Last month I wrote an article that stated SharePoint, as a brand, would soon disappear. It seems with Microsoft's recent announcement regarding its plans for Yammer, I have been proved correct.
The Road Ahead
Microsoft's plans for Office 365 and Yammer integration can be summarized as:
- Customers can switch the Office 365 main navigation link for ‘"Newsfeed" (a SharePoint component) to Yammer.com
- A Yammer app with be available from the SharePoint store, allowing Yammer content to be embedded in SharePoint sites.
Later this year
- Single sign on to Yammer with be added, and Yammer will appear with the Office 365 branding. It won’t be a navigation away, but a seamless experience.
- Deeper integration with Office web apps.
- Deeper integration, with updates coming every 90 days
Watch the Language
What I found interesting about the announcement was the language used. For starters this is billed as integration between Office 365 and Yammer. Not SharePoint and Yammer. Maybe a small point but significant.
More telling is the line that talks about improved navigation between Yammer and Office 365:
Yammer will appear immediately below with the navigation to get back to Office 365 services such as Outlook and Sites.”
Sites? You mean SharePoint? No Microsoft means Sites, very purposefully.
SharePoint might be the platform Office 365 is built on. It might provide the technology behind these Sites. But it certainly doesn’t seem to be anything in its own right that Microsoft wants to shout about any more.
An interesting but related aside: Sites, powered by SharePoint 2013, are now also missing the breadcrumb navigation controls that we saw in SharePoint 2010 (and earlier versions). The new "Modern UI" doesn’t really connect Sites together in a logical fashion, at least as far as the end user is concerned.
This is another sign that Microsoft sees Sites as an almost standalone service offered by Office 365, rather than the interconnected Intranet style system offered by what we knew as SharePoint.
The exact way in which Yammer is being integrated with Office 365 still poses a lot of questions. Microsoft clearly sees Yammer as a replacement for its current newsfeed. Where this leaves SharePoint features like "following" (following people, sites, documents) is something we don’t yet know and might have to wait until next year to find out. Presumably Yammer will have to understand these SharePoint events, but it is likely this work sits in the far off "deeper connections" category that Microsoft was most vague about.
But if you look closely at the global navigation of Office 365, the one Yammer will soon join, it is clear SharePoint just isn’t part of the game.
If nothing else I guess this will stop people calling their Intranets "SharePoint."
Editor's Note: Always ready to stir up some controversy, why not read Chris's earlier post SharePoint 2013 Needs Less Features Not More