On February 2, 2016, Kirk Koenigsbauer announced in the official Microsoft Office 365 blog that Yammer is now being activated for every eligible Office 365 subscription. In a nutshell, that means Yammer is going to be another app on the Office 365 app list unless an admin specifically turns off access. Your enterprise should plan accordingly.
For those of you unfamiliar with the product, Yammer bills itself as an enterprise internal social network. It mixes the typical chat messenger application with collaboration tools available in Office 365.
Similar to the Delve tool we looked at last week, Yammer can serve as the central hub for team collaboration. From within a Yammer discussion, teams can set up meeting appointments using Outlook, switch to a full-fledged Skype for Business video meeting, and access OneDrive for Business to create collaborative documents.
The initial rollout of Yammer took place on February 2, 2016; the rest of the rollout will take place in stages. The next release is March 1, 2016, and the last is April 1, 2016. According to the blog post, the first wave is for "Office 365 customers with a business subscription who purchased fewer than 150 licenses that includes Yammer and who have zero or one custom domains for Yammer."
The second wave is for "Office 365 customers with a business subscription who purchased fewer than 5,000 licenses that includes Yammer." Customers with an education subscription are not included.
The final wave is for "remaining customers with a business subscription and all customers with an education subscription." For subscribers who have never had a Yammer account, the rollout will take place last, in April. Alas, that is the wave I'll have to wait for.
Yammer is the latest, and perhaps the last, major teamwork collaboration app to be added to Office 365. In Microsoft's vision of a mobile-first, cloud-first enterprise, teams collaborate across distances using shared documents, video conferencing, and applications that tie it all together in one virtual location.
With the addition of Yammer, Microsoft is offering several tools teams can use to manage and organize their collaboration activities. Teams can use Yammer, Delve, Groups, Sites, SharePoint, and OneNote to manage their shared conversations and documents across the enterprise. One of those tools should be able to satisfy even the most persnickety of teams.
But then again, that may be where we run into problems. One could argue that there are too many collaboration tools available in Microsoft Office 365. While all these wonderful choices may seem good at first glance, it is possible that subscribers may become overwhelmed.
Microsoft's idea that teams can choose the best tool for them or for the project they are working on sounds all well and good, but it does still require someone to make an important initial decision. For some people, making a decision that will affect a project from start to finish can be a daunting task.
In the long run, it may be beneficial for organizations to establish guidelines for when each of the collaboration tools works best. They may even decide to block some of the tools from use altogether in favor of a recommended best practice.
Having myriad collaboration tools is generally a good thing, but it might help move things along if the enterprise establishes some well thought out guidelines.
- Office 365 expands Delve features for organizing collaboration
- Microsoft Ignite 2015: Collaboration tools to spark the modern workforce
- Cracking the mobile collaboration code
- Control collaboration chaos with admin tools for Office 365 Groups
What collaboration tool do you use to manage your team? How does it work for you? Are you open to trying a new way?
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.