Learning More About Yammer Communities

August 12, 2020 Rob Murray

Every day, Microsoft is working to enhance and upgrade their technologies, and we are here to keep our communities abreast of all the latest and greatest features. Lately, there has been a shift in Microsoft’s Yammer and part of this overhaul is the transition from Yammer Groups to Yammer Communities. What does this mean and how can it provide your users with a greater opportunity for collaboration?

Yammer Groups are now Yammer Communities

The biggest change from a user-facing perspective is the renaming of Yammer groups to “Communities”. These communities can now set custom cover photos and create announcements that include a question, poll, or praise, and then pin those to the top of the community page. Microsoft has also updated the interface to use more modern styling. This means that Yammer will now fit better visually within the larger M365 idiom. The post creation/editing experience has likewise been updated, and more editing features are finally available in the SharePoint web part interface.

There’s also now a “Discovery Feed” that uses AI and machine learning to figure out what’s important to each user. It’s meant to become more attuned to each user over time.

Admins and Yammer Communities

For admins, Yammer Profiles are now unified with a user’s M365 profile so that those profiles, along with people card data, are pulled from M365. This clears up that old headache of having to separately manage Yammer user profiles. There are several security and compliance updates as well, including:

  • eDiscovery
  • Policy management via AAD and the M365 Admin center (this includes group membership, group privacy, data classification, enforcement of M365 group creation policies, e.g.)
  • Yammer files now stored in SharePoint
  • All the data loss prevention, retention, deletion and other policies/governance that are configured for the organization will apply to Yammer files as well

Changes in the Application

There is a new Yammer Communities mobile app with on-device video capture/editing/publishing (up to 3 minutes). This app will receive new Yammer features either concurrently with or before the web version, and there’s the Yammer app for Teams coming, which includes a full Yammer experience within Teams.

Not to bury the lede, but this is where the real secret sauce for organizations to benefit from Yammer. Yammer is there, baked into Teams, for all the conversations that aren’t necessarily related to a project. Also, when a user receives an email notification about a Yammer post, that user will be able to interact with that post/thread from within the email message in Outlook, creating in-line embedded productivity.

In addition, there’s the Yammer Conversations web part for SharePoint which will now allow file attachments, rich text editing, and Q&A content. Looking at the old Yammer web part, this is also a major benefit for businesses.

Finally, there is Live Event Production. With this feature you can choose whether to push the event feed through an external encoder (for studio-produced content) or through Teams for non-studio content.

Looking at these pieces, Yammer is positioned to fit nicely within the Teams-centric world that Microsoft is building for Microsoft 365 as a place to hold informal/non-project focused (departmental/organizational) discussions/announcements and client interactions (the external network as client-interface structure is well-proven).

If you have any questions, reach out to a New Signature intelligent workplace expert to discuss the exciting future of Yammer.

About the Author
Robert C.  Murray is a Senior Collaboration Consultant at New Signature focusing on Change Management, Yammer, Teams, and SharePoint in M365, having worked in the M365 Collaboration space for almost 10 years. He is a ProSci-certified Change Management practitioner and Yammer-certified admin. He is also the co-host and co-producer of New Signature’s Office Explorers podcast. In his spare time Rob writes Science Fiction novels and poetry, and also hosts/produces the “Left Hand Poetry” podcast.

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