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What is Yammer? | A quick look at Yammer for Office 365

Last updated on January 22nd, 2019

A quick look at Microsoft Yammer

What is Yammer?

Yammer is Microsoft’s take on a Facebook-esque social platform tailored for use in a business environment. Before you take this parallel too literally, it’s important to add that using the Facebook comparison brings some unwanted connotations and further clarification is needed to get a genuine picture of what Yammer can do for businesses.

Yammer, unlike Facebook, is a private social platform and the scope of the network is, rather than the whole world, just your organisation. The Facebook comparison works strongest when it comes to Yammer’s user interface and feature set, with many users likely finding familiarity in the layout and tools which are given to them: instant messaging, an update feed, @mentions, likes, groups, polls, hashtags, and announcements.

For the full picture, it’s also important to state that Yammer is one of the enterprise tools included within Office 365 and is a self-described “outer-loop” communication tool. Allowing users to engage with co-workers they rarely see or talk to from across the organisation.

Should I use Yammer or Teams?

With there being so many collaboration tools in Office 365, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the range of options available. At an incredibly basic and simplified level, Yammer is for sending a message or announcement to large groups of people and Teams is for sending messages to individuals or smaller, more tightly knit groups.

Of course, this dichotomy only looks at using Yammer’s and Teams’ messaging functions and when comparing each program as a whole, it’s apparent that they both fulfil very distinct roles outside of their chat features.

For maximum business impact, you should be using both Yammer and Teams because each program offers various exclusive features the other doesn’t. However, to determine which program to use when sending a message the above breakdown is a good rule to follow.

What are the benefits of Yammer for businesses?

Builds better relationships:

By enabling continuous communication, Yammer lets employees feel more connected and unified, even if they’re in different departments or office buildings. This helps them create stronger teams and makes working towards a common goal far simpler.

Additionally, through utilising group announcements and Yammer’s in-built praise feature, the latest achievements of staff members can be celebrated by everyone. Allowing a well-performing employee to be acknowledged for their hard work.

An example of Yammer's praise feature

The praise feature allows employee achievements to be celebrated.

Effective knowledge sharing:

Employees can gain meaningful answers to important questions by quickly and easily communicating with colleagues. Whether it’s asking for some details on a client, double-checking a meeting time or getting advice from more experienced staff, it can all be done through Yammer.

Improves employee engagement:

By giving every employee the ability to be involved with company discussions, Yammer lets people feel more engaged with their company. More engaged employees are more productive, less likely to be distracted and are more likely to stay with the business. Making Yammer a powerful tool to have.

Yammer also has a multitude of options for engagement, including opinion polls, open questions and casual public chatrooms for a Friday afternoon.

A Yammer poll

Polls can help improve employee engagement and provide feedback on how to improve the business.

Familiar layout:

Many pieces of software are obtuse and require long periods of time to learn how to use effectively. Yammer on the other hand is instantly familiar to anyone who has used Facebook, Twitter or any type of online chatroom.

With a gentle and short learning curve, Yammer delivers immediate value to any business and sustains this value throughout its lifetime through the power of its many features.

Live communication:

Yammer allows for departments and offices to communicate with one another in a far more effective way than traditional communication tools. Email and board-room meetings have their uses but often aren’t sufficient or suitable.

Yammer uses more social-media-esque features to provide an instant and streamlined discussion between groups or individuals. Allowing teams to stay connected and fostering continual discussion to keep employees engaged.

A Yammer message and private messaging

Messaging is far more versatile and streamlined compared to email or meetings.

Versatile application:

Yammer is not only available for Windows, but also for Mac, Android and iPhone. Furthermore, Yammer can be accessed via any standard web browser, allowing employees to access the software without needing the dedicated application installed.

Being available over so many platforms and devices means that, regardless of your current hardware setup, Yammer provides value for your business. The addition of the mobile applications also means just as much value is gained by remote workers or employees who are often travelling between sites.

Highly Integrated:

Yammer has integration capabilities with many other Office applications such as SharePoint and Skype for Business as well as external applications including Salesforce. It’s also possible to create custom integrations using the Yammer API.

In-built analytics:

Yammer has its own in-built analytics platform, enabling users or admins to monitor certain metrics such as how many messages are being posted, how many messages are being read and how active group members are.

This data can be used to check if everyone in the company saw an announcement or find out which groups are most popular with members for example.

Yammer analytics

Analytics show how employees are using the software and what benefits it’s bringing.

How to get Yammer for your business

If you’re interested in getting Yammer, it’s included freely within certain Office 365 licenses. If your business is yet to adopt Office 365, see our blog post to discover some of the great features you’re missing out on.

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