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Yammer News & Analysis

Microsoft Tightens the Reins on Office 365

Companies are still signing up for Yammer — despite the fact that user adoption remains a problem. 

In fact, according to Yammer co-founder David Sacks, the British grocery retailing giant Tesco has just inked a 250, 000 seat deal with Yammer. The information was contained in a memo from Sacks to Microsoft employees.

Sacks announced on Twitter late last week that he is leaving Microsoft, but did not specify why.

Startup Offers Free Collaboration Option for Any Web Page

Just as Microsoft blends Yammer into Office365, a startup is offering a free service to add a Facebook-like collaboration tool to any web page.

Lifestreams Technologies, a 2-year-old company based in New Haven, Conn., said the widget can be used on any intranet or public-facing website by adding a snippet of code to the html.

"Most websites today are relatively static," said Peter Prosol, business development director for the 10-person SaaS firm. "You'll find pictures and images and text, but it's more or less as it is. It doesn't change much. But adding a timeline to your site ... it lets you be more dynamic, add new content, refresh and be a little more interactive and engaging to the user."

The Problem With Yammer? People Don't Use It

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Yammer is being promoted as the new social layer of SharePoint. But Microsoft is also tying it tightly into Office 365. In the past two weeks, this has resulted in the packaging of Yammer with Office 365 small business plans, while the price of Office 365 is also about to be slashed.

There are problems with Yammer. But the problem lies not the product itself.

According to David Lavenda, vice president of product strategy at Harmon.ie, the real problem is that many people who have access to it just won’t use it — or any other social network for that matter.

Oslo and Office Graph: Welcome to the Enterprise of Things

2014-09-July-Spiderwebs.jpgIf Microsoft has its way, big data is coming to your Office 365 environment very soon.

In March of this year Jared Spataro, general manager of Enterprise Social at Microsoft, introduced Office Graph and challenged us to “work like a network.” Office Graph -- which derived from Yammer’s Enterprise Graph concept -- analyzes user metadata from the Office 365 environment (Yammer, SharePoint Online, Lync and Office Online) to identify signals, trends, relationships, social connections and content that relate to each other to form patterns that can be used to deliver a more relevant and rich contextual end user experience.

This rich set of metadata is meant to provide a more comprehensive picture of who you are connected to, who you interact with and how you interact within the enterprise. This is a new frontier for Microsoft and this technology will significantly change how you collaborate, work, connect and engage within the online enterprise going forward.

Microsoft Pushes Yammer into SMBs

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Microsoft is pushing Yammer ... again. The focus now is on small and midsize businesses (SMBs). 

Microsoft underlined its enterprise ambitions for Yammer in November by making it available with all Office 365 enterprise plans. Now it's also added Yammer to Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans.

Microsoft Fiddles With SharePoint Pricing

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It’s hard to see the justification, but Microsoft just announced it will cut back four of its payment plans for SharePoint Online and Office Online once the plans expire at the end of June.

While Microsoft certainly can cut back on plans whenever it wants, especially when those plans expire, the lack of an explanation could leave a bad taste in the mouths of enterprise customers facing higher prices in replacement plans.

In fairness to Microsoft, it does go into some detail about how the new plans are going to operate, and also says that it will be offering “one-time price discounts for EA [Enterprise Agreement] customers to cover the additional cost associated with transitioning to the higher priced plans." 

Why Social Implementations Fail

2014-13-June-Stalled.jpgIn early 2013 Gartner published a report indicating 80 percent of Social Business efforts will not achieve their intended benefits through 2015. That is a staggering number and a bold prediction to say the least. Gartner can back up  from the data unearthed during its extensive research into social business.

At the same time, the importance of social as an integrated business tool is mounting. In 2013 MIT Sloan Management Review released a report stating that 18 percent of respondents to their Social Business Survey in 2011 said social was “important today.” In 2012, that number increased to 36 percent and in 2016 this number is expected be 69 percent.

As social grows across industries and vertical markets, many companies are facing common implementation barriers. The interest in using the solution runs high at the start and then slowly drops off as organizations move to deploying it across the company, leaving many organizations wondering why this is happening and how it can be addressed.

Yammer Expands Support to 28 Languages

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Social business is only as good as the ability to communicate in the local language. 

To tackle that, Yammer is offering localized versions. The web client now supports 28 languages. In addition, its mobile apps come in 12 languages and both the iOS and Android apps have a message translator.

Yammer Chats Synced With OneDrive, SharePoint Files

Tossing around a Microsoft Word doc for review via email is a long-gone practice.

Microsoft hopes document collaboration is that much easier in the enterprise with its release today of document conversations, a new enterprise social experience feature applied across Office 365. Microsoft announced the news in a blog post authored by Christophe Fiessinger, a group product manager on the enterprise social team.

How Businesses are Benefiting From Social

2014-29-May-Whole-Foods.jpgOne of the biggest topics to emerge from the Microsoft conference circuit this year is the concept of “working like a network” -- encouraging companies to rethink how they operate, collaborate and communicate by using enterprise social technologies to eliminate departmental silos. This allows companies to better adapt and respond to ever-shifting market conditions as well as improve knowledge sharing.  

To get a good understanding of what that vision looks like, watch Yammer’s Moments video. It shows how people within a responsive organization used Yammer to collaborate and create a product that made a difference for its customers. The video ends in a new product design job for an administrative coordinator, happy customers who fulfilled their goals, and a warm feeling about the power of enterprise social. This isn’t just marketing hype either: McKinsey & Company recently conducted a survey of leading enterprise companies on the use of social networks, and nearly 90 percent reported a measurable business benefit gained from implementing social platforms.

The Innovation Based Business Case for Social

2014-28-May-First-Flight.jpgIn management science innovation is typically thought of as a process which results in beneficial changes through novel ideas or solutions. Innovation is about change -- and change, volatility and flux have been the defining features of the business landscape since World War II and especially since the 1970s. As one commentator succinctly put it in 1990, organizations must “get innovative or get dead."

Let's examine four ways social business can be associated with innovation and look at the different ways each measures value.

Integrating Yammer with SharePoint 2013: Navigating the Options

2014-22-May-Directions.jpgIn 2012, Microsoft Office General Manager Jared Spataro told the audience at the SharePoint Conference that “Microsoft is all in on Yammer and SharePoint.” Spataro made it clear -- Yammer would be the social collaboration tool of choice for SharePoint going forward.

Office 365 would be the first major beneficiary of Yammer integration, but SharePoint on-premises would see integration in future service pack releases. Microsoft would support SharePoint 2013’s out of the box social features for a period of time, but they would not be enhanced or developed further. This sent shock waves of confusion and concern throughout the SharePoint Community and has spurred heated discussion since.

How the Freemium Model Outflanks the ROI Question

2014-21-May-DJ.jpgNobody goes to the store (or these days, iTunes) specifically to buy an obnoxiously catchy pop song that they’ve never heard before. Chances are they’ve heard it for free somewhere first. No offense to Pandora and Spotify, but let’s call this the radio model. A song is played for free, the listener likes it, and only then makes a buying decision. This is actually a very good description of how and why enterprise social network licenses get purchased, and a telling factor in why social ROI is a fool’s game.

After all, you can’t measure the value of a pop song. It makes you happy, sure. And we all know you can work better, run faster and just in general be more successful when you’re happy … but good luck trying to prove any of that.

Microsoft Defends Collaboration Suite Against Cisco Charge

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Microsoft responded to Cisco's charges against its enterprise collaboration suite, telling CMSWire that it provides the most "complete, integrated set of social, collaboration, and communication technologies" to allow companies to "transform" the way they work.

Cisco directly called out Microsoft last week on the heels of its partnership announcement with Jive. It told CMSWire that with Jive, Cisco "supports complete communication and collaboration, end-to-end." With Microsoft, Cisco added, "you would need to get bolt-on offerings from other vendors in order to approximate this set of integrated capabilities."

Vendors Fail Regulated Industry Customers with Rush to the Cloud

Judging from the messaging, reviews and conversations that came out of the SharePoint conference earlier this month, the word from Las Vegas could be summed up as, "It's all about the cloud stupid!" 

With Office 365 growth surpassing SharePoint's, Yammer the new focus of social and the newest buzzwords, Office Graph and Oslo, the drum beat you hear is the continued push to the cloud.

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