Workplace chat apps have become surprisingly hot properties, with companies like Slack and HipChat enjoying success as messaging apps for the enterprise. Microsoft's tried before to get in on the action -- this is how it ended up with Yammer in the first place -- by mulling an offer for Slack, but now, instead of buying the tech it wants, the company's adopting the attractive features that some other messaging apps already have.
On Monday, the Yammer team announced a new capability for the Microsoft chat program: the ability to include people outside your company in a specific Yammer chat.
This means that sales teams can launch Yammer groups with their external clients, or publishing teams can launch Yammer groups that include freelance designers, writers or editors.
To maintain a strict line between internal assets and external participants who are invited to a new, "external" Yammer group, security measures are baked into the app. The team reports:
Each external group requires group admin approval for external members to join, and a set of proactive controls via Exchange Transport Rules prevents sensitive company information from being shared. We also added functionality to our data export to help verified administrators see which files and conversations are accessible to external users.
Note that you can't add external members to already-existing Yammer groups. You've got to launch a new group and add people from there.