SharePoint vs. Yammer: 5 Reasons to Have a Second Look at SharePoint 2013 Social
by Simon Langlois on September 4, 2014
Enterprise social networking is a hot topic these days, from how-tos to what-tos and a string of expert studies. The buzz is getting louder and proactive SMBs are looking for the smartest, most efficient ways to hop on the train. I’ve noticed that lately, SharePoint events have had an increasing focus on Yammer benefits and functionalities, which is a testament to Microsoft’s active involvement in the discussion with a strong push for Yammer integration with Office365.
As you might already know, Yammer only comes with Office365 or SharePoint Online subscriptions, effectively restricting organizations running SharePoint on-premises, or those hosted by a third party. For SherWeb, this means – no Yammer, which is no cause for worries because with SharePoint’s out-of-the-box social features, you have all that is needed to go social. So what’s holding you back? Let’s detangle some of the misgivings and misconceptions surrounding the SharePoint vs. Yammer debate.
1 Well, if Microsoft says Yammer
I have yet to find a solid argument that would convince me to pick Yammer over SharePoint 2013. It’s been months since the integration of Yammer and SharePoint Online and in that time we’ve seen a couple of features added but nothing earth shattering. Yammer’s popularity appears to be based not on the quality of the product but rather on the overarching influence of the tech giant Microsoft. Here’s the main argument I hear these days, “Well if that’s where Microsoft is going, that’s where we need to go .” Don’t get me wrong, both have their individual shortcomings, but at the end of the day, Yammer and SharePoint 2013 have a lot more similarities than Microsoft would like us to believe. Although buying Yammer was a smart business move, it appears that it was not motivated by the allure of innovative technologies or edgy features. Microsoft clearly viewed this acquisition as a mean to eliminate its biggest enterprise social threat, much like they did with Skype some time ago.
2 All the enterprise social you need is in SharePoint
3 Less confusion
Some Microsoft advocates are sold on Yammer because of its user-friendliness. SharePoint 2013 social users for their part say that their pick requires little to no training because it is so much like the familiar and intuitive Facebook and Twitter interfaces. While many software are designed to help employees work more efficiently, when a company increases the number of tools they use, there is bound to be a decrease in efficiency, no matter how easy to use the new tool might be. The simpler the process the better the outcome; that’s why it is simpler to stick to SharePoint alone rather than to use SharePoint with Yammer tagged onto it. This also applies to people working with a number of mobile devices. They don’t want, or need for that matter, to juggle between a slew of apps. Instead, they can get it all done in one spot with SharePoint 2013.
4 The compliance challenges posed by enterprise social networking
Small and big companies alike have heaps of documents to manage on a daily basis, often requiring the collaboration of a number of employees. Those dealing with sensitive data, be it legal, financial, medical or other, have the additional concern of abiding with legislated standards such as HIPAA, SOX and GLBA. One of the first criteria for data safety is to ensure that employees are actually using the safe technology that is at their disposal. The second is to have access to administration functionalities to handle the massive amounts of data produced. Here’s the challenge that enterprise social networking platforms face. They strive to make communication and collaboration effortless, user-friendly and intuitive while remaining compliant with specific regulations concerning sensitive data handling. Although most pro-Microsoft evangelists don’t agree, when it comes to adoption, SharePoint and Yammer are in the same class, however document sharing and collaboration is where they differ the most. Many of the document management features enjoyed by SharePoint users such as co-authoring, alerts, check-ins outs, or drags and drops are not available on Yammer. The same goes for control content approval, workflows, user-defined metadata, eDiscovery and end-user retention. This means that to be compliant using Yammer, you should deny direct document sharing and force employees to only exchange links from documents that are located in SharePoint.
Community contribution is essential when it comes to driving engagement and productivity. Ultimately, the biggest difference between Yammer and SharePoint social is this community concept which in my opinion, is Yammer’s biggest flaw. Contribution is arguably the best way to leverage collective wisdom; people join communities because they have precious expertise to gain or to share. Speaking to others is known to stimulate employee engagement because people tend to join communities not only for professional reasons but also out of personal interest. Yammer does offer the possibility to form groups based specific topics, however it lacks the recurring appeal of SharePoint 2013’s reward concept.
So Yammer only comes with Office365 or SharePoint Online subscriptions, well… what of it? SharePoint 2013’s out-of-the-box solution can meet all your enterprise social networking needs with an easy to use collaboration interface that s compliant with sensitive data regulations. And it offers a sharp productivity-boosting community concept to boot. In other words if you want a business that’s aligned with the enterprise social movement, Yammer is OK, but SharePoint is AWESOME!
Take a look at SherWeb s hosted SharePoint solutions and give us a call to learn more about our offering.