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Getting it done with social: Yammer introduces new features, expands to all Office 365 enterprise customers

Today we’re celebrating Get It Done Day–and highlighting just how much you can get done wherever you are. It’s amazing to think about what’s changed over the last few years.

Last fall at the SharePoint Conference I wrote about one of the technologies that is helping to make all this change possible in a post entitled Putting Social to Work. As we continue to hammer away at our vision to integrate social into the tools people use every day, I’m pleased to take this opportunity to announce another product availability milestone and some important feature updates. 

Yammer enterprise with Office 365 and external networks

Last March we announced the inclusion of Yammer Enterprise in the Office 365 Enterprise Plans for Enterprise Agreement customers. Today, I’m excited to announce that we’ve expanded that program and now include Yammer Enterprise with all Office 365 Enterprise plans. As part of this update, all existing Office 365 Enterprise plan customers will receive licenses for Yammer Enterprise (see Yammer Plans & Pricing for additional information).

In addition, we’re also updating the way we license external users. We believe that people work better when they can collaborate with business contacts both inside and outside their company. Prior to the acquisition, Yammer enabled external collaboration with dedicated online workspaces called External Networks. Starting today, Office 365 Enterprise customers are no longer required to purchase Yammer Enterprise licenses for external users within their external networks. This simple licensing change significantly reduces the friction in cross-org collaboration and will enable end users to work with customers and partners without having to worry about additional costs.

Yammer and Office 365 roadmap

But we’re not just making changes to packaging and licensing. We continue to innovate in the product, and over the last few months we’ve delivered a number of important innovations. Here are some updates we’ve released over the last few weeks:

  • Email Interoperability: Because we know enterprise social adoption often takes time, we’ve invested in greater email interoperability so users can collaborate via Yammer and email together without having to leave their preferred communication channel. Email users can now participate in Yammer group discussions via email without having to set up a Yammer account.
  • Mobile Apps: Get It Done Day is about getting work done anywhere, and to make that easier than ever we’ve continued to improve Yammer’s mobile apps to offer a richer user experience. The updated Windows 8 app and upcoming Windows Phone app now feature improved live tiles, toast notifications and inbox functionality. We will soon be releasing a completely redesigned iPad app to let users easily sort through their Inbox and unread messages.
  • Document conversation: Social is most effective when it’s woven into the apps people use every day. Now users can start a Yammer conversation for any document that is stored in a SharePoint Online document library or SkyDrive Pro web client. This enhancement makes it easier for users to collaborate, as well as improves the discoverability of the document by others.
  • Messaging: We are making it easier for users to communicate in real-time with an improved messaging experience on Yammer. New enhancements include: typing indicators, real-time likes, the ability to easily add multiple coworkers to a conversation and more.

We’ve also been hard at work laying the foundation for deeper integration between Yammer and Office 365. Right now we’re focused on user mapping between Yammer and Office 365 (Office 365 users will be able to seamlessly access Yammer from their Office 365 navigation bar) and deepening connections across documents and conversations. Stay tuned for more to come on the Office 365 technology blog.

Now of course, getting social right is about more than just rolling out a new tool. While we’re proud of what we have to offer in Office 365, we also know change management plays an important role in driving the right business outcomes. And for that reason, we’ve invested in the Yammer Customer Engagement Partner Program.  We have an awesome team of Customer Success Managers here on staff, but we’re out to change the world–and recognize that we’ll need our partners to service the demand from hundreds of millions of people around the globe. So we’re sharing our best practices and helping the Microsoft partner community understand how to take customers on the social journey.

Enterprise social is powerful as a standalone solution. But when it’s combined with team sites, email, instant messaging, voice, and video, it’s a game changer. We’re thrilled to offer Yammer Enterprise to all our Office 365 Enterprise customers because social rounds out the capabilities of the suite, binds them together, and sets the stage for future innovation. With our teams in Redmond and San Francisco working together, we’re in a unique position to literally reshape the way people collaborate and communicate. Exciting times–and exciting milestones on our journey. Looking forward to seeing you at SharePoint Conference in March to share more!

–Jared Spataro