We have talked earlier on multiple occasions about why “Yammer’s success might becomes its downfall” and “Yammer User Lifecycle Management from Office 365“. Recently, things got more serious with the blogpost from Wictor Wilén, titled “Has Yammer played out its role?“. I’ll give you the cliff notes of his post: Yammer will be replaced by Office 365 Groups.
Building further upon this Wilén’s post, Gustaf Westerlund adviced against “any current CRM system owners to enable the Yammer integration unless Microsoft starts investing in Yammer and/or the CRM-Yammer integration.” You can read the full post here “Rumours of Yammer’s terminal health“.
Both posts mentioned the lack of innovation or investment into the product. Only adding to the speculation that Yammer will disappear. Now, it may be pure coincidence, but Yammer has sent out several emails recently to announce extra features (External Groups -14/10/2015 and Leveraging Azure Media Services for Video Encoding – 16/10/2015) and minor deprecations (Twitter integration, Yammer Chrome Extension, Atom Feeds and Publisher Settings – 15/10/2015). You can read the emails below:
Because today’s teams often include customers, vendors, and partners, we want to make ongoing collaboration with stakeholders outside your organization with Yammer more seamless. External groups enables extended team members to participate fully on projects and initiatives with access to all the conversations and content in the group they belong to. At the same time, we’re making it possible to keep your network data safe and secure by creating a separate section for all external groups, requiring group admin approval for external members to join, providing the ability to implement Exchange Transport Rules (ETRs), and using clear indicators in the UI that alert users to the presence of external team members. We’ve also added functionality to data export to help verified admins see which files and conversations are accessible to external users.
As with external messages, external groups will be enabled for all customers but Yammer verified admins can opt their network out at any time in two ways: 1) you can block your users from inviting external people into external groups in your Yammer network; blocking users in this fashion ensures that content within your Yammer network will not be made visible to external users via external groups, and 2) you can use a logical firewall, which blocks external members from joining external groups on your Yammer network and users from joining external groups that belong to other networks.
Yammer will respect your existing settings, so if you’ve already opted out of external messages, there is no need to opt-out of external groups. Because external groups is built on the same architecture as external messaging, external messages must be enabled in order to receive the external groups capability.
We plan on shipping this feature starting in late November after a small beta test. Because we understand some admins will want to opt out of this feature, we will not be A/B testing external groups.
Leveraging Azure Media Services for Video Encoding
We are excited to announce that at the end of October, Yammer will be removing a third party service called Zencoder and replacing it with an internal Microsoft product called Azure Media Services. We first partnered with Zencoder several years ago to offer users the ability to view supported video files inline in a Yammer message. We are now moving to Azure Media Services as it is better aligned with O365’s security, privacy, and compliance positions.
There are a small number of networks that have disabled the “Inline Video Player” toggle in the Yammer admin console. We created this toggle at the time we partnered with Zencoder because we understood some companies would not be comfortable with any video file information being sent to Zencoder. Now that we are moving to Azure Media Services, this toggle in the admin console will be removed and any supported video files that have been uploaded in your network will be able to play inline.
There will be some user facing changes in how Yammer will now upload and encode videos. In the past, both uploading and encoding would occur at the same time. With Azure Media Services, users will be able to post once a video file is uploaded and the video encoding will not begin until after the message is posted.
Azure Media Services supports a large number of formats. For all supported and unsupported formats, please visit https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/media-services-azure-media-encoder-formats/. There are a small number of formats Zencoder supports that Azure Media Services does not. For these videos, users will be able to download the video to view the video but the will not be able to view it in-line in Yammer.
As a part of Yammer’s ongoing efforts to clean up the UI and move toward a team-oriented experience, Yammer will be deprecating the following features: Twitter integration, Yammer Chrome Extension, Atom Feeds and Publisher Settings.
The Twitter integration and Chrome Extension features will no longer be supported due to low usage; additionally, Twitter integration was intended for broad network sharing and no longer fits into our new product direction focused around team collaboration. These features will be deprecated starting on October 31, 2015.
Atom Feeds can no longer be enabled in product, but users can receive feeds using Yammer’s REST API and converting the feeds to that format. This change will also happen on October 31, 2015. Similarly, while the Publisher Settings Feature, which lets users press the “Enter” key to submit a new post or reply to one, can no longer be enabled in product, users can post a new post or reply to one by clicking the “Post” button or pressing the Shift + Enter keys together. This feature will be deprecated within the next month or two.
Why take note of it?
Why would you have any concerns about or interest whatsoever in Yammer when you’re only working with Dynamics CRM? Well, whether or not you like it, you can integrate Yammer with Dynamics CRM, which makes it a part of the Dynamics CRM and O365-eco-system in my opinion. But as I’m not planning to reinvent the wheel here, I’ll quote Gustaf Westerlund on this one:
Why is this important for us working with Dynamics CRM? As you might know there is a built-in integration between Dynamics CRM and Yammer, where Yammer can be used to replace the Activity Feeds. This gives the organization using the Dynamics CRM system increased use of the feed functionality, as most of the features of Yammer Enterprise can be used directly from within CRM. It will create a thread for each record.