[As a heads-up, I’ve posted a long update to this original post after a week of dialog: Office 365 Network: What We Have Here is A Failure to Communicate Short version below 🙂 ]
As just announced in this Microsoft Office Blog, there’s a new experience for the Microsoft Office Community available at http://network.office.com (love the easy to remember URL!).
It’s in Public Preview so expect a few bugs and the opportunity to give feedback on the experience which will continue to be iterated.
You’ll be able to access the content of the network from anywhere, without logging in. You should join the community though in order to participate, you can use your Microsoft Account or your work Office 365 account – great instructions are here.
This community is NOT FOR SUPPORT. This community is for peer to peer connections with similar folks to you and the Microsoft product teams, advice on how to use the products and services and learning from experts. Support tickets can and should be opened from the Office 365 admin console.
There are some great new features as part of the community to engage folks. You’ll be able to earn badges for participating, even by simple social gestures such as just liking posts, and you can personalize your home page.
Editing to add: Another reason I’m excited to see this change, is that it signals Microsoft’s commitment to massive open community. If you’ve been a part of the SharePoint community for many years, you’ll recognize the enormous shift that is happening right now from ignoring the community to embracing it. I believe the success of the Yammer acquisition was not as much a technology win but instead a mindset win. But this is not happening just for SharePoint and Office 365 more broadly, it’s across the whole of Microsoft’s stack. I believe this is due to Satya’s leadership on openness, willingness to work with partners that were previously competitors, in order to serve customer choice. But even seeing folks like CVP SharePoint and OneDrive, Jeff Teper, answering questions live and authentically from real users at Office 365 community events on Saturdays, is incredibly demonstrative of the power of customer led innovation and willingness to dialog.
Why Yammer Isn’t Being Used
I’ve been a huge and passionate advocate for using Yammer for many years. I’m an even bigger advocate for Office 365. I’ve developed even more advocates for the service and deployed it successfully for some of the world’s largest companies (at least a million users at this point). My company has a leading app for adoption and engagement of the Yammer service. But I am supporting this change of platform for these reasons:
- The old Office 365 network was on Yammer. Despite the millions of people who use Office, less than 100,000 people were on that network. Orders of magnitude not enough people. Community must be inclusive, and so many people need to be part of it. It was hard to discover the community.
- You couldn’t discover the amazing conversations via Google, Bing or your preferred search engine. The best way to help people with their issues is to make the learnings of others before them available to them when they need it.
- You had to be a member in order to consume the content. As community managers know, most people consume content without saying anything. Making them jump through hoops to get to consumption is unproductive.
Does This Mean Yammer is Dead?
Every day, and I’m not exaggerating, every day someone asks me if Yammer is dead.
YAMMER IS NOT DEAD
YAMMER IS A SERVICE FOR MAKING TEAMS & COMPANY CENTRIC COMMUNITIES MORE PRODUCTIVE
AS PART OF OFFICE 365 GROUPS, YOU’LL SEE FREAKING AMAZING INTEGRATION
(yes it’s taken forever, yes it’s worth it)
JUST LIKE SHAREPOINT, IT IS NOT FOR PUBLC FACING
(and by that I mean random folks on the interwebs, not known, invited people that you want in your community)
MICROSOFT IS STILL USING YAMMER FOR THEIR INTERNAL CORPORATE NETWORK
(which, for the record, has more people in it than the old external facing O365 network)
I’m going to write a whole lot more on this topic.
It’s time for the second wave of evangelism in this area.
Enterprise collaboration networks like Yammer are not destinations, they are services to put conversation where you need to consume and interact with it to get your work done.
You can comment here, or go join network.office.com and we’ll talk about it.
Looks like the community is a 3rd party community vendor not built by MSFT. http://builtwith.com/?https%3a%2f%2fnetwork.office.com%2f
Yes, Lithium is the new platform that the team chose as a public facing community, I believe they evaluated a few platforms. Microsoft doesn’t make a public facing (anon accessible)technology as far as I know for community forums.
Naomi….Thank you for taking the time to write this. It helps me understand this shift a little better.
I thought you may want to edit one section though….
“But even seeing folks like CVP SharePoint and OneDrive, Jeff Teper, answering questions live and authentically from real users at Office 365 community events on Saturdays, is incredibly demonstration of the power of customer led innovation and willingness to dialog.” It appears you meant “…is an incredible….” in lieu of “…is incredibly demonstration…”
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Thanks so much Dennis! I appreciate it – as I mentioned in my subsequent longer post, I am the typo queen 🙂 I need to a proof reader who works all hours of the night and day!
Thanks Naomi for framing what this move is about. Now migrating from Yammer to Lithium there are differences and I wonder what influence we now have to improve the new system given its driven by a third party?. What comes to mind is the reduced visibility of groups on a working page and the lower density of content forcing more scrolling. I will continue to learn the new solution and give it a chance to succeed, I just hope the community gets to feed back and be listened to.