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3/20/2013
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Microsoft Bolsters Ties Between Yammer, Office 365

Three-stage process weaves Yammer's enterprise social network capabilities into Office 365, with additional bridges to SharePoint.

 8 Key Changes In Microsoft SharePoint 2013
8 Key Changes In Microsoft SharePoint 2013
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Almost a year ago, Microsoft announced that it was acquiring Yammer for $1.2 billion and that the social networking platform would be integrated into the Microsoft Office division. Details on what that would look like --and what it would mean for SharePoint -- have been slow in coming, but Microsoft has now provided details on how Yammer will fit into the bigger Office picture.

This integration is something Yammer's CTO, Adam Pisoni, addressed in an interview with InformationWeek's The BrainYard in November. Although Yammer initially functioned as a separate "destination" for social interaction, he said, its future will revolve around integration with other applications people use to do their work: "The reality is people spend most of their time in Office."

At Microsoft's Convergence 2013 conference this week, company officials laid out plans for how Yammer will work with Office 365, Microsoft's on-demand productivity platform. According to a blog post by Jared Spataro, senior director, Microsoft Office division, this integration will happen in three stages: basic integration, deeper connections and connected experience.

1. At the basic level, starting this summer, organizations will have the ability to replace the SharePoint newsfeed in Office 365 with the Yammer newsfeed. In addition, the Yammer group app will be available in the SharePoint store, enabling users to embed a group feed into a SharePoint site.

2. In the fall, Microsoft will release an update to Office 365 that gives users the ability to get to Yammer directly from the Office 365 navigation bar. In addition, said Spataro, the user experiences of Yammer and Office 365 will "begin to converge," giving users the ability to collaborate on and share documents in a social framework.

3. The integration between Yammer and Office 365, and among Yammer and Office 365 and other Microsoft products, will increase in 2014, with updates coming every three months or so, said Spataro. "We'll start by simply deepening the connections between Yammer and Office 365 services, but over time these incremental enhancements will combine social, collaboration, email, instant messaging, voice, video and line of business applications in innovative new ways."

[ Want to know what's on Microsoft's mobility roadmap? See Windows Phone 8 Support To End In 2014. ]

So, where does SharePoint fit into all this? On premises, with connections to the Yammer app. "We recognize that a lot of SharePoint customers are still on premises," said Spataro in his blog post. "They're working on their upgrade plans and want to find a way to connect their Yammer network with their on-premises deployment of SharePoint 2013. ... The Yammer app in the SharePoint Store will be a valuable addition, allowing customers to create connections between Yammer groups and on-premises SharePoint sites."

Spataro also made it very clear where Microsoft's social business bread is buttered: "In my customer meetings over the last few months, people have often asked, 'What should I use for social? Yammer or the SharePoint newsfeed?' My answer has been clear: Go Yammer! Yammer is our big bet for enterprise social, and we're committed to making it the underlying social layer for all of our products."

At Convergence 2013, Microsoft also demonstrated Yammer working with its CRM platform, Dynamics CRM.

Do you see potential in Microsoft's integration of Yammer into its Office productivity apps? Could social capabilities be a distraction to end users? Please let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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Don..112
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Don..112,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2013 | 4:44:17 PM
re: Microsoft Bolsters Ties Between Yammer, Office 365
Corrected headline - Microsoft "PROMISES" to Bolsters Ties Between Yammer, Office 365 SOMETIME LATER IN 2013. There are other vendors already successfully delivering integrated social business platforms for several years, based on social networking technology, not document repository technology.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2013 | 8:20:48 PM
re: Microsoft Bolsters Ties Between Yammer, Office 365
Thank you for your comment, and I see your point. I think it's important to report on promises from a company whose products are so widely used, but, you're right--there's no "there" there yet.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/21/2013 | 12:42:20 PM
re: Microsoft Bolsters Ties Between Yammer, Office 365
Yes, and those "other vendors" are missing the point. They don't integrate their social platforms with the most widely used and dominant Office platform.

The upside benefit of connecting Social and Office is the plausible scenario where you can crowd source a solution to a business need and get results from your peers around the world in a hurry. Of course, today you can do this to some extent using pure technologies like search (Google, Bing, etc.) or social (Facebook, Google+, or Twitter).

I see integrating Social with Office tools as a way to research and connect with others in an infinite number of ways that we cannot easily do right now.
RobN
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RobN,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2013 | 6:24:08 PM
re: Microsoft Bolsters Ties Between Yammer, Office 365
Hi AustinIT,

You are right on point with the MS integration. It is needed and it is available now from 'other vendors'.

Take a look at www.JiveSoftware.com for integration between a Gartner Social Business Magic Quadrant leading vendor (Jive) and MS Outlook, MS Office and MS SharePoint. The integration is done very well, from my perspective.

Here is a short video showing Jive working with Outlook and Office: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

As for your scenario of crowd-sourcing through Social, it is done. Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Ping me if you want to see a demo. (No I don't work for Jive)
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