Yammer: End of an Era, Start of a New One

Viva Engage screenshot

Anyone that knows me will understand why this is a tough post for me to write. I’ve been a die-hard Yammer fan since 2012. Microsoft announced today that the Yammer brand is being retired as the product evolves to become part of the Viva employee experience suite. I’ve assumed this day was coming for the last year-plus, and thought when it arrived, I’d go into some kind of mourning 😂

As it turns out, I’m really excited by this for two main reasons:

  1. It shows Microsoft’s long-term commitment to the platform.
  2. It paves the way for a revenue stream specifically for Yammer Viva Engage that will fund the innovations we’ve been hoping for since 2012.
Viva Engage, Leadership Corner
Leadership Corner

First off, at a basic (non-Premium) level, just bringing Viva Engage into Teams as an app has had a much bigger impact on my use than I’d predicted. Getting notifications mixed in with my Teams notifications isn’t the annoyance I thought it would be and it really does send me back into the network more often during the day than I ever have.

The Premium features, especially AMAs and Advanced Analytics, are capabilities that I’ve been asking for since 2012. Now that they’re here, they’ve gone above and beyond my expectations for a v1, so I’ll be keen to watch the roadmap for where it’s going.

Ask Me Anything screenshot
Ask Me Anything (AMA)

Leadership Corner promises to be a game-changer in the platform’s relevance for executives and other leaders that want to form stronger connections to their entire staff. It’s been HARD to build an audience on Yammer. Viva Engage’s features will allow a chief of staff to define an audience, know definitively that they’re being reached, and the quality of their response. We’ve already seen some amazing results with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella using this internally.

Viva Answers also looks fantastic, and while I wish it didn’t rely on Viva Topics for users to start getting the benefit, I understand that direction and it will pay off in the long run.

While I understand that customers will wish all the branding would flip overnight, 14 years of code will necessarily take some time to unpick without breaking stuff. A reminder: when I visit my personal email on the web, I still go to outlook.live.com, even though the Windows Live brand was retired 11 years ago.

Overall, I’m just as much of a fan of Viva Engage as I have been of Yammer. Maybe even more so.

But I’m going to put this gallery here, just to put a ribbon on it…

Yammy, at TechReady 2016
The Yammer Yeti, seen in the hallways of Microsoft, 2014
My most coveted swag