Microsoft Yammer: More Than Just A Communication Tool

Microsoft Yammer: More Than Just A Communication Tool

Microsoft Yammer: More Than Just A Communication Tool

By Ragnar Heil | February 27, 2018

New Yammer Group Types Foster Collaboration

Yammer is currently launching a new feature which helps to categorize new and existing Yammer Groups according to different usage scenarios like Inform & Discuss, Connect & Learn and Plan & Work. It is going to inspire and encourage customers not only to have water cooler conversations on Yammer, but also collaborate on projects and create a culture of sharing knowledge.

New Yammer Group Types

During my time at Microsoft, I was subscribed to more than 400 Yammer groups at a certain time (then I did some tidy up-work and went down to 150). Nevertheless, it was challenging to get an overview because the left navigation did not show all the groups, only the ones I interacted with the most. Today, when creating a new internal or external Yammer group, you can choose the category from the start, or set categories for existing groups.

Yammer group

The main benefit here is that all categorized groups are assigned to the right category which has a major positive impact on the left navigation. Hope you find this useful! Find more detail in the support article here.

Yammer categorized groups

As mentioned, Yammer is a place to work across departments, hierarchies, countries and other boundaries to collaborate and accomplish team objectives. Below, I included an example of how to use Yammer to create a Global Sales Group. You can customize this framework to meet your business needs.

Plan & Work: A Global Sales Business Case Example

Group Name: Global Sales

1. Purpose of the Group: The objective of this group is to bridge communication between the different sales departments, creating a “One Sales” spirit for the global enterprise by Working Out Loud.   
2. Out of Scope:  This is a public but internal collaboration group for the Global Sales team. For closed conversations, you might want to consider using Microsoft Teams. If you want to collaborate externally and your customers and partners are not using Office 365, then consider working with Outlook Groups. 
3. Activities and Deliverables:
    • ALL Sales topics will be discussed in this Yammer group; pillars include Opportunities, Sales Cycles, Demand Generation Activities, CRM Data using Yammer Connectors, Global Sales Support and Sales Training
    • Consistency is the main objective
      • All conversations about this project shall be included in this group.
      • Guide your colleagues to leverage Yammer for all of the below; i.e. if you receive an email, respond from email to Yammer group to ensure others understand we are trying to remain consistent with our communication plan
    • Examples of what type of information to be posted are:
      • Ask Questions to Sales colleagues
      • Reporting Issues and/or Reporting Solutions
      • Brainstorm or ad hoc topics
      • Weekly update by Core Team Members about Sales Blocker and Updates
      • “Yam Slam” Session Q&A documents by Group Leader
      • Weekly (minimum) check-in update, announcement, or praise post by Key Group members
      • Share Best Practices like: Tips and tricks that saved time and effort or recommendations for innovative solutions
4. Success Metrics:
  • Participation of x resources using Yammer to find: solutions, post questions, share best practices, and save time by using a central location for communication
  • Yammer Polls
  • Yammer’s Group analytics
  • New Yammer Counts, embedded in each posting
5. Key Roles and Responsibilities:

Group Sponsor:  

  • Works closely with the group leader to charter and champion the network, spend time coaching them if needed
  • Holds group leader and group members responsible for outlined activities, deliverables, and success metrics
  • Sets goals and related performance criteria for the network with the group leader
  • Fosters widespread interest and enthusiasm for knowledge sharing and group participation
  • Directs and presents the strategic input of the community to Sales and extended leadership, like Executives/Senior Management
  • Ensures group activities are recognized and rewarded

Group Leader:  

  • Monitors and facilitates group activity (e.g. conversations) and ensures members are participating at agreed upon outlined activities, deliverables, and success metrics
  • Partners with the group sponsor to ensure the group is meeting individual and business segment needs
  • Identifies areas for improvement (such as benchmarking)
  • Communicates group purpose, roles, and responsibilities to members
  • Provides a link between the strategies of the group and the strategies of the global integration team as needed
  • Collaborates with core members to continually refine the group purpose and activities
  • Develops relevant success measures for the group
  • Encourages group participation through regular alerts, content pushes, and rewards for participation

Core Team:

  • Serves a critical role in expanding the group community and encouraging participation; builds and acts as regional sponsors and engages local and regional members in knowledge-sharing activities
  • Actively participates in and steers group activities and conversations under the guidance of the group sponsor and leader
  • Provides a link between the strategies of the group and the strategies of the Global Sales team as needed
  • Engages as “local group coordinators” to get subject matter experts involved in knowledge-sharing activities as needed
  • Expands the number of members with expertise and aligns Subject Matter Experts to project challenges while encouraging them to keep active
  • Shares updates, knowledge, best practices, lessons learned, and praise in the Sales Yammer site
  • Leverages network relationships to get information and assistance to meet outlined metrics and timetable for a successful project
  • Provides input to the group leader and group core team on group improvements 

Thank You!

Thank you very much, Lillian Diaz, Social Collaboration Service Owner, from Lubrizol for providing a template of this Business Plan!

Next Steps

Are you missing Content and Documents in your new Global Sales Yammer Group? Are you using SharePoint on Premises (2007, 2010, 2013, 2016), OneDrive for Business, File Shares, Public Folders, Dropbox, Box or Google Drive? Just move them to SharePoint Document Libraries within your new Yammer Groups using Essentials for Office 365.

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Ragnar Heil

Ragnar Heil works at Metalogix in Germany, covering EMEA as Metalogix Alliance Manager. Before joining Metalogix, he spent the last 10 years at Microsoft Corp. in different roles like Partner Channel Lead for Office 365 E5, Customer Success Management Lead or Business Productivity Senior Consultant, focused on Office 365, SharePoint and FAST Search. He has studied Educational Science and Sociology in Heidelberg, Germany (M.A.), and is member of the Senate at the Professional Association of German Sociologists. He is founding member of Working Out Loud Community and Responsive Organisation Movement in Germany.


Written By: Ragnar Heil