Yammer refocuses on groups to increase engagement and improve group productivity

Working in teams can be difficult because there is a fine line which must be walked between too much communication and not enough. Most companies rely on email to facilitate the communications between teammates, which means long reply-all chains. Yammer aims to end the evil reply-all by empowering teams with the tools they need to be more productive and communicate better.

In a blog post, Juliet Wei, senior product marketing manager for the Yammer team lays out the updates coming to Yammer and why they have focused on group features. Yammer is an enterprise social networking tool, which means companies can use Yammer to enable their employees to communicate via posts, tags, images, and messages much like Facebook or Google+. The main idea behind enterprise social networks surrounds how inefficient email has become at understanding a project or communicating with a team.

Yammer integrates with Office365 enabling users to edit documents together share files via OneDrive or Dropbox. These tools enable teams to work off the same files and always be up to date without sending documents around as email attachments. Recent updates focus on teams because pretty much everyone who works at a company of any size works in a team or teams.

Unlike email, enterprise social networks can help people discover groups or conversations which relate to their projects. This way you can stay up to date even if you are left off the initial post. These upcoming updates should help employees with several simultaneous projects and different teams to understand where they stand. By reworking the group page users will more easily read through updates and jump to their next group. New real time updates will alert users to current conversations and updates which are happening live.

Where would these updates be if they weren’t also mirrored on the Yammer mobile apps? So starting with the Android app and soon the iOS app (no mention of the Windows 10 app) these new group features will convert well to the mobile experience. In addition to refining group communication issues, Yammer has introduced new photo sharing and markup support. Users can share photos and communicate with their team directly on the image for maximum effectiveness.

While sharing photos is nice, most people want to share documents from OneDrive or Dropbox. Now even on the go Yammer users can share documents and tag their coworkers inline. If your coworkers have not set Yammer up yet, then add them by searching for them via name or email and if they are already on Yammer, just add them.

These features will be rolling out to users, but they are still being refined. This means that some users may see features then stop seeing them as they get ‘pulled back’ for more refining. Since Yammer is a cloud based service features can be altered and tested for maximum engagement. The development team uses these engagement statistics to understand how to best alter their product. Any changes which do not positively affect engagement are altered or removed.

For more information on these Yammer updates check you can participate in a YamJam which is where product engineers field questions from users on Yammer. Here is how to connected via a YamJam:

  • Request access to the Office 365 Network. All requests will be approved as quickly as possible.
  • Join the Enterprise Social group. You can find it by using the Browse Groups function or through the search bar.
  • Log in at 9 a.m. PDT / 5 p.m. GST on Wednesday, September 9 to ask questions, follow the discussions and connect with Microsoft team members.
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Do you use Yammer groups? What else can Microsoft to to increase group productivity?