Yammer gives us something to smile about


At this week’s 10th annual smilelondon conference, the team from Microsoft stole the show with their hot off the press news on Yammer. It’s been a long time coming – too long for many – but the new Yammer is simplified, beautiful and clean, making it easier for communities and leaders to get together, share knowledge and improve the employee experience. Murali Sitaram, Steve Nguyen and Jason Mayans unveiled the latest product design changes and the new features we can expect to see over the next year, demonstrating how Microsoft has responded to the most frequently requested updates to the much-maligned app. Here are the favourite things we noted on the day: 

  • Fully fluent design 

As well as clean redesign including branding, popular new features include a consolidated O365 profile, Yammer groups renamed as communities, a simplified feed focused on both discovery and following, @mentions and likes grouped together and rolled up into a hover, purposeful navigation with the ability to pin and favourite communities, and new content treatments for praise and polls to really make them stand outThere’s also a navigation bar, search bar and app launcher just like any other O365 app, so it’s simple to base yourself in Yammer for your working day. To be honest, many of the features that make Workplace by Facebook so popular are now included in Yammer.  

  • Leadership comms – CEO connection community 

The 2020 #yearofyammer updates don’t stop there: from an IC perspective, the new CEO Connection Community has some super useful features for enhancing leadership comms. Add organisational branding to reinforce your corporate identity, and enjoy a new announcement option with rich text capability and integrated GIFs that automatically creates notifications. This is a great alternative to traditional email comms with the option to close comments – ideal for push comms.  

Murali Sitaram
GM Manager of Yammer & Office 365 Groups, Murali Sitaram
  • New mobile app 

Now with a consistent experience on both web and mobile, there’s a new publishing experience available on the mobile app complete with a text editor so your posts will have extra impact. Alongside the announcements, polls, questions, praise etc, you can now record and post video directly in Yammer from your mobile too. Based on Flipgrid, which Microsoft bought last year, you can edit video in line, add stickers and generally have some fun with it.  

  • All company community 

Similar to the CEO community, you can add organisational branding to reinforce identity and values, or help important messages hit the spot. Pin important content and initiate read only conversations if you wishWith clever filtering to help surface the most pressing issues, this is perfect for highlighting particular initiatives and generating conversation around specific topics.  

In any community on Yammer a new feature allows you to filter questions and find answered/unanswered questions, helping ensure you get a response.    

Steve Nguyen
Yammer Product Evangelist, Steve Nguyen
  • Live events 

New  event page  experiences  make it easy to  discover  and engage with  live events.  Post questions or feedback, filter for unanswered questions and watch the live events directly in your community. A Yammer live event is perfect for a large audience whereas Teams may be a better choice for a more intimate virtual get-together.  

  • Meet your users where they are  – even execs in Outlook!  

One of the bug bears of Yammer has been that it sits aside from other apps within the O365 suite, making it a tough habit to adopt – especially for those who tend to rely on email for all their communicationNo longer! With a web part for SharePoint, you will be able to manage Yammer content from within SharePoint, access your full Yammer experience from within Teams and, even more excitingly, enjoy a fully interactive Yammer experience from within Outlook! With the ability to not only receive announcements in Outlook, but participate in conversations and polls, and even view video right there in Outlook, there’s a real chance to encourage the most ardent resistors to participate without violating their social norms. That’s truly exciting! 

Jason Mayans
Yammer Group Product Manager, Jason Mayans
  • Enhanced security and compliance  

Full e-discovery for communities, conversations and files in Yammer which will keep all your IT and Legal teams happy. 

In the right hands Yammer can become the glue that sticks all the Microsoft O365 products together. It enables open, inclusive and discoverable conversations that can bring communities together, share knowledge and improve engagement.  All these enhancements are due to roll out by mid 2020 but you can sign up for the new yammer preview here.  

 Post by Alison Boothby