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What’s missing from the new Yammer?

The new version of Yammer is a massive improvement over the previous – full text and interactive emails, favouriting communities, the replacement of Yammer profiles with the Office 365 ones, and the hidden gem of closing posts to further comments have been met with universal acclaim. I’m not here to gush, however, so lets get down to brass tacks – what Yammer game-changers can you upvote to get done next?

Less is more

A fundamental concept in library collection management is that less is more. People will return to a shelf of 20 excellent books rather than have to browse through a stack of 200 middling-to-excellent books. Now that Yammer is well-established in enterprises, it needs to focus on this tenet, and work to enabling:

Post a conversation to multiple groups – Yammer communities are silos; people have to join a community to get notifications of new conversations, and ‘sharing’ a conversation to another community creates another conversation in another silo. Just like how we can tag people to a message, I’d like to be able to tag in up to two additional communities (I’d need to be a member of the community in order to add it). Conversations need to have a one-to-many relationship with communities.

Allow existing groups to be merged – one of the key drawbacks to an established Yammer network is the proliferation of communities which share the same knowledge domain. Without any barriers to the creation of communities, users often come to network admins asking to merge multiple communities into one. Currently, there is no easy way to accomplish this; and though important threads can now be ‘moved’ into another community, it pops up at the top as a new thread. Admins need a simple interface to merge communities, and keep the sprawl of them in check

Search Before You Post – Proactively prevent the creation of duplicate communities and questions by taking a leaf out of UserVoice’s book, and prompt authors with results from a quick keyword search on the proposed question or community title so they can check there are no duplicates before creating it.

Analytics

Much as Yammer has taken off within organisations as a whole, there are likely to be demographics which are missing out; communities that are potentially stalling; or users who are disengaging. Without access to the important underlying data and ways to dynamically visualise it, network and community admins will continue to struggle to address these issues.

Though SWOOP and TyGraph do a great job of this, for smaller organisations it can be an expensive sledgehammer to crack a nut. Two features for Yammer to work on would really help out here:

Allow admins to export a group members list – Finding which demographics are engaging with Yammer is critical to finding the ones that aren’t. Without being able to easily access a list of members, we can’t undertake the research needed to find out why those demographics aren’t engaging with the application

Allow group admins to monitor with Power BI – With the deprecation of Richard diZerega’s excellent Power BI reports from 2014, Yammer admins have struggled to provide effective, enterprise level analytics. Power BI is a world-class business intelligence solution provided by Microsoft, and it’s missing any connectors to Yammer. It’s eye-poppingly tragic this hasn’t been implemented, it would massively help both Yammer and Power BI to allow users to gather intelligence on enterprise social themselves. There are stacks of Yammer templates in PowerAutomate, why not Power BI?

Personalization

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference; notice how popular virtual backgrounds were in video conferencing apps? Yammer sucks at this; the only way to personalise the interface is to ‘favourite’ communities so they appear at the top of the left navigation. And though the discovery feed is personalised to me, it doesn’t feel like me personalising it. So, what to do? Yammer are thankfully building the ability to allow users to change order of communities; here’s a few more to suggestions to upvote:

Allow dark mode on Yammer desktop application – Doesn’t everyone work in IT these days anyhow? Being able to choose a Yammer theme can do wonders for adoption (a workaround for this is to enable dark mode in MS Teams, then consume Yammer via the Teams App).

Allow creation of custom feeds – much as the Yammer discovery algorithm is a useful default, it won’t meet every use case. People need control over this; so options for naming, sorting, and filtering a custom feed will be incredibly useful.

Enable personalization of the right homepage column – the right column on the homepage is blank under the policy block – make use of this by allowing people to add widgets like a bookmarks section, tag cloud, my recent posts/files, recent messages from topics/people I’m following, upcoming events (when that gets built), suggested Communities to join, and so on.

Improved Notifications Settings – Though the current settings provide some level of control, I often find I’m getting overloaded with them from some communities I’m a peripheral member of, miss important conversations from people or topics I’m following that get posted into other communities, and receive a weekly ‘These conversations could help you get up to speed this week’ highlighting the most liked messages in the cheezeburger-lol-catz community. Please fix it by enabling more control over notifications…

Authoring and consuming

This is where the big improvements to the new Yammer came through; it’s a relative delight compared to the legacy interface. And with the ability to enable inline images being worked on, there’s not much more to achieve to ‘change the game’. One thing users are increasingly asking for is the ability to view uploaded 360 photos, mind.

There’s no doubt things have come a long way; here’s a snapshot of Yammer back in 2010 for your nostalgic yearnings…

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