Teams and Yammer Are Not Competitors

August 18, 2020 Cara Heimbaugh

Over the past few yearsa tone has been set that Teams and Yammer are competitors, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Somehow a misconception has been made that you are either team Teams or team Yammer and you must choose only one as your enterprise collaboration tool. The reality is Teams and Yammer are made to complement one other.  

Venn Diagram of Functionality 

While this is not an all-inclusive list of functionalities, there are some tasks that Teams handles better than Yammer and vice versa. There are also some functionalities that overlap both. Every day, people come up with new use cases for both Teams and Yammer, so this list is always growing. As Microsoft keeps making improvements to each, both tools will continue to grow. This diagram is meant as a starting point for you to have the conversation around what tool to use when.  

A Brief Description 

Teams: An Intimate Workplace for You and Your Team to Get Work Done 

Microsoft Teams started out as a replacement for Skype. Built into Teams is a host of productivity tools to enable your team to work together, including one-to-one chatting, group chat, channels to share and collaborate on documents, and the ability to have real-time meetings where everyone can engage each other.  

The biggest advantage to Teams is the real-time connections that it supports. In a meeting, everyone is interacting in real time with each other over video and audio. In channels, people can open a document and work on that document together in real time.  

There are many productivity apps and tabs that make getting work done within Teams easier. You can quickly show important business data and take actions on that data integrating the Power Platform.  

Recently, Microsoft released the ability to embed Yammer conversation directly into a Teams channel. Therefore, there should no longer be any competition between the two. Now you can use both at the same time. 

Yammer – Connect With a Broader Community 

When Microsoft purchased Yammer, there wasn’t a clear explanation as to where it fell in the ecosystem of Microsoft 365. Thais changing now that Microsoft announced the Year of Yammer at Ignite 2020. There have been many recent improvements made to the tool; some of the anticipated and needed features are Azure Active Directory synchronization of groups and usersbetter search capabilities, new mobile and desktop interface, and connections to the Compliance Center. 

Unlike Teams, Yammer is a more asynchronous form of communications. In Teams, the engagement with members of the Team is more immediate inside meetings and chat. Yammer conversation are more like a wave that ripples across a pond in which people can engage with conversations as they like.  

Where to Use It 

The best way to explain which tool to use when is by showing examplesThese are very simple explanations to get you started asking questions about what you want to accomplish as an organization. After all, the purpose of each of these tools is to make getting work done easier 

Case 1: Very Large Organization 

This solution for a very large organization would require a healthy mix of Teams and Yammer. In large organizations, users would use Yammer to create communities where information can travel quickly at a large scale. For example, when benefits enrollment are happening, these communities can have question-and-answer sessions where answers can be marked as the best answer and a FAQ can be built organically. Yammer can be used by field staff using the mobile app to simplify communications to a product team using pictures taken on their phones and then uploaded and discussedCompany-wide news, announcements and praise can be shown across the entire organization or smaller sets of communities. Yammer can be used to show town hall videos streamed to the entire company, whereas Teams would be used to collaborate on projects, share documents and start Flows and enter data in Power Apps. Yammer community can be monitored in a Teams channel for ease of visibility and fast response times to questions. All of this would be protected by Microsoft’s robust data protection and compliance tools. A governance committee should be in place to make sure growth of Teams and Yammer stay within the company’s rules. Too many Teams could result in messaging being overlookedYammer excels at displaying lots of information to people in an easier way to consume. 

Case 2: Medium-sized Company 

Much like scenario for a large organization, a medium-sized company would still benefit from a mix of Teams and Yammer. Some of the broader communications can be handled in a Teams organization-wide channel since the company has less than 5,000 people. Internal teams can work together on projects, share and collaborate on documents. If the organization wants a more social media-style experience, Yammer can be used to create communities of people and still have all the question and answers aspects that for which Yammer is known. It’s also important to focus on maintaining a sustainable number of teams and communities, as well as developing a solid governance policy.

Case 3: Small Company of a Few Dozen People

This type of company would most likely use Teams heavilyYammer doesn’t have the calling and meeting features like Teams, so Yammer would play a smaller role in this scenario. Teams would be created for projects and general communications. The company’s organization-wide channel would be the main way company information is shared. Because the company is smaller, messages would be less likely to be missed and the company can still maintain a strong community using TeamsSmaller companies may not experience Teams sprawl like larger companies, but there should still be a plan to clean up unused Teams.  

Want to learn more? New Signature has experts to help you with your Teams and Yammer deployment and governance questions.  Connect with us today.

About the Author

James Cragle is a Collaboration Consultant at New Signature in our Southeast United States region. He is an expert and lover of all things SharePoint, and helps our customers develop and manage dynamic and intelligent workplace environments. In his free time, James is an avid hiker and has recently started experimenting with gardening.

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