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In June 2018, we're making changes to the native social capabilities in SharePoint Online

In June 2018, we're making changes to the native social capabilities in SharePoint Online.

 

Office 365 includes two options for enterprise social features: Yammer and the SharePoint Newsfeed. 

The native SharePoint social features in SharePoint Online were designed to let people work together in ways that are most effective for them through providing great collaboration tools that anyone can use to share ideas, find people and expertise, and location business information. 

 

Over the course of the past 18 months we've introduced new capabilities designed to take advantage of the latest innovations across intelligence, mobile and more to deliver solutions that allow people to communicate more effectively from Office 365 Groups to Team News, Communication Sites, and Yammer.  

 

With these new innovations deployed globally we'll be making changes to the native social features in SharePoint Online.  In June 2018 we'll make the company feed read-only in SharePoint Online and remove the option to implement the Newsfeed feature in navigation and through Tenant Administration.

 

The company feed is an organization’s public newsfeed. All posts appear to the company, including those created by people that users might not be following. 

 

How does this affect me?


Beginning in June 2018, the company feed will be set to read-only for existing Tenants and the option to implement the Newsfeed capability will be removed for new Office Tenants.  For customers using the company feed we recommend considering options such as Team News, Communication Sites, and/or Yammer.

 

You can learn more about SharePoint Communication Sites at https://support.office.com/en-us/article/What-is-a-SharePoint-communication-site-94A33429-E580-45C3-... and Team News in SharePoint Online at https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Team-News-in-the-SharePoint-mobile-app-for-iOS-67ace508-93d...

 

Frequently Asked Questions


Does this change affect the Site Feed feature?
No- we will continue to support Site Feed in its current form.


Are there any other features impacted with this change?
No- this change impacts only the Aggregated Newsfeed feature.


How do I turn on Yammer in my Office 365 Tenant?
Prior to this change Office 365 included two options for enterprise social features: Yammer and the SharePoint Newsfeed. If you pick Yammer to be your social experience, follow the Enterprise Activation process to activate Yammer. After activation, a Yammer tile appears on the Office 365 portal page and the app launcher, making it easy for Office 365 users to reach Yammer. Also, if your network is eligible, users can sign-in to Yammer using their Office 365 account.


What is SharePoint Team News?
Using SharePoint Online team news is how you keep up with and broadcast key events and accomplishments with other members of the team and extended stakeholders. You can use team news for things like trip reports, best practices, project updates, highlights of new documents and content, welcoming a new team member, sharing team goals and celebrating milestones or other scenarios the company feed previously provided.  To learn more about SharePoint Online team news refer to https://support.office.com/en-us/article/keep-your-team-updated-with-news-on-your-team-site-495f8f1a...


Will this change affect SharePoint 2016?
No.  This change is currently limited to SharePoint Online in Office 365.

26 Comments
Occasional Contributor

Hi Bill, *think* I get was this post's saying. Would you consider writing a bulleted version? One for a 5th grader with a short-attention-span? (For the record: I'm a fan of Yammer & appreciate how challenging it's been to seamlessly integrate into Office 365; and yes, I've been accused of possessing the attention span of a 5th grader on occasion :-) )

 

Thanks!

Valued Contributor

Hi Bill, 

 

I appreciate the care you’ve taken writing this post.

There is a big decision here for those who have not deployed Yammer and for larger organisations not a trivial one. I accept some safeguarding has been put in place for existing tenants. A couple of points though: your post reads as if the change can be as early as 1st June which is quite a short period from today, April. Change like this will need to be in the Message Center too as a clear deprecation. Secondly, you *may* have further improvements for News and Yammer integration around the SharePoint Conference announcements. If any of those ease the decisions for customers it may be worth considering promoting those early. Thanks!

Microsoft

@John Wynne Thank you for your feedback, it is greatly appreciated.  Deprecating functionality on-premises or in the cloud is not a decision we take lightly and your feedback goes a long way to ensuring we're doing so in the best way possible with the right communications.  A Message Center post accompanies this information and should be reaching tenants worldwide within the next 24 hours.  On the deprecation itself, for existing tenants the core change will be making read-only the public feed capability in the product as a legacy artifact of native SharePoint social capabilities.  Site feeds will not be impacted through this change.  We'll also be working on helping to rationalize this change through guidance that will help compare the capabilities designed to replace this functionality now and through May.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Valued Contributor
@Bill Baer if I could have given you a *Best Response* here, I would. Thanks for the clarifications.
Regular Contributor

What are the changes of getting support for two yammer networks in an EDU tenant? One for staff and one for students?

 

We currently use the newsfeed for students and yammer for staff.

Senior Member

Thanks Bill. 

 

Will this impact Discussions? I know that once we switch to the modern SharePoint, the Discussions web part is no longer available. Thanks in advance for your response.

Senior Member

It seems to me that once again Microsoft are making changes for no good reason - just pushing customers towards an alternative that customers neither want nor need for company political reasons. The audacity and incredible short notice is breath taking.

New Contributor

Personally I am not happy with this decision. The permissions required for the new feed in the Modern experience is not acceptable for most organisations, giving design access to a page just so you can post items back and forwards. Teams does not integrate well with an intranet and a lot of organisations do not wish to implement Yammer as it is taking people to multiple applications. So Microsoft are taking away a very useful and often used master feature of SharePoint and replacing it with things that just do not work the way organisations wish them too. The New sites (new team site and communication site) leave a lot to be desired around permissions and functions so cannot yet be used. People please vote up keeping the new feed working as it is heavily used and vital. The number of implementations out there using it that now need serious planning and training is just way too much to deal with.

I agree Mark - governance is going out the window with all these "social" features Microsoft is bringing in making it very unattractive to corporate business.  Who are they building for anymore.....?

Senior Member

The tail is wagging the dog in this case. This is an example of Microsoft pushing clients to solutions they do not want nor need. The rapid pace of change makes it hard for consultants and architects to keep up to speed and we could do without unnecessary and unwanted change further muddying the water.

I agree again Peter.  I actually miss on-premise SharePoint so we can just get our jobs done instead of having to spend most of our time trying to keep up with changes from a $722billion company with armies of developers!

Senior Member

So true that it hurts Veronique. On the plus side Microsoft and their partners are trying to bridge the learning gap but there are also many negatives:-

- spending many hours on non-billable training ( I am currently spending a day a week )

- the sense of uncertainty and having to double check there is not a better, new way to do something in the New World

- the difficulties arising when changes make architectural decisions obsolete - I feel like its walking on quicksand.

- the fact that some of the released new ways are not ready for prime time yet.

@bart vermeersch

This is how we suggest that you use Yammer to get the most out of it:
 
Everyone within the same domain should have access to the same Yammer network. If the staff needs to have confidential conversations, then we suggest creating private groups for these. However, if this solution doesn't meet your requirements, we might also suggest creating "External Groups," and then granting students access to the External Group only. This way the staff will have access to the whole Yammer network, and students will only be able to access the External Group.
Regular Contributor

@Aneetha Jayaraman

thank you for your ideas. Your first suggestion would create a barrier for our staff (2000 ppl) to explore groups since they will have to subscribe to each (staff-only) group. It will not be possible anymore to find relevant discussions in groups they are not subscribed to.

 

We also tried your second suggestion, but the student has no yammer license and is thereby unable to join external networks. Providing them with a yammer license would allow them to access the entire network (not only the external groups).

Frequent Visitor

As with other contributors, I don't know what problem is meant to be fixed by removing Newsfeeds - other than forcing use of Yammer.  Yammer introduces a huge administrative and organisational overhead whereas Newsfeeds provide simple, context appropriate social interaction without any hassle.

 

When one considers that we have Skype, Skype for Business, Teams, Yammer and Newsfeeds it is clear that we do need Microsoft to clarify, for themselves, what it is they are trying to do with Social.  As Newsfeeds is the most user-friendly and context appropriate of these, it is disappointing that it is the first to go.  As Mark Walters refers to above, there is an increasing need to jump between applications to complete simple tasks. disUnified Communications!

Frequent Visitor

I'm a bit confused!  Do you mean the Newsfeed? And what do you mean by supporting the Site Feed?  What is the Aggregated Newsfeed feature?

 

If it is what I think you mean, the Newsfeed, why are you getting rid of this very useful feature!  I am in the process of implementing SharePoint in an organisation that doesn't currently use it.  I've been showing them the Newsfeed, and have included it in training material.  

 

I do not want to have to start exploring the options of Team News and Communication Sites, or Yammer, as they do not fit with the work of the organisation.

Frequent Visitor

 reading between the lines, does this mean that yammer data will be stored in a EU location for European O365 customers? If not, no social features will be available for O365 customers within public sector.

Microsoft

Small FYI that we appreciate informative feedback, plus take governance and change management seriously. This has been a long-term strategy change since we acquired Yammer. And as we invest in the inner loop scenarios (Microsoft Teams), outer loop scenarios (Yammer) – all bound to the same standards and user experience goals of Office 365 all up by design - we integrate SharePoint as the content service to all. We are building in more social gestures throughout the suite (likes, comments, view counts) and making is more personalized by use of the Microsoft Graph. All that said, we need at times to divest in order to move forward with more modern technology that best or better integrates now and moving forward.

 

Keep the feedback coming so we don't miss areas to consider and your sentiment before, during and after change.

 

- Mark

 Will the Social Feed API be affected in any way? Is this just a UI limitation?

Senior Member

Any suggestion on what those of us in the Government cloud can do except wait? Yammer is not part of that environment (and it does not seem like it ever will be) and Teams are not available (they are listed as "Not yet available In Office 365 US Government offerings, but coming soon." as it has forever lol).

Frequent Visitor

@Mark Kashman, Could you please answer my questions above, that will be much appreciated!

 

Thank you!

Occasional Contributor

@Bill Baer 's announcement started making more sense when perspective's broadened to include content aggregation in hub sites & Teams as @Mark Kashman  notes in this thread. *Really* clicked for me when I read Mark's update last week:

 

"SharePoint news updates in Office 365, including Microsoft Teams integration"

These points in particular:

  • "Create news from SharePoint home in Office 365"
  • "From the SharePoint home in Office 365, simply click Create news and choose where you wish to publish your news, starting with a list of frequent and followed sites. Once you choose the site, you’re taken directly to the news authoring canvas for that site. Give it a title, add your content from an ever-expanding set of web parts, and start making news!"

Mark's and Bill's announcements would've been paired in an ideal world. But @microsoft 's a big company!

 

In preparing for a hub sites presentation to the Austin Office 365 & SharePoint User Group last week, Microsoft's roadmap for 1-to-many, & many-to-many social, became clearer. Using new & improved modern web parts, content rollup is super easy & flexible. And -- in my view --  a key to the hub site strategy. Relying on SharePoint home page news feed? Well, real estate and control are limited. (My guess? Part of this *might* be based on telemetry indicating low engagement.) Create a Hub Site instead, and drop in a News web part aggregating news within the hub and across site collection boundaries. Want more control? Take a look at the updated Highlighted Content web part. Name's a bit of a misnomer. Unexpectedly powerful and granular for all types of SP artifacts: news, documents, keywords. Kind of like a modernized Content Query Web Part. Found I preferred using Highlighted Content for news rollup. Better UX and control for site owner; more flexible display options for users.

 

For me, the deep dive into hub sites -- coupled with Mark's update last week -- painted the greener pastures ahead, minimizing the pain of deprecating SP home page news feed. At least for those using Office 365/SharePoint Online.

Occasional Visitor

I'm with @Gary Griffin on this - we are a government cloud customer with low user ability. We rely heavily on the SharePoint newsfeed for announcements. It's been hard enough to get users to adopt SharePoint, but this was one of the main hooks we had. I can't come up with any solution that will suit us if the Newsfeed goes away entirely.

New Contributor

Hi @Brian Kinsella yes the roll up features and aggregation are great but the issue here is the permissions as I mentioned previously. Having to give design permissions to someone posting a news item is poor for any governance. Until this is resolved I just can't roll out any of the new news app features. I also mentioned the amount of training needed to all staff as we set up news postings for everyone to use and communicate. So having to give all staff design access to team sites and then train them on this bright shinny new app is a large commitment. At least the old news app used features from MS Office for editing, a great loss in this one. And with the new hub site about to roll out I am expecting lots of issues with it before we are ready to introduce it to the broader community. So we are now left with no true working new app and have received short notice on its retirement. This is not a great way to sell the features of Office , particularly when I get customer complaint on why they are being Microsoft's testers due to the number of bugs and complexities working with a lot of the new features being added.

Occasional Contributor

Great points @Mark Walters . I too was thrown by the short fuse (see my earlier question to @Bill Baer ). Bigger picture emerged with @Mark Kashman 's announcement.  Having just put hands on a couple weeks ago in a dev tenant, hadn't drilled down on governance/permissions implications, nor surfaced the subtleties identified in Mark's post.

 

I agree, an incomplete story bridging old features to new -- especially deprecated as quickly as this one -- risks placing many in a box. My views a bit myopic as company-wide news hasn't been particularly important for customers. Based on limited testing, however, we're convinced the new News architecture will encourage greater end-user engagement, and therefore more highly valued.

 

Stepping back -- at the risk of sounding like a shill -- have a long history on the Microsoft stack -- for better and for worse. I prefer the 'new Microsoft's' aggressive roadmaps and rapid iterations. While a firehose hard to keep up with, offers the community much more say in shaping new features (e.g., User Voice); fixing older ones; and hands-on earlier in dev cycles. Doesn't mean we roll 'em out to our users/customers on those timeframes. Far from it. For example, will still be a while before moving many classic sites to modern given the incomplete story around custom content types and metadata. Heck, we just upgraded our internal Win 10 workstations to 1709 (last fall's creators update)  :-)

Microsoft

Hi @Margaret Dullaghan. I'm not clear as to what you'd like help answering. This blog is about the deprecation of the aggregated newsfeed (aka, the Company feed). And we hear you in how this change impacts both planning and implementation. We do hope the notification helps plan for the changes to come, with initial guidance in how to consider future implementations.

 

Thanks,

Mark