Yammer Tools Deprecated, Focusing on Embed

In a post this morning over on the Enterprise Social group on the Yammer Office 365 Network, Microsoft announced the deprecation of the Yammer app for SharePoint 2013, and the Yammer Web Part for SharePoint 2010. According to the post, these services will be discontinued as of September 15th, 2015 and March 15th, 2016 respectively, with support being streamlined around Yammer Embed.

What does this actually mean for my on prem consumption of Yammer social? It means you will need to go through your sites and replace the old app or web part with the new embed capability. Depending on how widely your teams have used these tools, it could take some time to comb through sites and displace the old technology with the new. For a large enterprise, this could be a major task – and I recommend that you use your favorite partner solution to pull down reports of where these apps and web parts may be living (my company would be happy to point you toward tools that can do this) so that you can work your way through your environment and replace all of them.

What is the real impact? From a technology standpoint – meaning, your ability to continue being social – zero impact. The Yammer Embed capability is a quick and easy way to add conversations from your favorite Yammer feed, whether public or private, to your SharePoint on prem or SharePoint Online environment. HOWEVER, if you’re embedding a private group conversation, remember to stop and think about who will have access to that conversation within SharePoint, and who will need to be added to the private Yammer group. Because there is still no way to automatically manage permissions between these two, the user experience is impacted (they’ll receive an error message). The end user experience is not a minor thing, people, so be aware.

How does the Yammer embed work? It’s pretty simple, actually. We’ve been trained on this concept for years. If you’re a blogger, for example, you’ve probably embedded code from another site, such as attaching a YouTube video or SlideShare presentation. To embed, go into the desired Yammer Group, and find the embed link on the lower right side of your screen:

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Just like my examples of YouTube or SlideShare, an embed window pops up so that you can copy the necessary code:

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Within SharePoint (on prem or online, 2013 or 2010) the permissions rules still apply – you can only embed a Yammer conversation if you have the right SharePoint permissions (I know you know that, but I just want to be clear). Within the edit page ribbon of your target location, select where you want the Yammer feed to live:

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In the ribbon, go to Insert, Embed Code, which opens another activity window where you can paste your embed code:

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After a quick confirmation, a script editor web part is added to your page, which you can move around and resize just as any other web part:

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A quick save, and your Yammer Group conversation now span your SharePoint and Yammer locations! Conversation happening within the group on Yammer.com will appear on your SharePoint page, and likewise, people within your intranet can join into Group conversations.

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Of course, as I mentioned above, if you want to control who can see these social conversations, consider creating and embedding a link to a Private Group within your SharePoint site. You’ll need to manage permissions in both locations – meaning, you’ll want to add/remove permissions to the private group in Yammer to match those who have access in SharePoint. Kind of a hassle, but if someone has access to the SharePoint site where you’ve embedded a Yammer group that they are not yet members of, they’ll see the error message below. Not a great user experience, so maintain your permissions!

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While this overall change away from the old app/web part solutions toward embed offers no real impact to your goals to include Yammer within your SharePoint strategies as far as features and capability, for Microsoft it simplifies the story – and the need to support overlapping capabilities. I’m not aware of any plans yet to streamline the permissions management of the embed process, or even auto-provisioning Yammer groups from within SharePoint, but this change does make sense.

For more information on how to better manage Yammer within your enterprise, I en
courage you to bookmark the Yammer admin center over on the Office support site. And if you’re interested in more power user tips and tricks, be sure to register for my @EuropeanSP webinar on March 24th “Getting Instant Productivity out of Yammer.” You can register here.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Apps & Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and fractional-CMO for revealit.io, tyGraph, and Extranet User Manager.