I am a SharePoint developer who works in a SharePoint consultancy so you won’t be surprised to hear that I think SharePoint is the best document collaboration application out there. I also feel Yammer is the best enterprise social network. When well integrated and used in conjunction, productive collaboration gets a real boost.
Yammer is not just like Facebook, its more than that, it provides a platform for conversation and activity streams around your documents and across your projects.
While Yammer can be used for one-to-one chat, the biggest benefits come from open conversations around a document. While email hides information and decisions, Yammer surfaces exactly whats going on during a document review or after a meeting. Everyone in your team can benefit, and participate.
Beyond connecting colleagues and sharing documents and updates, Yammer empowers communities as project groups can be created, or communities of practice (CoPs) can be created to cover the whole organisation.
Yammer is always available on any computer, and can be accessed from any device such as iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. Some people (like field workers) may never really use Yammer in the office, but they can love Yammer on their smartphone as it keeps them in touch with their colleagues.
Yammer and SharePoint integration solution
Integration between Yammer and SharePoint is not so good by default; people have to copy and paste document URLs into Yammer to start conversation, and not everyone is confident in grabbing the documents web address.
In our SharePoint work, we often create Yammer like and share buttons for clients, to help people share content from SharePoint with their colleagues.
In the upcoming Office 365 Group feature there will be some integration improvement, but not everything on our wish list will be improved. Good news is that we have the great Yammer API (Application Programming Interface) to do whatever we want; it will help to increase productivity and help to achieve the best integration with SharePoint, as follows:
- We can create a Group in SharePoint and Yammer at the same time, and can enable people to start a Yammer conversation in SharePoint.
- Any SharePoint content can be liked or shared in Yammer.
- Single platform for both social and collaboration, in SharePoint by default we have Message Attachment, Post, Reply, Like/Unlink, Mention, Tag, Search, Profile, Follow/Unfollow and Relationships. The features that can integrate with Yammer are Groups, Open Graph, Invitation, Real Time, Networks, Suggestions, Notifications, and Auto Complete.
- We can track users, groups, documents or any other SharePoint content from Yammer.
- We can provide fully managed document collaboration and Yammer conversation for each document in one place. Its what everyone expects Microsoft to provide, but we end up creating this integrated experience.
- When Yammer is available directly next to a document, its easy for a reviewer (or anyone) to open up a chat window and check some detail with the document author. This sort of instant messaging cuts down on time wasted in email.
- We make sure that our Yammer integration works on mobile, so that your mobile SharePoint intranet offers a rich experience.
These sort of rich features that we build can help a SharePoint intranet feel intuitive and useful, and so increases adoption. We have to make SharePoint and Yammer easier to use, and more useful to people if we expect employees to be engaged within the digital workplace.
You may also want to read our earlier article, How Microsoft is integrating Yammer into SharePoint 2013