New Usage Reports Rolling Out for Office 365, Yammer, OneDrive and Skype

Microsoft is rolling out new usage reports for Office 365, Yammer, OneDrive for Business an Skype for Business.

The key reports coming to your tenant soon include:

  • Activity dashboard
  • Email activity report
  • Office activations report
  • SharePoint site usage report
  • OneDrive for Business usage report
  • Skype for Business report
  • Yammer report

Each of these reports should help with monitoring activity, usage and adoption.

Microsoft will also be rolling out the Office 365 Power BI Content Pack in June, allowing you to create your own dashboards based on the same activity and usage data.

New usage reports for SharePoint OneDrive Yammer and Skype 1

New usage reports for SharePoint OneDrive Yammer and Skype 2

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Yammer Is Now Activated by Default and Integrated into Azure

Yammer is now activated automatically for Office 365 users instead of requiring an extra registration and activation process.  Microsoft hopes this will encourage users to adopt Yammer as a social networking tool. 

Yammer also also now been fully deployed within the Azure data centers globally and therefore is now part of the Office 365 Trust Center – previous Yammer was not included which from a compliance perspective was a challenge from some regulated organizations.

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Office Online Integration with Yammer Coming Soon

Microsoft has announced that document previewing and editing in Yammer will be provided through Office Online.

First, the document preview and edit experience for files uploaded into Yammer are now powered by Office Online. When you click the Edit File link in Yammer, a new browser tab opens up with a full-screen view of the document. Make changes and comments directly in the document using Office Online. When you’re done, simply close the tab. Your changes are automatically saved in Yammer, where you have the ability to review the version history of each file and mark documents “Official.” In the near future, you’ll also be able to co-author documents in real-time and translate documents in Yammer into 30+ languages using the Bing Translator.

Preview files in Yammer using Office Online.

Document collaboration in Yammer just got better with Office Online 3

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Yammer Conversations vs. SharePoint Collaboration Sites

Yammer is an interesting enterprise social technology and SharePoint collaboration sites have been around for many years.  For ad hoc collaboration, project sites, etc. which should you use or should you use both?  Here are some best practices and recommendations based on our experience working with both technologies.

Yammer is Microsoft’s Future for Enterprise Social

Microsoft has publically stated that Yammer is the future for enterprise social, not the SharePoint newsfeed.  You can switch out the newsfeed in SharePoint 2013 for Yammer and integrate yammer conversations into SharePoint team sites.   

In most of my conversations with customers, we recommend using Yammer over the SharePoint social experience unless there are specific concerns about using Yammer from a compliance or cloud perspective.

Yammer is Design for Conversations

Yammer is a great surface if you want to encourage conversations, ad hoc knowledge management and social communities within the enterprise.  However, compared to SharePoint it has some key weaknesses:

  • Document management capabilities

  • Support for taxonomies
  • User interface customization
  • Enterprise search

From a taxonomy perspective, Yammer supports a limited number of “content types” such as polls, links, conversations, activities, profiles, messages, etc. all related to social collaboration.  SharePoint provides a number of additional taxonomy concepts out of the box but more importantly allows you create your own taxonomy concepts and to tag objects based on your own taxonomy needs. 

Compared to SharePoint, Yammer is lightweight and lacks customization.  If you need a project site which is ad hoc and conversation based, Yammer might be sufficient.  However, if you’re running a project site where you need to store documents, align them to your corporate taxonomy, add business process workflows, etc. then you’re going to be limited by using Yammer as a collaboration platform.

SharePoint Provides True Enterprise Collaboration and Document Management

Imagine that you’re running a project and you need a collaboration space for managing the information related to that project.  You could create a Yammer group and collaborate that way but you’ll be missing out on a number of features that SharePoint can provide that Yammer doesn’t support:

  • Document management capabilities such as check-in/check-out, version control, auditing, records management, workflows, etc.

  • Web content management capabilities such as creating web pages, adding rich media, adding multiple pages, etc.
  • Adding additional functionality to your site such as calendars, blogs, image libraries, document libraries, etc. 
  • Ability to inject customizations such as third party add-ons or proprietary customizations

  • Ability to radically change the look and feel for your site
  • Ability to template out sites for specific business purpose (e.g. there is no equivalent of the SharePoint “Site Template” concept)

What SharePoint provides you in terms of functionality also comes at a cost – it requires configuration, governance and information management strategies that for some use cases will seem to heavy for ad hoc collaboration.  However, if you’re running a project with some level of structure and you want to enforce any level of information management standards, Yammer is going to be limited in its ability to comply.

Best of Both Worlds: SharePoint Team Site Integrated with Yammer

For collaboration, I would recommend using SharePoint Team Sites.  You can leverage all the depth of the collaboration features that have been available with SharePoint for years.  For those scenarios where you want a more social experience, you can then create a Yammer group and embed the conversation into your SharePoint Team Site.

A Yammer My feed embedded in a SharePoint page

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Are You Still Using the Yammer App? Swap to Yammer Embed by Sept 2015

The Yammer App is an app part available for free in the SharePoint store that allows you integrate Yammer conversations into SharePoint 2013 on premise or SharePoint Online if you are using Office 365.

Microsoft has announced that the Yammer App will be discontinued and will stop working as of September 2015.  If you are using the Yammer App currently, you need to replace it with new Yammer Embed feature.

The process for replacing the Yammer app for SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online

Using Yammer Embed, you can provide similar integration between Yammer and SharePoint including display of my feed, group feeds, topic feeds, or specific object feeds.  Instead of Yammer being an App Part, the Yammer Embed is just HTML script that you can embed anywhere in your page.

Paste the script into the Script web part

A Yammer Group feed embedded in a SharePoint page

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