I’ve been talking to corporate communications teams more often recently, and the bag of new (and not so new) tools that we throw at them these days has created some more “which tool when” confusion. I’ve found the following explanation goes over a treat, so thought I’d share broadly.
The tools I’m talking about are:
- Viva Connections. The new app that brings your corporate “front door” (your intranet) to the front and center in the place where your staff are probably spending most of their time now: Microsoft Teams.
- Company Communicator. A piece of open-source code that’s all the rage with Microsoft Teams-adopted large organisations. Sends chat announcements to large audiences. Customers like Ernst & Young and NHS England are using it to send direct messages outside of email to 100,000’s of people every month.
- Yammer. Is 14 years old. Take that in for a minute. What’s the role for Yammer in all this? I thought it was about “broad comms”?
The simplest way to think about this is to remember what we do outside of work. We hear about something first in a direct message: a chat from a friend, a newsletter, a social media post. Usually, there’s a link to learn more on a blog post or news article somewhere. Finally, we share and discuss the details on a social network. The Office 365 ecosystem is not very different.
You hear about The News first in Company Communicator. Teams is where we’re living, some of us now more than in email. It’s nice to get all my broad comms in one chat stream so I always know where to go in Teams to get the latest important broadcasts. They’re also not filling up my already too-full inbox.
That message can include two links, the first of which is an invite to “Learn More.” This takes me to a SharePoint Online page on the intranet with all the relevant details, video content, links to related news, and more. It’s the same page I can probably see promoted on the home page of Viva Connections if I’ve gone there first instead.
The other link is “Talk about it.” This leads me to a social network post on Yammer, started by the comms team just before sending out the Company Communicator announcement. There, I can discuss the details I’ve read, ask follow up questions, and upvote other’s ideas on the topic.
The comms team can get analytics on how many viewers have seen the original announcement in Company Communicator, how many views of the SharePoint post, and how many views, likes, and comments on the Yammer post. This data can help them adjust their delivery and or emphasis on each channel.
(The Discussion about it)
(The announcement that links to the other two…)
|Key Use Cases||Organization-wide, departmental, team, and community news items |
Not usually time-sensitive
|Organization-wide, departmental, team, and community discussion |
Not usually time-sensitive
|Important messages for front-line workers|
Often time sensitive
Immediate action buttons
|Notifications||Email digest, News feed in SharePoint global bar and app||Email digest, Yammer, and/or Teams app||Personal chat|
|Targeting||Audiences can be targeted using Azure AD Groups||Generally open to all, but members of community notified if posted as an announcement||Can be sent to everyone or to members of selected Azure AD groups|
|Scheduling||Can be scheduled in UI||UI for scheduling coming soon. For now, use Power Automate.||Available in one branch of this code project|
|Analytics||Basic reporting available to site admins in UI|
Additional reports in Power BI for tenant admins
Partner offerings for depth
|Yammer Community Insights and Thread Insights||Available with the branch mentioned above|
|Support||Part of your Office 365 support agreement||Part of your Office 365 support agreement||Community-supported (open source)|
|Cost||Included in all Office 365 plans||Included in all Office 365 plans||Free code: Azure costs start at $75/mo|