The Office 365 team today announced yet another new feature, that more closely integrates SharePoint Online and Yammer. In the Office 365 technology blog, senior product manager Christophe Fiessinger announced that Office 365 users can start conversations about documents directly from SharePoint document libraries—including users’ own SkyDrive Pro libraries—and those conversations will be hosted in Yammer.
A user can start a conversation about a document by clicking POST—a new command visible in the document callout—and can specify the group in which to start the conversation. Posts to the conversation can include @ mentions and # hashtags.
Further details about the experience and technology are found in Christophe’s blog.
This new option for discussing a document is designed to replace the need to “follow” documents. More importantly, it’s designed to stop users from forwarding documents via email.
This latter practice (collaborate-by-email) is poison for information management and business process management, because as soon as documents are in users’ inboxes, it becomes difficult to monitor and control workflow, distribution of information, and versions.
We’re well into the 21stcentury, folks, and we should all realize by now that effective collaboration relies more heavily on behaviorthan technology. If I were concerned about information management in an organization, throttling the use of email attachments as collaboration would be very high on my priority list. It can’t necessarily be turned off completely, but a journey to that result should be envisioned.
This tighter integration of SharePoint documents with Yammer bodes well for that journey. The technologies are there for 80%+ of our scenarios. It’s up to us to start driving behavioral change, or to accept the risk that “old school” ways expose.