Microsoft’s message is clear – Yammer is their social networking tool of choice for SharePoint. But ultimately, the choice to stay with native SharePoint Social or implement Yammer depends on the specific needs and goals of your enterprise. With Office 365, you can easily select the “Use Yammer.com service” option in the settings page, but it’s not as simple as just replacing SharePoint Social native capabilities with Yammer. What about SharePoint on-premises? What features do you lose, replace, or gain? Even as Microsoft shifts towards Yammer, companies are confused about selecting the primary social experience for their users.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll take a look at the key differences between SharePoint Social and Yammer, with a big picture overview of each, a feature-by-feature comparison, and guides for integration with SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online/Office 365. If you’re unsure of whether SharePoint Social or Yammer is the better fit for your organization, stay tuned as we guide you towards the selection that is right for your organization.
Native SharePoint Social
SharePoint 2013 offers an improved out-of-the-box experience over previous versions. New functionalities and social features help get employees out of silos, give them a voice, and allow them to connect to users with common interests. Social capabilities in SharePoint 2013 include community sites, providing a forum experience. My Sites functionality offers a platform for microblogging – and with it, the social features that users are accustomed to outside of work, such as “likes”, hash tags, mentions, and the ability to follow content, people, and sites. Blogs or wikis capture informal communication, allowing organizations to manage knowledge and create transparent communities. An enhanced SharePoint newsfeed, pictured below, lets users see activity updates related to the people and content they follow. In short, SharePoint 2013 provides rich social features that let users quickly build communities of practice and easily share content and activities.
Yammer is a cloud-based, private social networking tool for the enterprise. The user experience is much like that of Facebook or Twitter, and as such, it feels very familiar to users. Yammer allows for ad-hoc collaboration, enabling users to share documents, notes, ideas, images, and links with specific groups or the entire company. As with SharePoint Social, users can follow people, “like” or reply to comments, share updates, post poll questions, or give a praise to a colleague. In addition, they can filter conversations across the network, highlighting only the most relevant conversations or those involving the people, groups, or topics they follow. Notifications functionality lets users set up immediate, daily, or weekly update emails on specific groups. Other key features include: direct messaging, external communities, instant type-ahead search functionality, user profiles, leaderboards that help identify influential colleagues, and SharePoint integration with Office 365.
Yammer functionality can be added to SharePoint on-premises with the Yammer app, embedding Yammer feeds into on-premises sites, and with the release of Service Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2013, there is an option to replace the SharePoint Newsfeed link in the global navigation with a Yammer link. Yammer is a best-in-class enterprise social network that enables users to collaborate and communicate, in real time, across departments, connecting employees to each other and to the information they need.
With a big picture view of each, you may still be wondering whether SharePoint Social or Yammer is the right fit for your organization. Next week, we’ll offer a side-by-side comparison to help guide your decision, along with some scenarios where one or the other may be the clear choice.