Yammer and Office 365 Groups to gain closer integration, more info coming at Ignite

Kip Kniskern

Back in June of 2012, Microsoft acquired Yammer, a popular intranet social media network used in business communications, and in 2014 began integrating it into Office 365.

The problem has been, however, that Microsoft also created Office 365 Groups at around the same time, launching it in September 2014. Dedicated Yammer users forged ahead with their newly integrated Office 365 implementations, but for many, the question of whether to bet on Yammer or Office 365 Groups has been confusing.

Now, however, it appears that Microsoft is getting closer to articulating reasons to keep both Yammer and Office 365 Groups, and will shed more light on how they’ll work together at Ignite, being held September 24-26 in Atlanta.

Office 365 is set to get a lot of attention at the conference, and it looks like we’ll be hearing quite a bit more about Yammer and Office 365 Groups. For one thing, according to Office 365’s FastTrack Office 365 Roadmap, Yammer is being converted to use the Office 365 Group Service, which is managed by Azure Active Directory and “enables standard membership across Office 365.”

Other Yammer updates included in the roadmap include Yammer Group Feed coming to iOS, a new onboarding experience making it easier to add users to Yammer, profile pic sync with Office 365, and Yammer / Skype for Business integration.

In a blog post, Naomi Moneypenny, CTO at ManyWorlds and a Microsoft MVP, notes the FUD around where Yammer fits into Office 365 and offers some “demystification:”

  • Yammer is not dead. It’s growing in leaps and bounds as part of Office 365.
  • Yammer is part of Office 365 Groups service.
  • You have choices in Office 365. That’s a good thing for your users and team scenarios.
  • You will choose for your Group whether you want conversations to happen in Outlook or in Yammer.
  • You’ll have other Office 365 Groups features available in Yammer, including SharePoint Team Site for Files, a Shared Calendar (powered by Exchange), a OneNote shared notebook, Planner boards, Power BI and Connectors so you’ll finally have the integration points you’ve been waiting for.

Microsoft is planning a number of sessions focused on Yammer at Ignite, including a presentation by Moneypenny on critical success factors in deploying Yammer, and explanation on what to use when, and a vision and roadmap update.

Microsoft hasn’t had a completely successful track record integrating its acquisitions (and faces another whopper when it brings LinkedIn into the fold sometime early next year), but it’s good to see Yammer finding a niche in Office 365.