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Exploring Microsoft SharePoint 2013: Social Computing

Yammer integration

Yammer’s strength has traditionally been in stand-alone, cloud-based, social networking. Now, with its acquisition by Microsoft, Yammer can be used for stand-alone social computing as well as an aggregator of all social communications a user might have in an organization, such as integrating feeds of external cloud-based activity along with information from existing business application (for example, ERP and CRM).

Currently, there is a kind of a convergence of social computing between SharePoint 2013 and Yammer. However, full integration of the two products is not there at the moment. Therefore, there are similar social offerings within both products. For example, both SharePoint Server 2013 and Yammer have microblogging, and both allow you to follow objects, such as documents.

You can integrate Yammer with SharePoint’s enterprise collaboration capabilities by using Yammer Web Parts. With these Web Parts, users can add a Yammer feed to a SharePoint page, view and move between Yammer feeds, and post messages and links.

In the future, you should expect to see deep integration of Yammer into SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics, and other Microsoft products such as Office 365 and Skype; especially as Yammer announced at the SharePoint Conference 2012 that it is adopting the open graph protocol that was used in Facebook. Using this protocol, developers can create relationships between objects that the new Yammer Web Parts use. Notifications of activities that occur in SharePoint, such as uploading a document, will be able to be sent into Yammer. Similarly, links to files attached to Yammer posts will be provided as a link in SharePoint; however, much of the movement of data between Yammer and SharePoint is manual at the moment.

Going forward, it appears that both Yammer and SharePoint are going to be separate products; Yammer will still be cloud-based and aimed at organizations, where each organization has its own home Yammer network using its own email address. There is also now the ability to join organization network with external networks. At the same time, Yammer has been putting a special effort on simplifying the way its software can be made into components and meshed with third-party business applications.

The Yammer’s Business edition is to be eliminated and the price for the Enterprise edition will be reduced from $15 to $3 per user, per month. In addition, Microsoft will bundle Yammer Enterprise with SharePoint Online, the cloud-hosted version of the product, which can be bought on a stand-alone basis or as part of the broader Office 365 suite.