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Microsoft's Yammer collaboration tool gets major redesign

Despite all the attention Microsoft Teams receives these days, Yammer is poised to play a key role in collaboration for enterprise customers.

Orlando, Fla. – As Microsoft kicks off its annual Microsoft Ignite conference with more than 25,000 IT professionals in attendance, we are learning that one of its key collaboration platforms is getting refreshed. Microsoft's Yammer is one of those tools that could easily be replaced by the functionality in Microsoft Teams, but the software giant is making a significant investment in Yammer to keep it as a key resource for enterprise customers.

The redesign of Microsoft's Yammer is part of a greater company-wide push to more effectively integrate collaborative tools; in this case helping Yammer users move their company conversations across Microsoft Teams, Outlook and SharePoint. The first major change with Yammer is that the app has been rebuilt from the ground up using Microsoft’s Fluent Design System. This means end users will experience Microsoft's Yammer using the same UI across desktop, web and mobile devices. The mobile apps will be available on both Android and iOS.

Another place that the experience will be familiar is within Microsoft Teams. This past March, Microsoft announced the ability to add a Yammer tab into a team channel, enabling easy access to company-wide conversations right within the single pane of glass that is Microsoft Teams.

Organizational management will have centralized control of compliance relating to data governance through e-Discovery. Administration is also now available through the Microsoft 365 admin center. Of course, all of that data in Yammer discussions will also fall under Microsoft 365’s enterprise-level data privacy and security.

A Microsoft user-facing product overhaul would not be complete without some artificial intelligence and Yammer is not missing on that mark either. Machine learning will power a feed that will be personalized for each user to make sure conversations deemed relevant or important are in their field of view. In addition, the new Yammer can now brand conversation pages with unique logos and cover photos, and users can pin important conversations to the top of any Yammer page. Users can also close conversations to further comment once they have run their course.

The rebuilt Yammer also includes the ability to do live broadcasts and other on-demand events from mobile devices or desktop webcams to simplify the production of these key communications channels.

The key takeaway here is that Microsoft's Yammer is not only being rebuilt for an overall better user experience, but its data and conversations are being made more discoverable within the Microsoft Graph. Data is a valuable commodity whether it's inside or outside of your company firewall.

Microsoft Teams continues to be the central repository for much of the collaboration available within Office 365 for enterprise customers. This is a calculated move by Microsoft to create a single pane of glass for end users to get all their key work-related information and awareness. But Microsoft's Yammer’s focus as a dedicated conversational feed for cross-organization information amplifies the service’s role for dedicated community conversations.

Microsoft says that select Office 365 customers will gain access to the new Yammer in a private preview that is expected in December 2019. Full general availability for all customers will occur in 2020.

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