What are the Yammer and SharePoint integration options?
With there being different versions of SharePoint available today and when you initially read into this area, there are perhaps not as many Yammer and SharePoint integration options as you might think or importantly want to satisfy your business ‘social engagement’ needs.
Because Yammer is a ‘cloud’ based offering and it cannot be installed on local hardware, this restricts the options available to you. This is because those responsible for the overall service are looking to manage the robustness and availability of the platform and hence they need to minimise the risk of disrupting the service by only allowing particular integration scenarios.
That said, we think there are still some viable options for integrating your Yammer and SharePoint content together.
Why should Yammer be of interest to you, if you already have SharePoint?
Answer: Yammer provides you with a “secure, private ‘social network’ that enables SharePoint to be more social and engaging”. Simply put, it provides you with a layer of functionality not available inside older versions like SharePoint 2007 or 2010 (though a degree of overlap does now exist in SharePoint 2013, more on this later). It also does not perhaps provide as much deeply embedded functionality as say Newsgator or Telligent, but then these require a greater degree of impact on your existing platform, (read costs and risks associated with the software installed on your local servers).
For those with internally hosted environments, it doesn’t always require any server side software to be installed on your servers, and for Office365 users with SharePoint there are also some options too. Office365 will see more capabilities in the coming months being made available as Microsoft, which bought Yammer last year works to integrate Yammer into its wider online offerings.
Following the attendance of the Yammer on Tour (YOT) session in London last month, we reviewed the position in relation to using Yammer, with existing versions of SharePoint. There are essentially three options available and are described as follows:
1. Primary Yammer web part
Provides the highest degree of integration with both feeds, private messages, notifications and integration with the SharePoint ‘ribbon’ – (only available to standard alone, Enterprise/SharePoint Online/Office365 customers, and will require lightweight server side installation for the web part to be made available).
2. Light ‘embedded’ web part
Provides ability to place a feed from your Yammer pages, inside a SharePoint team site. This can be from any group feed and also be placed inside your mysite area too (available to any customer, but doesn’t require server side installation for the web part to be made available, if done manually for each user).
3. Search (federated/hybrid) results from both locations
Ability for your SharePoint platform to ‘surface’ Yammer results inside your search results page (requires lightweight server side installation for the web part to be made available on your search results page).
When should you consider using Yammer?
- If you’re considering introducing social engagement tools and you have SharePoint already, then certainly consider this as part of your review
- If you’re looking to reduce the amount of email traffic in your organisation
- If you’re looking for a quick, affordable solution to allow you to collaborate and communicate quickly with your customers
- If you’re considering introducing an extranet capability, this can be a low cost, secure and feature rich platform to use to share securely information and improve communication with your suppliers.
- Introduce an enterprise social networking capability accessed from inside your existing SharePoint based intranet at a low cost
- No need to provide additional hardware or supporting infrastructure
- Provide Yammer feeds inside existing SharePoint team sites to provide group conversations, including mysites
- Yammer conversations can appear in search results inside SharePoint
- Multiple mobile device support (not readily found for SharePoint platforms it has to be said!)
- Single sign on for both applications is possible
- Still not convinced? Watch this 2 minute video, whilst it’s not Yammer, it illustrates perfectly how social collaboration tools can work to your advantage.
Need more information? There is a Yammer post here about the interaction between Yammer and SharePoint integration options.
With Microsoft buying Yammer last year, the announcements at the SPC2012 conference & more recently the Yammer on Tour (YOT) that we attended, it’s pretty clear Yammer will be integrated throughout all of their Office365 offerings as a priority. There will be no on-premise version of Yammer for you to install locally.
This will inevitably pose questions of where your documents will be stored, on your local SharePoint servers or in the Yammer cloud? For those with SharePoint 2013, which has many new social networking features similar to those we wrote about today, which one should you use?
There are answers here and we can help you work through them. But it will depend on several factors that need to be discussed in respect of where you are now with your organisational culture, appetite for change, together with legislative and other constraints that will have a bearing on the decisions you take. It’s by no means the same answer for everyone, especially during the transition whilst Microsoft integrate Yammer into its other offerings.
Yammer absolutely offers an opportunity to introduce significant efficiencies across the board with the way you work, as well as how you interact with your colleagues, suppliers and customers alike. Get in touch with us today if you have a query about how Yammer can work with SharePoint or if you need help build the business case for Yammer with SharePoint.