Microsoft Deepens Yammer Integration With SharePoint Online, OneDrive For Business

Microsoft, which bundled Yammer with Office 365 last November, has taken another big step toward integrating the social networking technology with SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Microsoft Tuesday unveiled a new feature called Document Conversations, which adds Yammer conversations to more than 30 different file types, including Office documents, images and videos.

When a user opens a document, image or video file in their browser from SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business, a contextual Yammer conversation pops up. From there, users can talk with other colleagues to get more insight about the file, Christophe Fiessinger, a group product manager on Microsoft's enterprise social team, said in a blog post.

[Related: Microsoft Gives Sneak Peek At Its Plans For Yammerizing Office 365 ]

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Fiessinger said the goal is to let users get feedback and expertise from other users in an organization from within the Office apps they're using. "Imagine being able to ask questions, find expertise and offer feedback about content without having to leave the application you’re working in," he said in the blog post.

Rand Morimoto, president of Convergent Computing, an Oakland, Calif.-based Microsoft partner who's been working with Yammer since Microsoft acquired it in 2012, told CRN his customers are eager for deeper integration between Yammer and SharePoint.

"Whenever we integrate Yammer into SharePoint, the number one thing we do is embed Yammer conversations with documents and document libraries," Morimoto said. Now that this is integrated, one of the key integration components of Yammer and SharePoint will be default in-the-box functionality."

Microsoft plans to roll out Document Conversations to customers "during the course of this summer," and it'll be available across all sites within a tenant, Fiessinger said in the blog post. Office 365 customers will have to make Yammer their default social network for the feature to work, he said.

For now, Document Conversations only works on internal networks, though Fiessinger said Microsoft is considering expanding Yammer collaboration to content on external networks.

One of the reasons Microsoft spent $1.2 billion to acquire Yammer was its ability to keep track of relationships between people and information through their social network likes, posts, replies, shares and uploads. That technology, which Microsoft calls Office Graph, is expected to arrive in the second half of the year.

In the meantime, Document Conversations represents a small yet significant step in Microsoft's vision of using Yammer's social technology to breathe new life into the Office business.