SOLVED

Yammer as a support forum!?

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We are in desperate need for a support forum within a large cooperation. It would make life much easier if an existing tool with a lot of users would be used. The thoughts goes to yammer.

 

But what are the posibilities with yammer api to get statistics about e.g. reply time (manager statistics) or is there a need to read this out manual?

 

Are there ways of tagging specific topics as "support" within our specific group and mark them as "resolved"? And assign it to a group of ppl or specific person? (if it's AD groups then it's fine, or groups defined in Yammer or outlook mailgroup)

 

Any tips and trix would be good to get this forward!

12 Replies
Are you thinking of this as a workspace where requests come in and get discussed by a support team privately or an open group that users post in and then get replies?

Hi,

The idea is that it should be open.

And if we need to discuss something before replying, it should be done in a separate channel.

 

The theater session from @Tom Kretzmer touched on this example, using Yammer as a forum resource for IT (not as a replacement for a formal helpdesk ticketing system).  The audio wasn't recorded but the slides may give you a flavor.

https://myignite.microsoft.com/sessions/55273

 

I think this sounds like the use case that could work for Yammer, as long as there is a concerted effort to define which Groups you'll use and the responsibilities for the support team.  Maybe something about SLAs in your Yammer Terms of Use (that all users need to accept in order to access Yammer).

 

Maybe be a conversation with an implementation partner with a history of these sort of deployments.

Thanks for sharing!

 

The metadata tags of threads which would beneficial for support are not touched upon. Maybe this is not possible?

 

Or retrieving statistics/reports from manager perspective, preferably using the API.

 

But, best answer yet!

Best Response confirmed by Kevin Crossman (MVP)
Solution

Henrik,

 

Yes, Yammer can definitely be used for this purpose, and as @Kevin Crossman mentioned, this is actually what I spoke about at Ignite.  At a certain company, we actually did exactly this, to supplement the formal ticketing system, and the slides presented actual screenshots of a real example conversation (after I changed the names and faces).  There's a very low-fidelity recording (my cellphone on the presentation table) attached.

 

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Ignite-Content-2017/Yammer-for-IT/m-p/99185

 

As for metrics, yes, anything available in the UI is ultimately available via API.  The caveat to this is that only the documented APIs are static; the undocumented ones work very well but are subject to change without notice.  For enhanced analytics and insights, there are 3rd party tools such as tyGraph and SWOOP, and Microsoft is working on improving built-in insights as well.  What would you like to capture?  We might be able to help you script something.

 

The topics idea is a good one.  One simple way to track this would be to have a #Open tag and a #Closed tag.  Don't put those within the post, but rather use the add topics / edit topics bit.  Here's a little infographic:

 

Topics.jpg

 

Is this helpful?

 

Please let us know what you think.  Yammer can definitely help smooth out the collaboration between IT support and the folks who need them.  

 

Great - just add the ability to lock a conversation and job done.

Why do you want to lock a conversation?

 


 

We are now evaluating another tool which fit the needs for R&D better, Discourse.

This is due to we aim to build a collaborative knowledge base, enable collaborative support with matrixes, discuss code, good control of topics (setting titles, controlling notification level)...

 

My opinion is that yammer still has it purpose as a company tool, as a social forum and for pushing news.

You might want to look at CorpQNA https://corpqna.com/yammer Haven't used it myself, but I believe it can help with this specific usecase. 

There are multiple scenarios when you'd want to lock ('close') a conversation - anything that is related to a specific outcome completing so ... which may not be in the original spirit of Yammer - but things move on ...

 

1) Ad-hoc support as stated previously.  Once an issue has been solved and there and a best response flagged the OP really wouldn't want to have the 'issue' open for others to revive and then have to monitor.

 

2) I have a business area who want to 'advertise' availability of 'fixed assets' that could be used by other parts of the business rather than just disposing of them immediately.  Once an asset has been 're-assigned' I don't need a thread revival.

 

3) Another business area at a previous organisation used the old SharePoint discussion board as a 'Buy, Sell, Rent' hub where colleagues could do just that aka 'Craigslist' - same scenario once its gone close the discussion.

 

4) Some specific events that need an open period of time for discussion and then closed off

 

5) Ideation activities ...

 

I could go on ...

 

Anyway we'll use the Topics method for now.

Ok, what you're saying makes sense, but what I've seen is that usually the community itself manages that rather than needing a central authority to curate it.  People realize that the event is over, so there's no compelling information to add at that point.  So people abandon the thread on their own rather than needing someone to close it.  As people are getting used to this style of conversation, you may need a community manager to make that suggestion, but after a while people spend their time on the active threads rather than reviving dead ones.

Also at Ignite the Yammer team showed they are considering features like Mark Best Answer and Mark Official Answer, which would help to show a conclusion was reached without preventing ongoing discussion. Generally a better solution.

I would recommend being very careful about creating other types of forums with other products, users would generally prefer for things to be in one place and for questions and discussion to find it's way using the power of community.

What would happen if someone asked a technical question in Yammer, when all the answers are in Discourse, how would they find their way to each other?