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Yammer Gets New Life as Microsoft Teams 'Communities' App

As it promised last November at Ignite, Microsoft has refreshed Yammer, releasing it this week as a new Microsoft Teams app called "Communities."

The new Communities Yammer App in Teams uses Microsoft's Fluent Design, permits community branding with photos and allows announcements to be pinned to the top of a page. It also lets organizations conduct polls and solicit expert opinions with "at-mentions" messaging, and allows individuals to mark the best answer to posted questions. Organizations can initiate video broadcasts within the new Yammer App via the Microsoft Stream video service, which requires having an Office 365 E1, E3 or E5 subscription or equivalent, per this Microsoft Stream licensing document.

"Live Event" video broadcasts, supporting up to 10,000 attendees, can be conducted using the Communities Yammer App, but just for people inside an organization.

"Currently, events streamed through Microsoft Stream are only available to internally to viewers within your organization," a Microsoft Stream Live Event FAQ explained.

The new Yammer App is just for use on desktop computers or via a Web browser. Microsoft is planning to deliver "soon" a mobile app version, too. The mobile app version will permit users to record and share videos.

IT pros can add the Communities Yammer App for all Teams users, but it's also installable by end users themselves from within Teams, where the Communities App, at version 2.0.0, is described as adding "a fully interactive Yammer experience to Microsoft Teams."

Yammer is described by Microsoft as being designed more for "outer loop" communications. It's for broadcasting messages across an organization. Teams, on the other hand, is aimed more toward "inner loop" communications, such as among a smaller group of colleagues. This blog post by AvePoint shows a diagram illustrating the concept.

It's been possible to add Yammer to Teams via a "tab" since March of last year, but the Monday announcement is describing the ability to add the new Yammer App to Teams.

IT pros can manage the the new Communities Yammer App in Teams at the organizational level via the Microsoft Teams Admin Center portal, where they can allow it or block it, per this Microsoft document. IT pros can also permit or block the use of "third-party" (non-Microsoft) apps with the new Yammer App. The app gets packaged and distributed to end users using App Studio for Microsoft Teams.

Other general recommendations for IT pros working with Teams can be found in this recent Microsoft blog post.

The new Communities Yammer App may seem to duplicate existing capabilities in Teams, which already has a chat space and the ability to use third-party apps for things like poll taking, as described in this Microsoft blog post. The difference seems to be that the Communities Yammer App is intended more for use with companywide communications, rather than individual team member chats.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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