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

SharePoint lives on as an on-premise product but for many it's time to move to Yammer.
Written by Mary Branscombe, Contributor

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.

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