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For those that ask you about Microsoft Teams vs. Yammer

%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26626%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EFor%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26626%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EHere's%20my%20first%20take%2C%20which%20will%20likely%20evolve%20the%20more%20I%20play%20with%20Teams.%20%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fmedium.com%2F%40cslemp%2Fhow-to-choose-between-microsoft-teams-yammer-and-outlook-1c4b37ac4eb7%23.oxsefvibq%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%20rel%3D%22nofollow%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%22%3Ehttps%3A%2F%2Fmedium.com%2F%40cslemp%2Fhow-to-choose-between-microsoft-teams-yammer-and-outlook-1c4b37ac4eb7%23.oxsefvibq%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FA%3E%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%3CSPAN%20class%3D%22lia-inline-image-display-wrapper%20lia-image-align-center%22%20style%3D%22width%3A%20999px%3B%22%3E%3CIMG%20src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fgxcuf89792.i.lithium.com%2Ft5%2Fimage%2Fserverpage%2Fimage-id%2F8002iBF4E522F861AC167%2Fimage-size%2Flarge%3Fv%3D1.0%26amp%3Bpx%3D999%22%20alt%3D%22teamsyamemroutlook.png%22%20title%3D%22teamsyamemroutlook.png%22%20%2F%3E%3C%2FSPAN%3E%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EDiscuss...%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-LABS%20id%3D%22lingo-labs-26626%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CLINGO-LABEL%3EEnterprise%20Social%3C%2FLINGO-LABEL%3E%3CLINGO-LABEL%3EYammer%3C%2FLINGO-LABEL%3E%3C%2FLINGO-LABS%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26632%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26632%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EWe%20are%20just%20starting%20to%20get%20used%20to%20Groups%20vs%20team%20sites.%20How%20on%20earth%20do%20we%20start%20to%20understand%20how%20Teams%20fits%20as%20well%3F%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26666%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26666%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3ESaw%20this%20article.%20Confused%20as%20to%20why%20Microsoft%20would%20come%20out%20with%20Teams%20when%20they%20have%20Yammer.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EWhy%20tho%3F%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.buzzfeed.com%2Fblakemontgomery%2Fmicrosoft-debuts-teams-office-chat-and-slack-might-be-a-litt%3Futm_term%3D.yuRjNaYZr%23.vnL9073pV%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%20rel%3D%22nofollow%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%22%3Ehttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.buzzfeed.com%2Fblakemontgomery%2Fmicrosoft-debuts-teams-office-chat-and-slack-might-be-a-litt%3Futm_term%3D.yuRjNaYZr%23.vnL9073pV%3C%2FA%3E%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26672%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26672%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EIt%26nbsp%3Bit%20appears%26nbsp%3Bthat%20this%20is%20a%20direct%20competition%20to%20Slack%2C%20therefore%20a%20commercially%20based%20project.%20Not%20exactly%20putting%20the%20customer%20first%20is%20it%3F%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26688%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26688%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EJust%20as%20I%20was%20feeling%20encouraged%20about%20better%20integration%20between%20Groups%20and%20Yammer%20-%20another%20app%20to%20add%20to%20the%20confusion%3F%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EFWIW%2C%20rightly%20or%20wrongly%2C%20I%20had%20always%20thought%20of%20Yammer%20as%20Microsoft's%20competitor%20to%20Slack.%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26690%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26690%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EOn%20the%20contrary%2C%20the%20success%20of%20Slack%20shows%20that%20there's%20customer%20demand%20for%20a%20different%20type%20of%20collaboration%20that%20Microsoft%20wasn't%20providing.%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26693%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26693%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EThat%20is%20the%20postive%20spin%2C%20I%20can%20see%20that.%20But%20how%20different%20is%20it%20to%20Yammer%20or%2C%20even%20more%20so%2C%20Groups%3F%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26723%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26723%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CBLOCKQUOTE%3E%3CHR%20%2F%3EThat%20is%20the%20postive%20spin%2C%20I%20can%20see%20that.%20But%20how%20different%20is%20it%20to%20Yammer%20or%2C%20even%20more%20so%2C%20Groups%3F%3CHR%20%2F%3E%3C%2FBLOCKQUOTE%3E%3CP%3EDemand%20for%20a%20type%20of%20collaboration%20that%20Microsoft%20wasn't%20providing%3F%20Or%2C%20demand%20for%20a%20type%20of%20collaboration%20that%20people%20weren't%20aware%20that%20Microsoft%20was%20providing%3F%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EIt%20seems%20to%20me%20that%20with%20the%20exeption%20of%20the%20core%20apps%2C%20people%20are%20unaware%20of%20much%20of%20what%20Office%20365%26nbsp%3B%20has%20to%20offer.%20I'd%20actually%20prefer%20to%20see%20some%26nbsp%3Bfocus%20on%20helping%20people%20utilize%20all%20that%20Office%20365%20has%20to%20offer%20vs.%20continously%20churning%20out%20new%20Office%20365%20apps.%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26728%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26728%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EI%20totally%20agree.%20There%20is%20so%20much%20end-user%20confusion%20about%20what%20tools%20they%20should%20be%20using%2C%20where%20documents%20are%20etc.%20We%20need%20more%20clarity%20around%20existing%20features%2C%20not%20more%20choice%20of%20apps%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26734%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26734%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EI%20hear%20the%20%22service%20bloat%22%20concern.%20It%20does%20feel%20like%20they've%20gone%20from%20stuffing%20Word%20with%20100's%20of%20features%20to%20stuffing%20O365%20with%20100's%20of%20small%20services%2C%20and%20I%20agree%20that%20focusing%20their%20considerable%20resources%20on%20getting%2012%20things%20done%20really%2C%20really%20well%20instead%20of%20doing%2050%20things%20half-baked%20would%20be%20awesome.%3CBR%20%2F%3E%3CBR%20%2F%3EBut%20to%20your%20first%20question%2C%20I%20saw%20many%20a%20team%20within%20Microsoft%20going%20to%20Slack%20because%20they%20had%20tried%20Yammer%20and%20it%20just%20didn't%20meet%20their%20needs%20for%20real-time%20collaboration%2C%20and%2For%20they%20didn't%20feel%20they%20could%20work%20THAT%20openly.%20Even%20the%20Yammer%20team%20uses%20a%20messaging%20app%20that-will-go-nameless%20to%20triage%20issues%20in%20real%20time%2C%20especially%20when%20Yammer%20experience%20some%20kind%20of%20outage.%20So%2C%20I'd%20argue%20they%20weren't%20providing%20this%20type%20of%20collaboration%2C%20at%20least%20not%20in%20such%20an%20integrated%20way%20(they've%20actually%20had%20Skype%20Chat%20Rooms%20before%2C%20but%20it%20was%20a%20poor%20cousin%20to%20what%20we%20see%20with%20Teams).%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-26738%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20For%20those%20that%20ask%20you%20about%20Microsoft%20Teams%20vs.%20Yammer%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-26738%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EIt's%20a%20totally%20valid%20argument%20and%20I%20appreciate%20the%20considered%20response.%20Just%20a%20thought%20though%20as%20a%20counter%20to%20this%2C%20why%20did%20they%20not%20just%20add%20the%20missing%20functionality%20to%20Yammer%2FGroups%2C%20rather%20than%20building%20another%20app%3F%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E
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Chris Slemp
Regular Contributor
83 Replies
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We are just starting to get used to Groups vs team sites. How on earth do we start to understand how Teams fits as well?

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Saw this article. Confused as to why Microsoft would come out with Teams when they have Yammer.

 

Why tho?

 

https://www.buzzfeed.com/blakemontgomery/microsoft-debuts-teams-office-chat-and-slack-might-be-a-lit...

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It it appears that this is a direct competition to Slack, therefore a commercially based project. Not exactly putting the customer first is it?

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Just as I was feeling encouraged about better integration between Groups and Yammer - another app to add to the confusion?

 

FWIW, rightly or wrongly, I had always thought of Yammer as Microsoft's competitor to Slack.

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On the contrary, the success of Slack shows that there's customer demand for a different type of collaboration that Microsoft wasn't providing.
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That is the postive spin, I can see that. But how different is it to Yammer or, even more so, Groups?

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@Chris Slemp wrote:
On the contrary, the success of Slack shows that there's customer demand for a different type of collaboration that Microsoft wasn't providing.

Demand for a type of collaboration that Microsoft wasn't providing? Or, demand for a type of collaboration that people weren't aware that Microsoft was providing?

 

It seems to me that with the exeption of the core apps, people are unaware of much of what Office 365  has to offer. I'd actually prefer to see some focus on helping people utilize all that Office 365 has to offer vs. continously churning out new Office 365 apps.

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I totally agree. There is so much end-user confusion about what tools they should be using, where documents are etc. We need more clarity around existing features, not more choice of apps

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I hear the "service bloat" concern. It does feel like they've gone from stuffing Word with 100's of features to stuffing O365 with 100's of small services, and I agree that focusing their considerable resources on getting 12 things done really, really well instead of doing 50 things half-baked would be awesome.

But to your first question, I saw many a team within Microsoft going to Slack because they had tried Yammer and it just didn't meet their needs for real-time collaboration, and/or they didn't feel they could work THAT openly. Even the Yammer team uses a messaging app that-will-go-nameless to triage issues in real time, especially when Yammer experience some kind of outage. So, I'd argue they weren't providing this type of collaboration, at least not in such an integrated way (they've actually had Skype Chat Rooms before, but it was a poor cousin to what we see with Teams).
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I think I've summarized that the best I can in the table in the OP.
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It's a totally valid argument and I appreciate the considered response. Just a thought though as a counter to this, why did they not just add the missing functionality to Yammer/Groups, rather than building another app?
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Interesting. I don't doubt that there are needs out there that aren't being met by Yammer or other Office 365 apps. But, couldn't Yammer or Groups just have been inproved in some way to meet whatever pressing need was unmet? Then again, I guess that takes ya right back to stuffing hundreds of features into Word that most people dont' use.

 

I guess, what I really wish is just that when I suggest Yammer or Groups as collaboration platform to a team that I don't get that "blank stare" of "what are those?" :)

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In answer to both Edward and Laurie, the same question is being asked over in the O365 Partner community, if you have access there: https://www.yammer.com/office365partners/#/Threads/show?threadId=792403519 But to repost it here... There are architectural differences that are so fundamental that one modality just doesn't work for all scenarios. The focus with Teams was on FAST, real-time interaction. While Yammer feeds are faster than email, they're not as fast as Skype, which I assume is the underlying infrastructure with Teams. Ever tried to participate in an active YamJam? It's a little frustrating. In short, I think you're thinking too much like an engineer and not like a user, who doesn't give too hoots about what's under the covers.
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Thanks I'll check out the conversation :)
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@Chris Slemp wrote:
In answer to both Edward and Laurie, the same question is being asked over in the O365 Partner community, if you have access there: https://www.yammer.com/office365partners/#/Threads/show?threadId=792403519 But to repost it here... There are architectural differences that are so fundamental that one modality just doesn't work for all scenarios. The focus with Teams was on FAST, real-time interaction. While Yammer feeds are faster than email, they're not as fast as Skype, which I assume is the underlying infrastructure with Teams. Ever tried to participate in an active YamJam? It's a little frustrating. In short, I think you're thinking too much like an engineer and not like a user, who doesn't give too hoots about what's under the covers.

Thanks for sharing. Good information to have since I don't have access to that network. I've never used Skype, so I don't have a good feel for how it compares to Yammer or email, and my test with Slack was pretty brief more than one year ago. You're probably right that users don't care about what's under the covers. However, I'm not sure they want to track information between five different communication apps either.

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I will just keep this turned off for now. Why can't we get yammer integration with groups before this confusion?
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Did a quick blog that discusses Microsoft Teams vs. Yammer - http://en.share-gate.com/blog/microsoft-teams-vs-yammer

Hope it helps, will dive deeper soon to expose more of what happens when you work with all of this.

 

Noticed a comment though, it's important to understand that Office 365 Groups isn't "versus" anything, whether it's SharePoint Sites or Microsoft Teams. It is always there.

 

Office 365 Groups is literally a group of people, like a security Group in AD. But it ties in different products:

  • Outlook Conversations OR Yammer Conversations
  • Microsodt Teams Chat
  • Full Features SharePoint Site Collection 
  • "Files" a simpler view of the "Documents" Document Library in that SharePoint site mentioned above
  • A Planner Plan (board for Trello users)
  • OneNote Notebook
  • Power BI Workspace (if you have Power BI Pro)

And you will likely see other products eventually fit in there, within the O365 Group. It'll be up to the teams to choose whether or not they will use all the pieces. 

For example, we don't always use OneNote Notebook in all our Groups.

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Thanks Benjamin, as always a very insightful post. Understand, I am playing devil's advocate here a bit, I am trying to see how best to 'sell' the different tools. Our customers are asking us which they should be using, they want direction and a standard that they can follow. But I particularly like your point about everything being in the group, so it doesn't matter which you use, you can find it in the group. I'm going to think about that some more. Thanks again!
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Solution

Some great guidance already provided. Some additional thoughts...

 

First, I've heard from a number of customers the need for a persistent chat tool. In my mind, I always thought Yammer served that purpose, but as it turns out many people disagree Smiley Very Happy Enter Slack and Microsoft Teams. If you've ever used Slack, I hope it became clear to you that Slack and Yammer are pretty different modalities. Slack is more akin to a group chat or group messaging. It's ephemeral and we believe Microsoft Teams serves a different style of working than Yammer. As an example, just because I have email and instant messaging in my personal life, doesn't mean that I can easily do away with Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn.

 

I think there's a tendency to think that each one of our offerings has a binary use. We want email to fit nicely into one use case, Yammer to fit nicely into another, and Teams to nicely fit into a third easy to explain bucket. Fortunately or unfortunately, we're dealing with the desires and preferences of human beings. It's great that you've come to this community as a place to have this dialogue. Another person will choose some distribution list in email. Another person might IM someone that they know. None of them are wrong and each has the opportunity to end in the desired outcome of the individual.

In my personal life, I have similar choices between email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, text messaging, WhatsApp, and more. But I choose the medium based on the audience and who I'm interacting with.

Can you use Yammer for team collaboration and work projects? YES! Microsoft teams and our customers have seen great value in using Yammer for such purposes. We believe that our customers will get greatest value out of Yammer when it is used for deep team collaboration. We should not be shy about making such claims. Could a customer use Outlook Groups or Microsoft Teams to accomplish the same thing? Sure.

It's going to be really hard to slot each of our products neatly into a given usage scenario. Take this opportunity to be a truly consultative resource within your company. Work with your employees to understand their challenges, be a technology domain expert, have an understanding of our products through your own personal experience, and provide guidance accordingly.

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100% agree :D
Plus, Teams does not replace the conversations piece in Groups (Outlook Groups or Yammer Groups - at least to my knowledge for Yammer) it's an extra one where you have to choose between Outlook Conversations or Yammer Conversations now.

Bottom line, that team needs to get the work done. We've used Slack for at least a year internally, but we still used Yammer and we still used Email. It never mattered where the conversation was.
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As someone who only briefly experimented with Slack, and has yet to explore Team, it's been helpful to better understand that Slack and Team are more akin to chat/messaging apps. Though, doesn't Yammer also have a messaging functionality? And, Skype too? Totally agree that having the right tool for the right job is important. If you can weave it all together through something like Groups, and make it easy for users to move between the different tools and discover information between these different pieces, then you're definitely onto something! I don't feel like it's there yet though. As it is, the integration of Groups and Yammer is still half baked. And, in my opinion, the naming here leaves something to be desired. How is an end-user not to be confused about whether they should use a "Group" or a "Team" to collaborate? :)

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Yammer has announced that it will be removing the real-time chat and the Online Now features, keeping their focus on their threaded conversations. At Ignite the Yammer roadmap described some future experience around direct messaging, typing indicator and a standalone app, which does seem to make the difference a little more confusing.

Fundamentally Yammer scrolls in the other direction, new messages at the top, Team has new messages at the bottom.
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Social newsstreams and group chats have a lot in common, but are not the same. Therefore WhatsApp (1000 million users) and Messenger (900 million users) have grown in parallell with the Facebook newsstream (1800 million users). Therefore Facebook has launched it´s business offerings both as a newsstream (Workplaces) and as a chat app (Work Chat). Therefore I also think that Yammer (the newsstream app) and Microsoft Teams (the chat app) can grow and thrive side by side.

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I get what you are saying Morten  Myrstad, but how does Groups fit into your analogy?

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If you mean Outlook Groups, that's the email modality. Neither WhatsApp or Facebook have killed email (yet).
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But I thought Teams/Conversations was supposed to replace e-mail. So why have an e-mail alternative (Groups) competing against an e-mail replacement (Teams), while keeping e-mail (Outlook)?

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@Chris Slemp wrote:
I think I've summarized that the best I can in the table in the OP.

I like your chart... what do you mean by Transparency?

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  • Outlook Groups isn't an email alternative, it's a collaboration experience based on email-style conversations. I know that sounds like splitting hairs, but stay with me...
  • Teams isn't an email replacement, it's a collaboration experience based on chat-style conversations.
  • The opportunity for the Outlook Inbox is to finally be put back in it's place, which not for "collaboration" but for point-to-point conversations outside of your teamwork (e.g. the beginning conversations with an external client) or for critical notifications/action items (e.g. you must approve this overdue invoice).

At Carpool, we call that "restoring the sanctity of the inbox." By using email the way it's supposed to be used, I get about 10 emails a day, and yet I'm dealing with more projects and conversations than I ever have before.

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Think of it this way: how likely is that someone you don't know in your org is going to organically discover what you're working on so that they can contribute in some way unforeseen by your team? Yammer is inclusive by default. Just about every other "collaboration" tech out there, Teams included, is exclusive by default. In other words, you have to be invited into my team to see what we're doing.

 

I'd encourage you to read the Responsive Org manifesto for more context: http://www.responsive.org/manifesto  As a bonus, watch the founder of Responsive Org talk about the importance of working transparently... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eekbIGhRMdU 

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As I understand, even Facebook as a company is an Office 365 customer, but then focusing on Mail, Calendar (and Office Graph / Delve). So then the mix in a Facebook-centric workplace could be Outlook + Workplace + Work Chat. That makes sense to me. While Outlook Group conversation does not have any natural place.

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@Benjamin Niaulin wrote:

Did a quick blog that discusses Microsoft Teams vs. Yammer - http://en.share-gate.com/blog/microsoft-teams-vs-yammer

Hope it helps, will dive deeper soon to expose more of what happens when you work with all of this.

 

Noticed a comment though, it's important to understand that Office 365 Groups isn't "versus" anything, whether it's SharePoint Sites or Microsoft Teams. It is always there.

 

Office 365 Groups is literally a group of people, like a security Group in AD. But it ties in different products:

  • Outlook Conversations OR Yammer Conversations
  • Microsodt Teams Chat
  • Full Features SharePoint Site Collection 
  • "Files" a simpler view of the "Documents" Document Library in that SharePoint site mentioned above
  • A Planner Plan (board for Trello users)
  • OneNote Notebook
  • Power BI Workspace (if you have Power BI Pro)

And you will likely see other products eventually fit in there, within the O365 Group. It'll be up to the teams to choose whether or not they will use all the pieces. 

For example, we don't always use OneNote Notebook in all our Groups.


 

This is helpful to clarify. You have O365 Groups has the foundation, the collection of people. To communicate they pick:

* Yammer

* Email (the Group Discussion is basically email)

* Chat (Microsoft Teams)

 

I don't think Micrsoft Teams is a good name, I hope it becomes something shorter like TeamChat.

 

The difference is that it is fast, fluid, responsive, and multi-platform persistent -- I for one am excited to see it!!

 

Rob. 

 

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Chris Slemp I like your explanation. That does seem a good approach which would register with users. Am still struggling to see where Groups fits into this, but maybe I need to really see it in action.

Morten - quite a similar expalanation I think, but this is also confused by groups.

Again, thanks for all your responses, this is all really helpful :)

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A slightly rephrased quote from Jeff Teper: Group is just a list of members, while Yammer, MS Team, Outlook and Skype for Business are the places you go to have a conversation. Because as of now both Yammer, MS Teams, Outlook, Sharepoint, Skype for Business, OneNote etc. supports the Group concept, which is managed in Azure AD. I therefore think it is important to describe the email group conversation mode as Outlook Groups, not as Groups without the spesification. I also think that a lot of the use cases where Outlook Groups shined, now can be replaced by chats in MS Teams.

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Exactly, in fact my company primarily uses Workplace & Work Chat for internal conversations. Almost no email at all, and we only use Outlook Groups when a client wants to use it. I'm looking closely at moving some of our internal projects to Teams, however, because it's SUCH an integrated experience.
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Having only spent a little time on Teams, I think Skype IM vs. Teams is the confusing comparison. Yammer is slower, asynchronous communications (at least for us). Both Skype messaging and Teams is real time, informal. Teams has much stronger emoji/GIF support and external integrations. As it is now, when I get a Skype chat message, a notification from Teams pops up. Not sure if this is intention or maybe a sign of things to come?
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I appreciate your chart, Chris, and also Steve's point of view and others. I'm reading you all with appreciation! For me, it comes down to the fact that Microsoft Teams is still addressed messaging. You miss out on the benefits of serendipity and community, which are not to be dismissed lightly. They're the foundation for agility, innovation and fast-turn reapplication and iteration.

 

Until Microsoft Teams offers visibility of conversations to people who were unaddressed (outside the team as defined by its creators)... it will miss opportunities for value from unknown connections. It will also silo that value away from connections who could use that information for the company's benefit. Shorter version: you never know everyone who KNOWS what you need, or NEEDS what you know!

 

My very non-technical thoughts on this, complete with Brady Bunch references, are here.

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Mel, you and I are fully onboard the "working out loud" bandwagon. Microsoft Teams isn't there yet, there's no question. Any organization that wants / needs to embrace and prioritize transparency to accelerate all the benefits you lay out above... they need to adopt Yammer in a big way. It's THE choice for those that want to drive this fundamental culture change. Period. To our chagrin, there just aren't enough organizations that get that imperative yet.
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Awesome blog post, BTW.
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Nice post Steve.

 

The way I look at it is that there has always been 'tool overload', but now at least there is a single provider, and with the power of Microsoft Graph etc these tools are more likely to be connected (sooner or later). In other words we're not facing a new problem, but just a different one, and with the potential of better integration.

 

Also, as a friend pointed out to me, at least it shows that Microsoft is 100% committed to enterprise collaboration :)

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Hi Melanie, 

 

I totally agree with you. What makes Yammer so powerful is the ability to 'bump' into new people through open conversation. We've researched this and Yammer really fostered new cross-organisational connections whereas email and instant messaging was mostly happening within existing organisational hierarchies. I think Microsoft Teams will predominantly foster stronger internal teams, but will not be a tool that creates stronger cross-organisational linkages. Both have ROI though so I am not saying the Teams is bad and Yammer is good. You just really need to know what you're trying to achieve.

First, great to see this discussion here about the various tools and how people work together.

 

Now I was initially sceptical about MS Teams. ‘What? Another set of tools for collaboration?’

 

But what has impressed me most so far is the unified user interface and being able to add in SharePoint, Planner and others. There is far less jumping around new browser windows/tabs and the user experience is far simpler and cleaner. Office 365 Groups had that potential but the user interface was too disjointed.

 

That unified interface to me is the key. Bring users to one place for their team/project and have ‘most’ of their content available to them along with conversations/chat (email) and their calendars. It’s all about keeping it simple and Teams is going a good way towards that.

 

I am less fond of too much choice. It sounds good but in reality most people and organisations want to keep it simple and more choices only adds to that confusion which is what we see now with Yammer, Groups and now Teams.

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@Chris Slemp I think email is not the dominant communication for kids till 18 years. They are all into FB messenger, Whatsapp, Snapchat etc. 

 

I think Office365 becomes more and more an App marketplace instead of an integrated collaboration suite. Feedback I get again and again is that customers don't understand it anymore. Everybody it talking about crushing organisational silo's but what we get is more and more technology silo's where one team is using an outlook group, another unit is working in Yammer, another team is working in Microsoft Teams, others are still working in those great Teamsites of Sharepoint and some dinosaur teams are working on network drives. There you go with becoming a more connected company.  

 

We need less tools and more behavioural change to become more connected inside our organisations

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It might be too late to continue this interaction but we are having some success in explaining this by starting with the notion of Tools, Places and Infrastructure (the EXPLICIT addition of Places is to lay the ground work for the 'oh no, not another tool' objection as in "Now I was initially sceptical about MS Teams. ‘What? Another set of tools for collaboration?’ above)

 

Tool - to pick up to create/modify an artifact

Place - to go to interact with people or content

Infrastructure - to make it possible to use tools and go to places

 

and then mapping this to the actual O365 components:

  • Tool = Word, Excel, PPT, Project, Sway, OneNote
  • Place = Outlook (w Outlook Groups), Yammer, Teams, Delve, SharePoint Team Sites, Video Portal
  • Infrastructure = AAD, Groups, People, MS Graph, Discovery (or whatever the official name for the mechanics of finds artifacts and surfacing them thru Delve and through emerging add-in expereinces in some of the Tools)

What this can help with is understanding why there is an ongoing drive -- for lots of good reasons -- to have only ONE tool for each artifact type.  But also why there is a need to offer choice and overlap for Places -- because Places are more complicated things (by a mile) than Tools.  Because by definition a number of different things happen in a Place, not just one thing.  Because we sometimes go to Place A to do activity X ...but sometimes go to Place B to do Activity x(!).  A libary is a Place we go to primarily to interact with content (read books, magazines, do research but...WHILE THERE we may also talk to other people (in whispers!) -- we don't ONLY talk to people in cafes! And vice versa etc etc.

 

Microsoft, by having the ambition to move beyond 'personal productivity tools' (the 'classic' Office apps) to the much messier and less structured world of people interacting with each other and with varaible content is going to end up with more complex components!?!

 

So for us we are evolving something like the following

 

Yammer is the Place to go to if I want to interact with content or people about an enduring topic or subject.  It is somehwat like the water cooler (or since we're in magical digit-land, like lots of water coolers and bulletin boards and company library and department content center).  I go there when I am in the MOOD to learn/share something about a topic or subject and/or if I hope to learn/share something about what other people are 'talking' about on adjacent topics or subjects.  I expect 'conversations' with others to be a BIG part of what happens around the 'water cooler'.

 

Teams is the Place to go to to do shared work with others, whether that's a formal 'project' or shared tasks.  That shared work will generally have a defined set of people, goal(s) and time frame.  It is somewhat like the team room (or since this is magical digital-land, like a long hallway with all of the team rooms that I'm supposed to be part of lined up right next to each other!).  I go there when I am in the MOOD to work on defined tasks that move a team towards that goal. and I expect to learn/share things that are germain to the goals of that team.  I expect 'conversations' with other team members to a BIG part of what happens in the 'team room.'

 

Outlook Groups is the (probably much smaller and less frequented) Place to check into for highly defined periodic interactions, probably with people with whom I have a defined organizational relationship and with whom I have a set of shared responsibilities.  [uh, we haven't gotten this far real-world metaphor wise? conference room? staff meeting?].  I do NOT expect 'conversations' to be a big part of what happens here and that the conversations that do happen will likely be primarily formal.

 

Outlook is the Place I go to to send/receive formal and static communications and to interact with anyone who isn't lucky enough to already interact with me around the water cooler and in team rooms.  I don't really expect that the 'conversations' I have in this place to be very interesting, or to have CONTENT in them that is of enduring use and I tend to avoid such conversations as much as possible!

 

While in any of those places whenever I need to actually work on an artifact I'd like to pick up the SAME trusty tools I'm used to -- for processing words, tabulating numbers, defining a formal project plan, taking notes, developing a presentation.  But while I want to use the same tools everywhere I recognize that the talking I do in those places has subtle but important differences -- I talk differently around the water cooler, the team room and in the staff meeting.

 

 

 

 

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Because email hasn't been killed and lives on. As a number of poster above have noted what we are witnessing in real life is 'and' (facebook AND isntagram AND whatsapp) not 'or'. Microsoft is trying to learn from real life as well (I'm guessing/hoping).
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I love the tool / place / infrastructure framework, Chris! Your pitches on the "places" will work for some and not others (e.g. for myself, the characterization of Yammer as a watercooler is so limiting), but I love how the framework sets up this kind of value statement. It's also interesting that some of these (SharePoint, Video...) are struggling to figure out if they're a tool or a place, or even infrastructure.
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I like the Tools and Places analogy. What about Skype? I wish Skype (at least the IM part) and Teams were one and the same. Having two apps open both with messages flying at you can be very distracting. Are other people finding that?

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In general 'place' is so much richer (good!) and more complicated (bad!).  Maybe you'll come up with a better place metaphor than 'water cooler' (I do think water cooler is at least better than 'bulletin board'!)?

 

I think we can sometimes get trapped in a framework:  tools are supposed to be straightforward and singular (reasonable); then everything's a 'tool' (hmmm?); then everything's supposed to be straightforward and singular (aargh!).  I don't hink MS is quite getting the messaging right to chalk it all up to 'choice'...

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tool/place? I agree that some components either don't fit neatly or are actually struggling with their essential natures.

 

You'd kind of think that Skype is a 'place'  (that's certainly what Google thought when they created 'hangouts' -- they thought that it might turn into a virtual for-hours-of-the-day video congregation place.  it seems that some people did/do use it that way but it's pretty clear that that hasn't really caught on.)  But it seems in lots of organizations and communities its really a 'tool' to very intentionally call someone or join a defined call.  It hasn't coalesced into a 'place' to poke around or hangout:)  btw, I think the interface for video INSIDE Teams isquite alluring, one less click here, one less there...

 

I think the 'gray area' components include Skype, People, Calendar. 

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Hi Chris, 

 

Love this discussion about space, tool and infrastructure.

 

Perhaps 'places' could be characterised as either 'open' or 'by invitation only'?

 

Building on your analogy the library is open for all (Yammer), but a family reunion at my place is only for special people (Microsoft Teams).

 

Anyway - your post was a really great catalyst for reflection.