Star of smilelondon: Microsoft’s new Yammer!


smilelondon is a week away and the timing could not be better for any communicator who is rolling out the popular Microsoft tools Teams, Yammer, O365, SharePoint and Stream. This week has been full of news coming from Microsoft’s Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. Most significant for the internal communications community is the announcement of the new Yammer.

The New Yammer
Up until now it has been fair to say that Yammer suffered from being the first in the field of enterprise social channels. Although it set the bar when it was introduced in 2012, it was a bought-in piece of software and it has taken many years of patches and fixes to make it play nicely with the rest of the Microsoft stack. Later entrants such as Slack and Workplace from Facebook offered slicker user experience based on consumer tech.

But that is all about to change. The new Yammer has been completely rebuilt from the ground up and it will be Microsoft’s first application to fully leverage the Fluent Design system. I’m not quite sure what that means but Murali Sitaram and Steve Nguyen from Microsoft are coming to London to demonstrate the difference.  Apparently it means a fast, modern, interface for web and mobile. But it’s not just a new look – Microsoft are adding dozens of new features to Yammer that internal communicators have been missing for some time:

“..we are delivering top customer requests to help leaders and communities share, communicate, and discover like never before…”

Yammer communities replace what are currently termed Yammer Groups. This will make more sense for a lot of users who were confused by Teamsites, SharePoint Groups and of course MS Teams. A community (where you discuss issues of common interest is now clearly distinguished from a team where you work on a particular project with a tighter number of people – all of whom you probably know.

Also, you will be able to present your community in a more appealing fashion: Community owners can now add custom cover photos to apply branding to the community and highlight information above the fold where everyone can see it. Messages become more sticky since you can now set a question, start a poll, or praise posts and pin them to the top.

For community members, Microsoft have added modern styling, conversation filters, new editing experiences, and the ability to favourite a community. They’ve also added new event page experiences to make it easier to discover and engage with live events, post questions or feedback, filter for unanswered questions and watch the live events directly in a community. 

This will be a bit of a game changer for IC folk who want to spread Townhall meetings to virtual audiences and engage those outside the room in a meaningful two-way conversation.

When can I get it?

Microsoft have announced that the new Yammer will be rolled out in 2020. There will be direct ties into both Microsoft Teams and Outlook and, it was also announced that eDiscovery will deploy to Yammer December 2019. This will allow for eDiscovery searches to include Yammer conversations, communities, and files – essential for industries with a high need for compliance. Admins will be able to search, discover, and place legal holds on all messages and files in a network.

But what about MS Teams?

For those of you already using MS Teams you are forgiven if you are wondering where Yammer ends and MS Teams start.  Both apps look quite similar and do similar things.  But whereas Teams is for projects where you know who you are communicating with Yammer is designed more for the communicator where you are engaging a wider audience.  All will be described – and dissected – at smilelondon.

What’s on the agenda?

Murali Sitaram at smileexpo
Murali Sitaram, GM Microsoft Yammer+O365 Groups

As well as having the Microsoft top brass there, smilelondon on November 18th features the views of users such as British Airways and the NRMA – Australia’s Automobile Association. And Dave Bowman of Fresh Intranets will be giving an expert’s view of what all these changes will mean for your intranet.

Plus case studies from Nestlé, Morleys, Imerys and Amundi as well as session on AI, the future of webinars and our popular table expert sessions.

Tickets are still available – full details on the smilelondon website.Watch this short preview with co-chairs Marc Wright and Jenni Field: