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This is actually the to begin a 3-part series where I’ll explore your way that AvePoint is onto redirect a lot of our collaboration efforts to Yammer.

Later on posts, I’ll get into detail about how precisely we worked out constructing our Yammer communities and just how we’re calculating success and adoption to make sure we’re on course, however this publish is about why we’re carrying this out to begin with.

We’ll reach why Yammer has returned within my existence in the finish of the publish, however, just a little background.

Table of Contents

AvePoint’s history with Yammer goes long ago. Ought to be fact, my close friend Jeremy Thake detailed our initial foray into the field of Yammer. Why we made a decision to go this direction beginning in 2013 and escape from that old SharePoint communities.

Like a product company—and more particularly, a business that develops software products—it’s crucial that details about what we’re building, why we’re building it, how it operates, and the easiest method to support it’s spread rapidly and effectively through the organization.

They are ongoing conversations we’ve every single day, or being able to ask them to efficiently and effectively means everybody within the organization is going to be outfitted to handle their mission.

Your business might not build products or software, but my prediction is the fact that similar “communities of practice” exist in your organization too—places where understanding is shared, questions are clarified, and concepts are debated all-around a particular subject or area of interest.

In the beginning, our Yammer groups flourished. Conversations which had formerly been limited to isolated email chains were now visible for broad segments in our population, and everybody now were built with a platform to inquire about, answer, and comment for their heart’s content. This switched to be both good and bad at occasions, but on balance it had been a helpful and productive factor.

Regrettably, all wasn’t perfect within our new collaborative world. While Yammer presented a technology means to fix support our social needs, it continued to be fairly isolated in the daily team collaboration which was mostly offered by OneDrive, SharePoint, and email.

Yammer wasn’t a location to decrease personal files should you desired to focus on it with other people. Email notifications about Yammer conversations needed you to definitely leave your inbox and mind to Yammer to have fun playing the discussion.

Too little governance by what Yammer groups were produced by who as well as for what led to countless overlapping conversation spaces that rapidly grew to become confusing and overwhelming.

After which it happened: a shiny new spot to have conversations and collaborate around files burst to the scene by means of Microsoft Teams.

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At AvePoint, we went hard at Microsoft Teams, rapidly incorporating it into our daily work. With Teams being another place to keep an eye on notifications and interactions, Yammer rapidly faded in to the background was relegated to Corporate Communications bulletins as “conversation fatigue” occur.

When I mentioned above, Microsoft Teams has turned into a critical a part of the way we collaborate internally at AvePoint.

Particularly, our technicians who help our customers know very well what solution configurations can help meet their demands take presctiption the leading lines in our pre-sales efforts. Use of experts and knowledge in tangible-time is crucial of these pre-sales engineers to become effective. We already were built with a Microsoft Team of these folks to collaborate with one another, but we recognized the bond to experts in all of our product areas didn’t have.

Adding another Microsoft Teams funnel for every major product area which was monitored through the appropriate product experts demonstrated to become an easy and quick fix for your problem. I (lightly) twisted the arms in our product experts to “follow” their funnel so that they could avoid the noisy collaboration elsewhere within the Team but be notified immediately if a person needed their help.


These channels were an instantaneous success and rapidly saw significant engagement and adoption. Immediacy of response, persistence of past conversations, and regular engagement by our experts were our prime points of the approach, but with time I started to determine that it hadn’t been yet time for you to bust out the champagne.

The greater effective the engagement using the pre-sales engineering team grew to become, the greater the cracks within our approach began to exhibit.

We currently had A whole lot conversations and content about all of our many product areas—and more had been added every single day. But communities of practice have to do with not only interaction curation of that understanding that spills out with time is important (unless of course, obviously, you need to have a similar conversations again and again).

In busy Microsoft Teams channels, it’s present with have numerous threads began every day. Our product experts frequently felt like archeologists digging back through a number of days of threads so that they could copy a hyperlink for an old conversation and publish it inside a reply whenever a question was almost always requested again by another person.


Challenge 1: While Teams is wonderful for conversations and discussing what is going on now, it isn’t well suited for assisting to highlight and direct users towards the awesome stuff that happened before.

Additionally, we’d experts on these channels for any reason—they were the authority on which was coming, why it had been coming and just how it had been best used and positioned.

Consider this pre-sales engineering team would be a chatty bunch (engagement = good, remember?), that guidance was frequently hidden in threads which were many posts lengthy.

Challenge 2: Teams also lacked a great way to differentiate between ideas and answers—authoritative solutions especially.

We have MANY technical teams and roles within AvePoint—all which needed exactly the type of information and input which was happening within our pre-sales engineering Team— speculate they weren’t a part of that business team (by extension not area of the Microsoft Team that supports it), these were really missing out.

Challenge 3: It was the ultimate, and possibly most concerning realization. We’d only solved our understanding requirement for a couple of, and not the many.

Adding these individuals towards the pre-salesforce wasn’t appropriate and doing this might have only been kicking the can lower the street. It had been finally time for you to understand that what we should needed would be a community, not really a Team.

office 365

We’ve shifted our thinking and today understand our communities of practice have to bo open and inclusive gathering places as opposed to the closed-loop of named people who Microsoft Teams requires.

Listed here are the 3 key motorists that convinced me to go to Yammer to aid this effort:

1. It appears like we might finally understand what to make use of so when!

It had been whether stroke of promoting genius (or I’m just consuming the awesome-aid) for Microsoft to help make the transfer of naming from “Yammer Groups” to “Yammer Communities” because they announced their “The Way forward for Yammer” plans at Microsoft Ignite 2019.

All at once, this reduced the confusion and clarified the objective of the three kinds of Office 365 Groups which have been obtainable in the woking platform for a while: Outlook Groups, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer Communities. Hopefully, this can help further offer rest the “what to make use of when” discussion that’s been raging for a long time.

Microsoft Teams continuously play a main and natural part within our collaboration strategy, but there’s some interesting research that implies that engagement and interaction really reduction in Teams which contain bigger figures of individuals.

We are able to debate where that tipping point is, and my suspicion is it will be different organization by organization, however the concept appears seem when we remember what Microsoft Teams is perfect for to begin with: regular and repeated interaction among a shut loop of individuals.

Communities, by comparison, could have people we didn’t know existed. We are able to shout in the fringe of a high cliff and solutions and insights may resonate to us using their company teams, regions, or countries.

Around some might anticipate to keep it, this idea and also the new positioning of Yammer, only re-enforces the “inner loop” and “outer loop” messaging from Microsoft.

2. “Native Mode” for Yammer is really a game-changer, allowing organizations to fold Yammer to their existing Office 365 governance strategy.

“Stick for your concepts kid” is advice a lot of us have become because we were little.

The concepts Yammer began on were such things as free and open communication bottom-up understanding discussing and mix-organization collaboration that breaks that old hierarchical types of how employees interact.

There is a strongly-held feeling among many Yammer people I spoken to that particular Yammer was “open by design” which united nations-checked, viral collaboration was the goal and reason for Yammer.

They are noble aims. For a lot of organizations, however, there is a constant balance that must definitely be searched for between faster and much more effective collaboration and also the realities of responsibility and governance.

Microsoft continues to be attempting to walk this line at work 365 platform, as evidenced through the many investments in such things as access control, security, eDiscovery, Legal Hold and lots of additional features. These give organizations confidence that, by relocating to Microsoft’s cloud offering, they are able to frequently be more secure and compliant compared to what they were before.

Yet, for any lengthy time, Yammer was an outlier within this effort.

Despite Microsoft acquired Yammer making it an element of the Office 365 offering, Yammer didn’t “follow the rules” of methods another Office 365 services were governed and managed.

A number of it was architectural—eDiscovery and Legal Hold at work 365 depend on the construct known as “the substrate,” that is basically where copies of posts and messages from various Office 365 services spool to allow them to be uncovered to discovery and hold.

Files over the Office 365 services are kept in SharePoint or OneDrive—and because features like DLP, hold and discovery are supported for SharePoint and OneDrive, any Office 365 service that utilizes this storage model inherits these compliance abilities.

Until lately, Yammer has lacked the architecture to leverage either the substrate or SharePoint (for primary file storage).

Thus, Yammer continues to be in the cold so far as many key compliance needs go. You’d to deal with Yammer just like a separate service and develop your personal compliance strategy.

But Yammer’s variations weren’t all architectural. A persistent insistence that any user ought to be permitted to produce a Yammer group at any here we are at any reason resulted in Yammer couldn’t squeeze into any workspace provisioning strategy that you simply produced for other Office 365 services.

For instance:

Your house you desired to apply an easy but a little more managed provisioning technique for Office 365 services, where users might get new Teams, Sites or Groups. Users would need to make use of a more structured process compared to as they are behavior so you could gather additional information concerning the purpose, possession and information on the collaboration which will occur for the reason that new workspace.

You can simply disable the native self-service abilities for Office 365 Group provisioning in Azure AD and today users would need to make use of your alternate process when they desired to provision a brand new workspace.

But Yammer didn’t abide by these rules. It had been impossible to “turn-off” the native self-service provisioning of Yammer groups. This resulted in, again, you’d to cope with Yammer like a separate entity inside your overall Office 365 governance strategy.

All this changes with Yammer’s new “Native Mode.” The new Yammer Communities are made about this new Yammer mode meaning Yammer has become an initial-class Office 365 citizen that is now attached to the same productivity, management, and governance abilities as all of those other platform services.

The specific benefits of Native Mode are:

  • No-one can unintentionally bring your network from Native Mode
  • (not far off) eDiscovery with the Office 365 Security &amp Compliance Center for your house network
  • All Yammer groups and users are managed through Office 365
  • Office 365 sources for every group
  • All groups, including All Company, are Office 365-connected, meaning they get access to Office 365 features, including live occasions
  • Yammer honors Office 365 Group creation legal rights
  • No exterior groups or network-level visitors, but exterior systems are supported within the US Geo
  • All files submitted to groups is going to be kept in SharePoint
  • Files can’t be submitted to Yammer private messages
  • Verified and Network Network Admins are needed to possess either Global Admin rights or Group admin rights from Microsoft 365 to be able to administer changes to groups that they aren’t an organization owner

Basically this transformation implies that Yammer is relocating a direction where your provisioning, guest access, data governance, and hold and discovery approach could be unified across all of the core Office 365 services.


3. Yammer happens to be much better than Microsoft Teams for community management and content curation.

When we remember to the start of this publish, a few of the frustrations about using Teams for the communities of practice were because Teams lacks the opportunity to curate posts and content with time right into a functional library of understanding.

Yammer’s lengthy-standing feature, “topics,” enables community managers to tag posts with “topics” after which provide aggregated views of posts that are based on that subject inside a simple but effective approach to curate content with time.

Our technique for our product area communities allows the SMEs in every community to aggregate posts about a part of an item. A good example could be “Approval Processes.”

Through this straightforward gesture, we are able to build a casual understanding store for those historic Q&ampA and bulletins about this product component.

Talking about Q&ampA, the opportunity to default these communities to make use of the “Q&ampA” publish type for brand new posts, and so the capability to both mark a solution as “best” and pin that best solution to the top replies implies that these new Yammer communities is going to be much simpler to eat than both older style Yammer conversations and also the conversations i was getting in Teams.


I’m also looking forward to the possibilities of performing cool product release training directly locally of practice dedicated to that product while using “Live events” feature of Yammer. This helps to ensure that everybody knows in which the event and also the recording will live, but additionally enables the conversation to carry on lengthy following the training is performed.


These are merely a couple of from the new or enhanced community management options that come with Yammer that’ll be coming in line with the roadmap Microsoft provided at Ignite this past year:

Additionally towards the community management features pointed out above, the Yammer communities completely new, modern feel and look will both assistance to re-ignite interest and spur adoption because the service becomes simpler and much more enjoyable to make use of.

We all know we’re going to possess a fight on the hands to drag back those who have negativity about Yammer due to the past. However, the easiest method to have them back would be to demonstrate to them this latest Yammer is both simpler to make use of and readily available that in the past.

Remember I must withdraw both my community people AND my SMEs that’ll be serving as the city managers. The easiest method to do that is as simple as showing the way we may bring Yammer to them—in the locations that will work today, namely in Teams as well as in their inboxes.

Soon, community people and managers can have full-fidelity interactions with Yammer from directly inside their inbox while using new Outlook integration.


It’s fair to state that it is a brand new year for Yammer, and I’m very happy to see Microsoft enhance things that were always great about Yammer. But, I additionally recognize getting Yammer fully in to the Office 365 fold was essential.

Hopefully this primary publish from the series helped you realize why we’re starting this project to transition our communities of practice from Teams to Yammer.

The proof is incorporated in the pudding, however, and so i encourage you to look for Part 2 of the series where we’ll walk-through how we do so. Then partly 3, we’ll check out the way we did— what labored and just what needs tweaking.

It’s crucially essential for me that we don’t fall under the trap of simply chasing the shiny new object. Success may be like an accumulation of fully vibrant and engaged Yammer communities And also the continuation in our high adoption of Microsoft Teams. This is proof the “right” tool is just the correct one to do the job at hands.

Any conversation-based system needs gravity to become effective. Users should be attracted into it daily and thus if gravity may be the lifeblood, neglect may be the dying knell.