The New Office 365 Network, Explained

It’s a new, public space, and most of us coming over from Yammer are still feeling our way.

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An actual live screenshot!

Yammer isn’t gone, about to be gone, or destined for a terrible end*. The product remains a living, breathing, and utterly viable professional learning and development space for your coworkers, clients, and customers. I’m having a blast with the Yammer networks I run, with more people joining every day from all over the world.

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Yep, that’s Yammy in space.

So what does the new Office 365 Network intend?

Visibility for all Microsoft products. Consolidating discussions on these products. Thought leadership.

And making “the wealth of valuable information in the Office 365 Network available to anyone who is looking for it.” (Quoted from Anna Chu on the aforementioned, soon-to-be-deleted Yammer Office 365 Network.)

Searchable stuff is good! What I’m not sure about is if this new space on Lithium will also include finding the help you need the way we’ve been used to on the Yammer Office 365 Network (boasting 88,600 members from around the world at the time that I write this).

For Mike Holste has stated clearly on the guidelines that this new network is not for support questions.

I’m wondering how that will work out. A lot of the questions we fielded over in the Yammer network, in a dedicated group named Yammer Bugs, were of the “Should I be worried?” nature, such as: “IS this a bug/glitch/system down thing? Or just me?” whereupon we’d help guide people toward whether they should indeed open a ticket or not.

And then others searching for the same thing would also see the results without having to bounce to yet another site. That was extremely helpful.

But while that was just one of many, many groups that spanned all sorts of topics, not just challenges-to-successes, that level of peer support might never have been the intention for that network in the first place.

This new playground may be more what Microsoft wants to see around its products.

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I mostly just wanted to use the O RLY? owl

There will also need to be more thinking before posting. I know this is a best practice regardless. Yet with this network publicly accessible, Yammerites used to sharing a few more details for context around their questions and concerns will need to take extra care not to post confidential information.

As far as the decision to reserve Microsoft’s own use of Yammer down to one invitation-only network, well, these are early days yet for that too.

The bottom line: You have to use it to know how it’ll pan out. For me, it’s an extra step that’s not yet intuitive, because I am that much immersed in Yammer–four networks & counting!–but just as going to Yammer used to be an extra step, this too will become fluid.

More importantly, what will this do to the sense of community we shared within Yammer? Well, I’m not sure about that yet either. As with any new space, there’s a proving ground, and awkwardness, and establishing your personal identity. Some people will jump right in and learn as they go, others will hang back and lurk until they’re comfortable sharing (if ever).

But the friends I’ve made along the way in Yammer, I’m going to keep, one way or another!

Resources:

 

*As far as I know. I’m not Microsoft. And social-anything isn’t immutable.

The New Office 365 Network

This actually happened Friday, but I was offline doing offline things, so.

If you do anything with Office 365, you might want to check out this new network.

“As more organizations embrace the cloud and move to Office 365, we want to make the wealth of valuable information in the Office 365 Network available to anyone who is looking for it.”

See? It’s for you!

Office 365 Connectors: Where’s Yammer?

“Now customers can use Office Groups to collaborate over information from popular third-party services and apps, including Salesforce, Twitter and GitHub.” – Office 365 Connectors Track Tweets, Scan Salesforce

What’s missing as one of these services and apps: Yammer.

I’ve been trying to figure out the reasons why Yammer isn’t included, and after reading through a happening-right-now conversation between Microsoft and Yammer admins, on the Office365 Yammer network, I still don’t see why it ultimately isn’t.

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It’s a real head-scratcher.

Two of the arguments against its inclusion contain these points:

“Microsoft haven’t developed anything here with Twitter, GitHub etc. All of these companies already have an outgoing Webhook interface, Connectors are an incoming Webhook interface. Yammer doesn’t currently have an outgoing Webhook…a Yammer group could post every message, but it wouldn’t thread, wouldn’t be from the original user, and is one way.”

“Think of the search headaches, as the same content shows up multiple times. Think of the migration headaches. Think of the confused users who keep navigating to different groups and seeing the same conversations. And the poor trainers! They already have to explain to end users why both Groups and Yammer are being used and what the purpose of each tool is. As you know, this is difficult enough, but now they’ll have to explain to users why they see the same conversations in both tools?”

Here’s where I just don’t get it.

With any of these other connectors, there is the same risk spoken of about Yammer: You only get the high-level stuff.

From the article:

“Each time a key activity takes place in the service you’re tracking—for example, when a new task is added to a Salesforce opportunity, an update is made to a Trello board or an incident is triggered in PagerDuty—a message is sent to the Groups shared inbox,” said Pardeshi.

In the above example, I can only speak to Trello, but when I get notifications, it’s only the latest post and I still have to actively open Trello to see the full context.

As far as the point made that we’d have to explain to users why we see the same conversations in both tools…I really don’t see that this would be an issue, or this tool shouldn’t exist in the first place, then.

“Office 365 Connectors, a new Office Groups feature, eliminate the need to log in and out of multiple services or keep a Web browser full of open tabs to monitor social media accounts and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps.”

All of these notifications, alerts, etc., are able to come to my Outlook right now. So to me, this is the same thing as what I get in Outlook, just in a different place and with a different feel. And NOT including a major tool for our company and customers.

I’m coming from a place where it’s imperative that my home network continues to understand and find use in Yammer, because that’s what our customers use in our external network.

I neither want to fragment their O365 experience nor divert them from Yammer because it’s shunted off to the back of the train as a forgotten caboose instead of being the locomotive.

I’m all for integrated experiences and one-stop shopping. I don’t see that happening with this new tool.

What am I missing?

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(And thanks to Heather V for the train analogy.)