Yammer is Microsoft’s Enterprise Social Network offering. It is used by over 200,000 companies worldwide to discuss ideas, share best practices, and crowdsource answers from coworkers around the globe. Yammer has led Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace for four years in a row.
Yammer is part of the Office 365 portfolio and has been integrated with SharePoint and the rest of Office 365 to some extent. The main integration areas are:
- Yammer has moved to Microsoft data centers and Microsoft invested in security and compliance to bring Yammer up to the Office 365 compliance commitment.
- Single sign-on is available between Office 365 and Yammer, and Yammer is being automatically activated for all Office 365 tenants with a business or education subscription.
- Yammer is used by default instead of the SharePoint social workload, with on-premise users redirected to Yammer via a link.
- Yammer is being integrated with groups, so creating an O365 group creates a yammer group as well as a team site and group mailbox.
- Yammer is the platform for discussion threads around documents
- Yammer participation provides signals for the Office Graph, for example frequent participation in a discussion group can influence the “working with” and “trending around” discovery elements
However, the integration of Yammer with SharePoint has been widely criticized. A 2016 RealStoryGroup report stated “Integration between Yammer and SharePoint remains light and amounts to little more than surfacing activity streams from Yammer in SharePoint sites and connecting specific Office 365 documents. Be prepared for Yammer usage to become a kind of siloed stream within your broader digital workplace. After initial connections are made, sometimes usage drops off as employees struggle to place the service within the regular flow of their daily work.”
In particular, the integration of Yammer with O365 does not include unified search. Content and comments from Yammer do not appear in search results or content-by-search web parts. The embedded search within Yammer has also remained weak. That’s why BA Insight decided to build our Yammer Connector for SharePoint.
The BA Insight Yammer Connector for SharePoint establishes a secure connection to the Yammer application and maps the content including metadata and attachments from the Yammer schema to the search engine schema. It then extracts content and feeds it to the search engine in a process called crawling.
There are two main types of crawls:
- Full crawls, which extract all desired content
- Incremental crawls, which extract only content which has changed since the last crawl
With the BA Insight Yammer Connector for SharePoint, the resulting index can be in SharePoint Server (on-prem or hosted), or in SharePoint Online. To feed the SharePoint Online index, BA Insight uses Microsoft’s Cloud SSA.
Our Yammer Connector for SharePoint addresses key requirements that are challenging to implement through custom solutions:
1Works with unstructured content as well as structured data. Documents, attachments, and notes with customer-configurable schema are typical.
2Indexes every desired item with a very high throughput. Many BA Insight customers have millions of documents or even hundreds of millions. Just 1 million documents indexed at 1 document/second would take over 11 days for a full crawl!
3Is light touch, minimizing the impact on the source system without impacting the performance of the source system.
4Only surfaces the content that users are permitted to see.
5The source system retains the master information and the search index has only a representation (pointers). Users expect to click on a search result and be working on the original item or document.
Future-proof your investment for new SharePoint versions and O365
Microsoft is continually updating Yammer and Office 365, as well as providing ongoing versions of SharePoint Server and monthly updates. BA Insight does the hard work of keeping the connector up to date for Yammer, Office 365, and SharePoint Server. We support current versions of SharePoint including 2010, 2013, 2016, and Office365.
Upgrades of BA Insight software can be done by your IT organization. It is a matter of accessing the BA Insight customer portal, downloading the latest release and installing and configuring it. Or, if desired, our professional services team can handle the upgrades.
Drive end-user engagement
By connecting Yammer to SharePoint, you increase adoption, improving organizational efficiency and productivity.