As well as announcing upgrades to its Office Web Apps today, Microsoft announced deeper integration between Yammer and Office 365, which are designed to make it easier to work with external customers and partners.

Office 365 and Yammer

Starting today, according to a blog post by Jared Spataro, all business Office 365 pricing plans will come with Yammer Enterprise. Existing customers will also get Yammer Enterprise licenses as part of their purchase plans.

Office 365 and Yammer integration is not new. Yammer Enterprise, for example, is included in Office 365 Enterprise plans. However, those that had signed up for Office 365 before the Yammer acquisition did not automatically get a Yammer license — and some business plans did not come with it, either.

To expand its reach across the enterprise, Microsoft announced all enterprise customer, old and new, on all business plans will automatically get a Yammer Enterprise license.

The upshot of this is that a business will be able to extend Yammer across the enterprise without licensing issues. This will be particularly welcome when it comes to dealing with external contacts, particularly customers.

Before Microsoft's acquisition of Yammer, external collaboration was enabled through dedicated Yammer online workspaces called External Networks, which required users to purchase licenses for external users within those networks.

However, with the changes introduced today Office 365 Enterprise customers will no longer have to do this. Customer-facing enterprise users will be able to pull customers or partners into their networks without the cost of extra licenses.

Office 365 — Yammer Roadmap

Microsoft, however, is apparently not finished integrating these two products. According to Spataro, Microsoft is working on user mapping between Yammer and Office 365.

Once that process is complete, Office 365 users will be able to access Yammer from their Office 365 navigation bar, enabling users to bring more documents and content directly into Yammer conversations.

There is no indication as to when this will actually happen, but it should be soon given the rate that Microsoft is developing Office 365.

It has also been rapidly building up Yammer over the past few months with the introduction of email interoperability, mobile apps, document conversion and messaging, all of which make real time communication and collaborative work easier.