Yammer vs. SP Social in 2013

There are several discussions on SharePoint's social strategy going on at the moment. I had some great discussions with my MVP mate Adis during Summit last week. Since #SPC12 almost every SharePoint addicted developer, it-pro, power user has reviewed Yammer. If you don't know what Yammer is, here a short introduction.

Yammer is an enterprise social network, which allows you and your coworkers to communicate in a modern way as on Facebook. The huge difference between Facebook and Yammer is, Yammer is private. That means only people from your organization or the people you've invited to join your network can see and take part of the conversation which is going on in your Yammer network. With the common understanding of Yammer, you should be able to follow up the ongoing discussions. Adis wrote a great post, summarizing his thoughts on SharePoint and Yammer integration and the upcoming social future. I totally agree with Adis, there are a lot of things missing at the moment. But here my thoughts on Yammer vs. SPSocial

Leak of integration

In my eyes there is still too much missing, of course you can integrate yammer into your SharePoint, but key features are missing such as SSO, seamless look ‘n feel integration. Prebuild views on Yammer depending on the current SharePoint context or the mobile story. Microsoft shipped mobile Apps for SharePoint 2013 OnDemand and OnPrem. AFAIK are these apps currently available in preview, but each of them is based on SPSocial.   ### SharePoint Newsfeed

The Newsfeed in SharePoint 2013 is one of the best dashboards I’ve ever seen in the product. In my eyes it’s boosting the productivity because you can get an overview within no time. You got all the information you’re interested in, documents, people, sites, tags you’re following. That’s exactly what I’m looking for when I should move on to Yammer. Because I don’t like to decrease the productivity just because I use Yammer.  

OnPremise story

Adis mentioned the OnPrem story also in his post. For a lot of German customers its necessary that all information is stored OnPrem. I ran into various situations where management raised the red flag because they are not going to move business critical data into the cloud. Unfortunately these kinds of customers don’t hear our arguments for moving into the cloud.  

User adoption

While #SPC12 we launched our corporate Yammer, in order to structure the entire conversation from our company. The adoption within the first four weeks was really good. A lot of employees joined the Yammer network in order to see what Yammer actually is. They followed the invitations from other employees. There was no official announcement form the company, some key users started inviting their co-workers and within 2 weeks almost 85% of the company were registered to the corporate Yammer network. People started creating their own groups depending on the divisions they’re working for or the topics they’re currently on. In summary I’d say the adoption within the first month was great. We’d good conversation on Yammer about problems within different teams, which was a little bit surprising to me, normally most of the employees aren’t participating to new technologies that much. But Yammer had a better start. Unfortunately the good start doesn’t mean a good every-day usage. Right now 4 months after launching Yammer, only a few (mostly technical enthusiasts) keep on using Yammer every day. The crowd hasn’t signed on for the last 2 months… They are again writing emails, doing Lync chats or discuss important things on the floor. And this is exactly the worst point for a new platform, we did this learning curve with the adoption of SharePoint as centralised communication and collaboration platform a decade ago, users are falling back to their old-fashioned habits, without teaching them actively (let’s say 1hr per week) the adoption of a new social network will not work. (At least for the company I currently work for) This drives me crazy, it’s not Yammers fault, it’s a human fault. But Yammer will be faced with this problem. Enabling SharePoint’s OOB Social features within this company is easier, because they use SharePoint for everything.  

Summary

The ‘user adoption’ is unfortunately the biggest problem for Yammer, I like the idea of Yammer, but until Yammer isn’t fluently integrated into SharePoint / SharePoint Online, it’s a hard way for us – SharePoint enthusiasts – to move customers, friends, co-workers on the Yammer train.

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