Yammer vs Teams: What you need to know

Image of turquoise background with illustrated teams and yammer icons Image of turquoise background with illustrated teams and yammer icons

Using Yammer in Teams will soon be easier than ever, with updates announced around Yammer and Teams integration. We asked Microsoft MVP Luise Freese (@LuiseFreese) about Yammer vs Teams, the benefits of Yammer, and the future of Yammer's coexistence with Teams.

Microsoft Teams has been hailed as the holy grail of collaboration, replacing back-and-forth emails with a chat option, and allowing for file storage and app integration. In the past few years, as Teams has grown in popularity, Yammer has taken a bit of a back seat.

But at this year’s Ignite conference, Microsoft launched Yammer into the spotlight, revealing an updated version outfitted with some exciting new features and improved integrations with SharePoint, Outlook, and Teams.

After years of using both tools within ShareGate, we came to understand the true power of this dynamic duo while developing our Teams management tool. When synced, Yammer and Microsoft Teams can help ease collaboration across the entire Office 365 platform, simplify workflow, and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

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What is Yammer?

Yammer is Microsoft’s platform for enterprise social networking that comes with your Office 365 subscription. Designed as an internal communications tool, it promises to keep engagement high and conversation flowing.

Originally created as an internal communication system for geneology website Geni, Yammer was launched as a standalone product in 2008 before being acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for a cool $1.2 billion.

"As part of Office 365, Yammer integrates with SharePoint, Teams, and Outlook—allowing you to take action without having to toggle through apps," says Luise Freese, Microsoft MVP.

When it originally appeared on the scene, the hype was real, and they managed to snag some big-name clients. But with so many other options across the Office 365 platform that offer many of the same features, Yammer has remained the underdog of the Office 365 family.

You can think of Yammer like Facebook—but with your boss at the top of your friends list. Instead of questionable photos from decades past, there are more tools for collaborating with others in your company.

Yammer vs Teams

If Yammer is Microsoft’s version of Facebook for businesses, then Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s answer to Slack.

That's because at its heart, Teams is a group chat. Outfitted with tabs to other Office 365 tools, it lets users share information from Wiki, SharePoint, or Outlook without having to switch tools. All of the necessary information can be contained within Teams.

So why use Yammer?

Good question. It may seem like Microsoft has overloaded users with so many options to communicate that they are tripping themselves up in the process.

A simple way to look at it is this: Yammer works best with a broad audience. With the ability to host conversations with more than 80,000 members, it is the star of company-wide communication and general announcements.

There is clearly no OR between Teams and Yammer – they are both part of Office 365 and we go for a #bettertogether story.

@LuiseFreese Tweet this

"Yammer is the perfect tool to share knowledge, connect and have company-wide communications in order to enrich employee experience in communities," says Freese. "Yammer functions as our cafeteria."

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Teams maxes out conversations at 5,000 members, and is meant to keep the conversation flowing between people divided into groups based on a specific topic of interest.

"Teams is the best place to get your day-to-day work done. You can collaborate with colleagues directly on documents and have conversations within a project-based team. Teams functions as our conference room."

Teams may be the better collaborative tool, while Yammer is useful to make general announcements and ask questions across a wider audience.

"There is clearly no OR between Teams and Yammer – they are both part of Office 365 and we go for a #bettertogether story."


Benefits of Yammer

Since acquiring Yammer, Microsoft has continued to reposition the tool in an attempt to figure out how it can serve businesses most effectively. With this latest update, they are striving to give people more of what they want. Oh, and it looks pretty good, too.

New or improved benefits of Yammer thanks to the latest update include:

  • Community building: The groups feature has been replaced with communities where employees can join in on the conversations that interest them, share files, and even live-stream events. Keep tabs on what co-workers are up to, receive updates, and follow projects as they progress in real time.
  • Open communication: The new and improved publisher tool expands the reach of messages by delivering a notification to all community members. There are added options for sharing different types of media including gifs, videos, and file attachments, so it’s an ideal way to broadcast announcements, new initiatives, and to reinforce the company culture.
  • Engagement: A new event discovery page has been added to each community so that members can see what’s new, what’s being talked about, and stay informed about upcoming events.
  • Knowledge sharing: Yammer’s newer, smarter discovery feed puts an end to mindless scrolling. Its built-in question and answer features make it easier than ever to get in touch with industry experts and get the answers you need when you need them.

The latest version of this tool is meant to deliver a seamless user experience, integrating with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Outlook.

When synced with Microsoft Teams, which remains the reigning hub of teamwork, Yammer makes it easier than ever to keep the conversation flowing, share files, and live-stream events, all while eliminating unnecessary toggling between apps.

Yammer and Teams integration

In order to unlock all of the collaborative capabilities of Office 365, you need to know how Yammer and Teams work together.

The first step is to add a Yammer page to a channel on Teams. Here's how:

1. Open Teams, navigate to the team channel you want to add a Yammer page to, and click the + on the tab bar.

Click the + on the tab bar in Teams.

2. Add a tab for Yammer by selecting it from the menu (or typing "Yammer" into the search bar) and clicking Add.

Search for Yammer, then click Add.

3. Once the installation is complete, configure the app by choosing a content type:

  • Yammer Group: gives you access to messages sent by any group member
  • Yammer Topic: sorts messages according to topic by use of a specific hashtag
Select a content type.

4. Check the box next to Post to the channel about this tab if you want to let everyone in the channel know about your new Yammer tab. Then click Save.

Each Yammer tab corresponds to one group or topic. Add more tabs to participate in multiple conversations at once.

Once you’re all set up, click Share to Channel to share a Yammer conversation in your Teams channel main conversation feed.

Share post to Teams channel.

The future of Yammer

After many years in virtual limbo, it would seem that Yammer is finally finding its identity within the Office 365 family.

As the new Yammer comes with big changes—integration into Office 365 and a complete UI refresh—Microsoft clearly wants to celebrate this as the #YearOfYammer.

@LuiseFreese Tweet this

It’s becoming more important than ever for businesses to harvest the knowledge within their workforce. Company-wide engagement and participation are crucial steps toward this goal, and Yammer might be just the tool for the job. Its familiar interface eliminates the need for user training and allows businesses to hit the ground running.

"Customers have been waiting a long time for the improvements that have been announced for 2020," says Freese. "As the new Yammer comes with big changes—integration into Office 365 and a complete UI refresh—Microsoft clearly wants to celebrate this as the #YearOfYammer."

Combined with the power of Microsoft Teams, there are some exciting developments taking place across the entire Office 365 suite.

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