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Microsoft Adds Another Reason for Organizations to Choose Office 365 – Document Conversations

Microsoft acquired Yammer in June, 2012. But to date, Yammer appears to have exclusively appealed to organizations with a deep commitment to nurturing collaboration. Some organizations fit this model, while others clearly do not. One can argue this ‘on off’ characteristic of consumer appetite for Yammer presents both a challenge, and an opportunity for Microsoft to broaden Yammer’s appeal, and, thereby, help more organizations embrace cloud and Office 365. After all, Yammer is only available in the cloud. There is no better way to implement Yammer in lieu of SharePoint’s native newsfeed than to subscribe to Office 365.

On June 3, 2014, Christophe Fiessinger, a “group product manager on the enterprise social team” at Microsoft® published a post on the Office blog titled Yammer brings conversations to your OneDrive and SharePoint Online files.

So what are “Document Conversations”? Or, better yet, what does this have to do with SharePoint Online and Yammer? “Document Conversations” embed a “Yammer Conversation Pane” within an Office App, running in SharePoint Online, Office 365. So documents, or even components of documents like images (served from a picture library in SharePoint Online) can be transformed into collaboration drivers.

Microsoft appears to be placing a bet on more organizations warming up to social (and Yammer) when they can tangibly benefit from this “comments on steroids” feature. As Mr. Fiessinger’s post makes clear, and the very short promotional video included in the post illustrates, with the Yammer newsfeed running alongside a document in process, the task of collecting thoughts across a team, or even an entire organization becomes much easier. At the same time, the response time is much faster, etc.

“Document Conversations” is exclusively an Office 365 feature. Will it stimulate broader consumer appetite for Yammer and the rest of the social components of SharePoint Online? Only time will tell. At a minimum, it will likely provide more organizations with a reason to try a subscription to Office 365.

SharePoint-Videos offered an online course, earlier this year, on Social and SharePoint. We didn’t note strong interest from our community back then, in a social topic for a class, but perhaps now things have changed. If your organization is committed to using the social features of SharePoint 2013, or SharePoint Online and you would be interested in attending an online course on a related topic, please let us know.

Ira Michael Blonder

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