Today Microsoft has announced and unveiled a new platform for its Office 365 community hoping to capture loyal customers and plant seeds for its growing base of productivity subscription services.
The new community, called the Office 365 Network, sports a recognizable and easy to remember link: http://network.office.com/
For the past while, the Office 365 community has run on the Yammer platform. Yammer is Microsoft’s 2012 acquisition that has never quite seen the uptake the software company had hoped. Similar to Slack, Yammer can be an obtrusive IM-type technology, but in respect to the Office 365 community has served the group well. However, Yammer also limits who can participate and who has access to the valuable information contained in the closed network. And, according to Microsoft, this is the primary reason for the change. Microsoft wants to make participation available to a wider group and to better expose the shared information through search engines.
The Office 365 Network sports the following features, allowing participants to:
- Personalize their home page so it displays community discussions and other content related to topics you select.
- Earn badges based on activity in the community, which will be displayed on the profile page along with a summary of activity—including latest posts, likes given and received, people followed and community notifications.
- Search community content to uncover discussions, ideas and other information from across the Office 365 Network.
- View conversations as threaded conversations and hold private conversations with others using the community inbox.
Many have already begun lamenting the death of Yammer, long before today’s announcement, but Microsoft ensures that Yammer will still be around, but only as a communications method for MVPs and Product Teams, and any other conversations that require authenticated access.
Personally, I just hope this means we'll never hear the word "YamJam" again. <shudder>