Our Yammer statistics and how to use it for comments on intranet pages
Yammer is something special. In all my years in the “Microsoft ecosystem bubble” it feels like it is the one piece of software that rather divides then units the community. It all started when Microsoft bought Yammer in June 2012. On this day I was at a SharePoint conference in Vienna and I have a good memory of the talking that started there. If believing in coincidences is the way you think the world works, no problem, but if you have a basic understanding of economics and the idea of tax paying, one might see a system in Microsoft buying other companies in June as it is the last month in their given fiscal year.
That day in June 2012 I did exactly what Yammer wanted you to do. Create a network without asking someone in IT. Of course our company back then was only about 25 people in size, but nevertheless the journey started here. To get you up to speed have a look at the statistics of our last 28 days.
86,519 messages in four and a half years with our limited user count isn’t that bad.
On the other side have a look on how we use groups in Yammer:
We ended up creating a group for every customer, project and internal topic of interest. Basically we got rid of internal emails years ago. We don’t stick to a “you are not allowed to” policy, because of course there are use cases where it’s better to shoot somebody a mail. But if you ask anyone around roughly 90% of the internal stuff is communicated in Yammer.
Yammer is far from perfect, don’t get me wrong. We would love to have a better search experience for example. Moving Yammer into O365 was a massive step, something it looks like Microsoft under estimated in 2012, but still integration of AD groups for example is something we would look forward to. Another missing feature is editing your posts, I know it’s coming, but you have the feeling that four and a half years is a very long time range for such basic features.
A couple of weeks ago Microsoft announced Teams. As soon as I saw it I already imagined the “is yammer dead” questions. My point of view is different here. I can think of moving some of our groups to Teams. Maybe even most of them, but definitely not all. So today I think we will still use Yammer even after starting with teams, but this could be a total different story in your environment.
As Microsoft still lacks some basic features in terms of integrating Yammer in SharePoint we ended up adding our own way. We started some ground work in terms of how to comment on a SharePoint news page within yammer. Let’s start with a basic page layout for an article page.
That’s just a test page in your dev tenant, but you can see a grey Yammer logo on the bottom right of the page. It’s greyed out because I opened the page in Firefox and I’m not logged in yet. If I open Yammer in other browser tab, I’m authorized and the page changes to this:
Of course you can already think of what this is about. We ended up using the graph API to create a graph object for this aspx page in Yammer. This enables us to load comments the same way Microsoft does on the delve board for example.
As a user you have three options to add a comment here. First you can just start replying on a given comment right where it says “write a reply”. To start a new comment just start typing in the top box next to your user image. But what if you want to post your comment to a different group? Or what about using an announcement to notify a bunch a people even on their mobile? The third option is right behind the now blue Yammer logo and after clicking on it your screen looks like this:
Sorry for the German here, but I think you get the idea anyway. The first dropdown allows you to choose the group you want to post to.
The dropdown also has the information if a given group is a private group or if you as a user are in an admin role and can post an announcement to it.
After the group selection you just add a teaser and some text and click on publish. The fly out will post your comment to the given group as a graph object by using a defined yammer app for the API access. The post in yammer will include the link to your page and uses the url of it as the main key to the entry.
Here the result of the entry on our article page:
And the yammer part:
As a news author you can use this feature for pushing out a notification of your intranet article to all users of a given yammer app even on their mobile. A feature we think a modern intranet should be capable of.
In terms of implementing this feature full credit goes to Stephan Schreiber who spent some days and nights with the graph API and the way Yammer uses authentication to make this possible.