The right enterprise social networking platform can solve your organisation’s collaboration woes. But with so many tools available, how do you know which is best?

Our customers often ask us if they should use SharePoint Newsfeed or Yammer for enterprise social networking. Both are great social networking platforms for SharePoint users, but it’s important to understand how the two compare before making a decision.

To clear up some of the confusion, we asked two senior SharePoint consultants to explain which enterprise social networking tool they recommend, and why.

 

The case for Yammer – Peter Jamour

Microsoft says the future of enterprise social is Yammer, not SharePoint Newsfeed. At the end of last year, the technology giant quietly retired several SharePoint Online features, while also enhancing Yammer’s mobile, email and collaboration capabilities. It’s clear that Yammer is at the top of Microsoft’s priority list.

If you work for an organisation that prefers to follow Microsoft’s lead, Yammer is your best bet. But there are more reasons to choose Yammer over SharePoint Newsfeed than Microsoft saying it’s the way forward.

Smarter social and reporting features

In many instances, organisations can swap the SharePoint 2013 Newsfeed for Yammer and start integrating Yammer conversations into SharePoint team sites. Current SharePoint customers should consider this as Yammer’s social features are more advanced than what’s available in SharePoint.

For example, unlike SharePoint Yammer’s social newsfeed can follow users as they move between Microsoft products. A user can post an update to Yammer directly from Dynamics CRM or SharePoint, as well as via the Yammer platform.
Yammer’s applications are also better at driving engagement. Users can ‘give thanks’ to colleagues, create and participate in polls or ask a question to a group; activities that are difficult to manage if using SharePoint alone. Yammer’s reporting features also makes it easy to see who is sharing information and contributing to discussions.

Yammer is available as an app for Windows, Android and iOS devices.

Improved integration

Yammer and SharePoint’s integration is improving all the time, particularly for Office 365 users. Users can seamlessly move between Yammer conversations, Skype meetings, Outlook, OneDrive and Delve. From 2016, Yammer will also integrate with CRM and Microsoft Office.

Unless you have specific concerns about compliance or using cloud-based platforms, almost all organisations can benefit from using Yammer. This is particularly true for organisations considering an upgrade to SharePoint 2016.

 

The case for SharePoint Newsfeed – Travis Whitehouse

SharePoint Newsfeed summarises SharePoint social interactions. From micro blogs to community conversations, SharePoint Newsfeed puts social information at every user’s fingertips. Like Yammer, employees can use SharePoint Newsfeed to post news and information and collaborate with others.

If your organisation isn’t in the cloud or has data sovereignty requirements to be based in Australia, SharePoint Newsfeed should be your default enterprise social platform. Unlike Yammer, SharePoint Newsfeed works natively with any platform; Office 365, SharePoint Online and SharePoint on-premise and is based in Australia.

There is currently no direct path for migrating data from the native SharePoint Newsfeed to Yammer.  So organisations should consider sticking with SharePoint Newsfeed if they can’t afford to lose existing newsfeed data nor have the desire to retrain users in working with the new social tool.

For organisations that don’t fall into either of the above categories, here are my top reasons why SharePoint Newsfeed is worth considering.

Faster configuration

You can’t beat SharePoint Newsfeed for getting up and running quickly. SharePoint Newsfeed integrates with team sites out of the box, comparing with Yammer that requires either custom development to create a new Yammer Group and delete the SharePoint Newsfeed from a newly created team site or requiring users to embed code into their team sites.

Native functionality

As a native application, the newsfeed fully integrates with SharePoint. This means where it’s a team site, blog post or search results Newsfeed posts are there. My Site can show the users all conversations about items they follow like sites or documents or hashtags. Users even get a rollup view of with is happening inside the entire organisation. And because it’s native it is aware of the security permission and provides a user has.  Not need to setup a secondary security model.

Better integrated search results

Currently Yammer is searched separately from content in your SharePoint. When a user used an ‘Everywhere’ scope they want it to search everywhere and see the results all in one place and not have to perform a secondary Yammer search for the same term.

 Newsfeeds have apps too

SharePoint Newsfeed is also available as a Windows and iOS app. Users can navigate feeds and interact with conversations from SharePoint sites.

This is not to say they do not have any limitations. The major one is that although they will be present in SharePoint 2016 there will be no further development performed on them.  At this stage Microsoft is encouraging users to move to Yammer and that should be taken into account.

 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to choosing an enterprise social networking platform. Both Yammer and SharePoint Newsfeed have strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered before making a decision.

 

Professional Advantage can navigate the enterprise social networking market and help you choose a platform that suits your organisation’s needs. Contact us below.

You can read more about Professional Advantage and Office 365 here.

Read about Peter Jamhour here and about Travis Whitehouse here.

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