Microsoft today is announcing that its Yammer enterprise social network will now be turned on by default for all eligible commercial customers of Office 365 suite of services. Until this point, Office 365 administrators had to set up Yammer in order to allow employees to use the service.
Microsoft acquired Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012. Now it’s more integrated with the rest of Office 365 than ever before. “For those that have not activated Yammer but that have a free network associated with their domain, the free network will be upgraded to Yammer enterprise and integrated with their Office 365 tenant,” a Microsoft spokesperson explained in an email.
For end users, this degree of integration will allow people to open up Yammer from the Office 365 app launcher, or from SharePoint — and eventually from Delve and Skype Broadcast as well, Microsoft Office corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer wrote in a blog post. And later on in the first half of 2016, Microsoft will integrate Yammer with Office 365 Groups, which will make it easy to go from Yammer to, say, OneDrive or the Outlook calendar.
Today’s tweaks represent an effort to more tightly integrate Yammer with the rest of Microsoft’s business-oriented software, especially cloud software. That’s important now that the trendy team communication application is Slack, making tools like Yammer, Convo, VMware’s Socialcast, and even Facebook at Work seem less desirable as a standalone tool. So Microsoft is being smart to make sure everyone can not only use Yammer, but use it in such a way that their other Microsoft tools play nicely with it.
But it isn’t only end users who matter for a company that deploys software — people need to maintain it all, too. To simplify matters for admins, Microsoft has brought user and license management and identity under the Office 365 banner now, too, Koenigsbauer wrote.