabilities (personal sites and profile pages for employees) in SharePoint 2003. However, I would agree that they failed to build on this initial lead!
  • WHAT?

    What ARE you talking about?
    • He is referring to the fact that whatever Microsoft tries to do...

      either never comes to market...

      Or it takes 10 years or more first.
  • O365

    I heard they are implementing social networking as a feature in O365 or is it already there?
    • Off topic but ...

      I do like the name Technomancer (with appropriate digits replacing letters)
  • Yammer

    This is ,once again, MS yelling at the top of their lungs ' my way or the highway' approach that has prevailed for the last two years at Redmond AND reflects just how poorly this Corp. has been led ;>{