Drive Social Adoption with SharePoint and Yammer Analytics

7 minute read
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With the advent of SharePoint 2013 and Yammer integration, companies have struggled to monitor and manage the integration, adoption and usage of the collaboration platforms deployed across the enterprise. SharePoint Administrators are having a difficult time gathering meaningful metrics on SharePoint and Yammer usage and adoption. Community managers, IT managers and business leaders need metrics that show who is using the platform, how it’s being used, and how far the reach of social collaboration has extended into the enterprise. These measurements are key to ensuring that collaboration is being integrated into business processes.

Organizations that have integrated Yammer into SharePoint 2013 sites as the default ESN solution have to derive metrics separately from both SharePoint Online and Yammer environments to understand adoption and usage. This is a difficult process that leads to a lot of manual work in surfacing the correct metrics in an understandable format. Recent advances in analytics solutions offer integrated platforms that connect to both environments and show detailed metrics for Yammer and SharePoint.

Let’s explore the issues companies face and the options available to manage the usage and adoption metrics between the SharePoint (on-prem and online) environments and the Yammer platform.

SharePoint 2013 Analytics Have Changed

Many of the out of the box analytics that came with SharePoint 2010 were stripped from SharePoint 2013, which left organizations questioning how to get analytics from Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013 orlooking for alternative methods to capture usage statistics.

Joel Olsen, former senior technical product manager for SharePoint, wrote an article on the changes in the out of the box analytics for SharePoint 2013 called “SharePoint 2013 Analytics A Big Step Backward.” In it, he described how SharePoint Search works to generate SharePoint analytics and lamented the gutting of the analytics components from the platform. His message was clear -- capturing SharePoint analytics is best left to third party vendors that specialize in this area.

SharePoint Online

When Microsoft introduced SharePoint Online, it added yet another dimension to SharePoint Analytics. The popularity of hybrid deployments -- using a combination of SharePoint on-prem and SharePoint online to deliver collaboration -- adds a new issue in capturing usage and adoption metrics based on the physical location of the data needed to support analytics.

Limitations in Yammer Analytics

Yammer provides a wide array of statistics and metrics by network through the Web interface, but you have to be a Yammer Admin to access them in the Yammer Analytics Dashboard. These metrics only show pretty high level usage numbers and activity for the past seven and 28 days.

The example below shows the Yammer Analytics Dashboard for Alpine Style. Admins will also see the number of groups created during the reporting period, the top public groups, the number of files uploaded to the network, and the types of browsers that accessed the Yammer groups.


You can only see the statistics pre-defined by Yammer with these metrics, making it difficult to derive a complete picture of Yammer usage and adoption. The Yammer environment is accessible using the Yammer REST APIs to gather broader and deeper analytics, but this is difficult for organizations that don’t have a mature technical team that can build the Analytics view based on specific needs.

Silos of Data

The essence of the analytics issue for an integrated SharePoint on-prem and or SharePoint online with the Yammer platform is comes down to the silos of data that the physical location of the systems generate. With on-prem SharePoint 2013 environments behind the corporate firewall and SharePoint online and Yammer living in the Microsoft Cloud, capturing information and surfacing the right data for users to consume is a difficult process. Many organizations struggle to bring this data together in a meaningful way that makes sense for managers.

The Image below illustrates the sources of Collaboration and Social metrics and the process for managing them.


The Advent of Integrated Social Analytics

A new market segment for third party analytics vendors has risen up around this demand for integrated, cross-siteanalytics. Few companies integrate the three platforms. Several vendors provide Yammer and SharePoint online Analytics and others provide just SharePoint on-prem capabilities. The only Analytics Suite I’ve found that provides all three is CardioLog Analytics by Intlock.

Intlock has been providing marketing analytics since 2005. It created a SharePoint on-premises analytics capability starting with SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and has kept pace with all versions through SharePoint 2013. When SharePoint Online came out, it released an analytics solution that allowed organizations to manage both SharePoint on-prem and online platforms. It recently added Yammer analytics to the tools set, which makes the package a compelling choice for a complete integrated view of adoption and usage metrics.

CardioLog Analytics Integrated Approach

CardioLog Analytics key offeringis its integrated Analytics Dashboard that combines metrics from SharePoint 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013 on-prem, Office 365 and Yammer usage in one view. With this, organizations can see usage, adoption rates and specific activity that indicates issues or trends that need to be addressed.

There are several organizations still on SharePoint 2010 that are integrating Yammer Group feeds into collaboration sites using the Yammer Embed or Yammer Web Parts. These organizations can use CardioLog Analytics to see usage and adoption metrics for both environments in one cohesive view.

Learning Opportunities

The CardioLog Analytics suite combines detailed analytics from each environment that can be mixed and matched across the systems to provide a complete picture of SharePoint usage and social adoption. Admins can select any number of analytics categories for Yammer that go beyond what Yammer provides out of the box using the Yammer website. From a SharePoint 2013 (on-prem) perspective, the analytics provided go much deeper than those that can be generated using SharePoint Search. The SharePoint online (Office 365) analytics are very robust and provide deep insight into usage and adoption.

The tool integrates with Active Directory, SharePoint User Profiles and Yammer to allow for correlation of users across all environments -- an importantcapability as your on-prem AD environment may be federated with the Azure AD environment for single sign on between SharePoint 2013 and Office 365, but Yammer ‘s separate user and credential store creates another silo of user information. CardioLog Analytics integrates with all three and matches users between the environments.

The following matrix details the vast array of options for metrics between SharePoint 2013 (online and on-prem) and Yammer -- (to view the reports gallery, click on the image below).


Yammer Metrics

The image below shows the menu structure for the Yammer Analytics. There is an extensive array of metrics that can be generated to give you a deep view into your Yammer implementation. Each of these separate widgets can be added to a custom dashboard giving your Yammer team a deep understanding of who is using the platform and how they are adopting the solution.


SharePoint 2013 On-prem Social Metrics

Gathering metrics for on on-prem SharePoint social can be difficult. CardioLog Analytics’ set of report choices allow SharePoint admins and Community Managers to gain a deep understanding of how the Community Sites are being used and how users are engaging in conversation within the SharePoint platform.

Customized Dashboards Bring Yammer and SharePoint together

A custom dashboard that shows metrics from both SharePoint and Yammer can aid inunderstanding social across the distributed Microsoft environments. The example below shows a customized report showing the Yammer and SharePoint 2013 on-prem social activity comparison.


Microsoft will continue to integrate Yammer into Office 365 (SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and Office) as the default ESN experience as new versions of the platform come out. Yammer will be the ESN of choice for SharePoint 2013 on-prem going forward as Microsoft continues to expand the social capabilities within the platform.Organizations with a significant investment in SharePoint on-prem can continue to maintain their environments while they make decisions on moving to the cloud or adopt a hybrid approach to collaboration across the enterprise.

With CardioLog Analytics,Collaboration Admins, Community Managers, Business Leaders, and Executives can gain granular insight into how all Microsoft collaboration platforms (on-prem, cloud, and hybrid) are being used -- a key part in driving a successful social collaboration implementation for any organization.

About the author

Bill Ryan

Bill Ryan is a Business Solutions Architect at Avanade, Inc. Bill is a seasoned technology professional with a passion for crafting business focused solutions with over 30 years of experience.