Advancing the enterprise social roadmap

Today’s post comes from Jared Spataro, Senior Director, Microsoft Office Division. Jared leads the SharePoint business, and he works closely with Adam Pisoni and David Sacks on Yammer integration.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Yammer acquisition, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on where we’ve come from and talk about where we’re going. My last post focused on product integration, but this time I want to zoom out and look at the big picture. It has been a busy year, and it’s exciting to see how our vision of “connected experiences” is taking shape.

Yammer momentum

First off, it’s worth noting that Yammer has continued to grow rapidly over the last 12 months–and that’s not something you see every day. Big acquisitions generally slow things down, but in this case we’ve actually seen the opposite. David Sacks provided his perspective in a post on the Microsoft blog, but a few of the high-level numbers bear repeating: over the last year, registered users have increased 55% to almost 8 million, user activity has roughly doubled, and paid networks are up over 200%. All in all, those are pretty impressive stats, and I’m proud of the team and the way the things have gone post-acquisition.

Product innovation

Second, we’ve continued to innovate, testing and iterating our way to product enhancements that are helping people get more done. Over the last year we’ve shipped new features in the standalone service once a week, including:

  • Message translation. Real-time message translation based on Microsoft Translator. We support translation to 23 languages and can detect and translate from 37 languages.
  • Inbox. A consolidated view of Yammer messages across conversations you’re following and threads that are most important to you.
  • File collaboration. Enhancements to the file directory for easy access to recent, followed, and group files- including support for multi-file drag and drop.
  • Mobile app enhancements. Continual improvements for our mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.
  • Enterprise graph. A dynamically generated map of employees, content and business data based on the Open Graph standard. Using Open Graph, customers can push messages from line of business systems to the Yammer ticker.
  • Platform enhancements. Embeddable feeds, likes, and follow buttons for integrating Yammer with line of business systems.

In addition to innovation in the standalone product, we’ve also been hard at work on product integration. In my last roadmap update, I highlighted our work with Dynamics CRM and described three phases of broad Office integration: “basic integration, deeper connections, and connected experiences.” Earlier this month, we delivered the first component of “basic integration” by shipping an Office 365 update that lets customers make Yammer the default social network. This summer, we’ll ship a Yammer app in the SharePoint store and publish guidance for integrating Yammer with an on-prem SharePoint 2013 deployment, and this fall we’ll release Office 365 single sign-on, profile picture synchronization, and user experience enhancements.


Finally, even though we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last twelve months, we recognize that we’re really just getting started.  “Connected experiences” is our shorthand for saying that social should be an integrated part of the way everyone works together, and over the next year we’ll be introducing innovations designed to make Yammer a mainstream communication tool.  Because of the way we develop Yammer, even we don’t know exactly what that will look like. But what we can tell you is that we have an initial set of features we’re working on today, and we’ll test and iterate our way to enhancements that will make working with others easier than ever before. This approach to product roadmap is fairly new for enterprise software, but we’re convinced it’s the only way to lead out in space that is as dynamic and fast-paced as enterprise social. To give you a sense for where we’re headed, here are a few of the projects currently under development over the next 6-8 months:

  • SharePoint search integration. We’re enabling SharePoint search to search Yammer conversations and setting the stage for deeper, more powerful apps that combine social and search.
  • Yammer groups in SharePoint sites. The Yammer app in the SharePoint store will allow you to manually replace a SharePoint site feed with a Yammer group feed, but we recognize that many customers will want to do this programmatically. We’re working on settings that will make Yammer feeds the default for all SharePoint sites. (See below for a mock-up of a Yammer group feed surfaced as an out-of-the-box component of a SharePoint team site.)
  • Yammer messaging enhancements. We’re redesigning the Yammer user experience to make it easier to use as a primary communication tool. We’ll also be improving directed messaging and adding the ability to message multiple groups at once.
  • Email interoperability. We’re making it easier than ever to use Yammer and email together. You’ll be able to follow an entire thread via email, respond to Yammer messages from email, and participate in conversations across Yammer and email.
  • External communication. Yammer works great inside an organization, but today you have to create an external network to collaborate with people outside your domain. We’re improving the messaging infrastructure so that you can easily include external parties in Yammer conversations.
  • Mobile apps. We’ll continue to invest in our iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 8, and Windows 8 apps as primary access points. The mobile apps are already a great way to use Yammer on the go, and we’ll continue to improve the user experience as we add new features to the service.
  • Localization. We’re localizing the Yammer interface into new languages to meet growing demand across the world.

It will take some time, and we’ll learn a lot as we go, but every new feature will help define the future–one iteration at a time.

When I take a moment to look at how much has happened over the last year, I’m really proud of the team and all they’ve accomplished. An acquisition can be a big distraction for both sides, but the teams in San Francisco and Redmond have come together and delivered. And as you can see from the list of projects in flight, we’re definitely not resting on our laurels. We’re determined to lead the way forward with rapid innovation, quick-turn iterations, and connected experiences that combine the best of Yammer with the familiar tools of Office. It’s an exciting time, and we hope you’ll join us in our journey.

–Jared Spataro

P.S. As you may have seen, we’ll be hosting the next SharePoint Conference March 3rd through the 6th in Las Vegas. I’m really looking forward to getting the community back together again and hope that you’ll join us there for more details on how we’re delivering on our vision of transforming the way people work together. Look forward to seeing you there!