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Yammer vs Office 365 Groups vs Microsoft Teams

Danny Ryan:Hello, and welcome to the ThreeWill podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan. I have have my co-host here with me, Tommy Ryan. How’s it going, Tommy?

 

Tommy Ryan:Wow, I’ve been promoted to co-host?

 

Danny Ryan:You are co-host.

 

Tommy Ryan:I’m not a guest?

 

Danny Ryan:How does that feel? You’re not a guest. You’re the co-host.

 

Tommy Ryan:Awesome.

 

Danny Ryan:Congratulations.

 

Tommy Ryan:Let’s do it.

 

Danny Ryan:Let me see, socks, before we get, nice.

 

Tommy Ryan:These are not plain ones.

 

Danny Ryan:No.

 

Tommy Ryan:They’re pretty business-looking crazy.

 

Danny Ryan:Good, business looking-crazy. Nice. Today, I wanted to get together with you and talk about something that I know I’m confused about, so hopefully we’ll have some questions maybe as someone just looking at this as well, and-

 

Tommy Ryan:I’ll have all the answers, of course.

 

Danny Ryan:You’ll have all the answers because that’s what you do. You just have all the answers. It’s come up, I think, with clients. We’ve covered topics somewhat related to this but never quite this one topic. That topic is …

 

Tommy Ryan:Yammer versus Office 365 groups versus teams, Microsoft teams.

 

Danny Ryan:We’ve talked about, we’ve compared, these are all the Microsoft products because we’ve talked about Slack before, but we’re going to stick with-

 

Tommy Ryan:Yeah, Slack and Chatter.

 

Danny Ryan:Slack and Chatter. Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re going to stick with the Microsoft stack. There’s confusion within the stack. Maybe, can you give me a little bit of, just to get started, some of the history of where the products came from, maybe just a little bit. And also if somebody’s not aware of what the different products are? Just get us started maybe with a little bit of back story.

 

Tommy Ryan:I think when you look at these, these are products that address social aspects, team collaboration aspects. You have things like Skype that are kind of IM capabilities of going one on one with people and having conversations. Like email is an asynchronous way. A synchronous way to do that is in a phone call, or maybe a chat session that allows you to kind of have that real time collaboration. These products have come from the desire to allow people to collaborate outside of email in more of a just in time way. Yammer was that acquisition years back that gave Microsoft the ability to check that check box around social. But there were other things that have been in play in the Microsoft ecosystem to help with that group collaboration. You can even think back to SharePoint discussions as being something that even falls into the same category of group collaboration.

 

When organizations look at that today, and you’re in the Office 365 ecosystem, you’re seeing this thing called Office 365 Groups. That does more than just give you collaboration. They call it conversations. When you look an Office 365 Group, you get other things provisioned. Well, that conversation piece that comes with Office 365 Groups, you can also use things like Microsoft Teams to have that type of group collaboration. You can also use Yammer for that group collaboration.

 

So when people think about, where do I go to have a group collaboration take place, there can be confusion. There can be kind of a concern of should I use Office 365 Groups or teams? Why would I use Yammer. Those things overlap, and I think maybe we can talk a little bit about where they have their place, and how that kind of, figure that out. I don’t think all the answers are there. I think Microsoft is testing the waters and seeing what gets traction.

 

Danny Ryan:Now, I’m most familiar with, I guess just from using it for years, I’m most used to using Yammer. I don’t know if I use it so much, it’s been more for across the whole organization than just sort of like team collaboration. I’m probably most familiar with Yammer, and I think that might have the early, when you look at that, I think early on we were comparing that with SharePoint social features. Those, I think, we’re not even talking about the SharePoint social features. Even if some of them are still around, they’re not even, I don’t think they’re utilized that much anymore.

 

So now let’s, I’m confused. I’m on my second–

 

Tommy Ryan:Okay, I’m here to help.

 

Danny Ryan:I need to lay down on the couch. Doctor, I’m confused. Let’s maybe start to break down what are we using for which type of situation. How do we get out of this confusion, Tommy?

 

Tommy Ryan:Well, it’s going to depend on where your organization is at. What are the business drivers that need to have a group collaboration feature? Where do you get your work done? In some organizations, they approach it from, I need something social here, that these millennials need a way to communicate, and it’s not email, and we need something that shows pictures of people, and shows back and forth conversations, and something that feels closer to, say, something like Facebook, and then they look at Yammer.

 

Yammer is that way to send a message that hits your whole organization. You’ve got this group called All Company, that you can send something out and everyone in your organization can see. Or you can segment that down to a group of people that can be in a private context, or a public context. You can set up a group that might be Technology. You have people in your organization that are involved in technology, and some that are not. You have some people that maybe are not involved with technology, but are technology curious. So you would set up a group that’s more of an open group, that allows people to go and filter down to that context of technology.

 

That’s Yammer. I look at Yammer as more of the company bulletin board, and having the ability to have conversations, and really everyone in the organization would participate, and you have ways to filter it down if you’re not interested in seeing everything, and you want to hone in on a particular area of your company. So that’s Yammer.

 

Then what’s come on the scene since Yammer is Office 365 Groups, and then Teams. It’s probably best to talk about Office 365 Groups first, because that’s the underpinnings to Microsoft Teams. Office 365 Groups is a broader concept than what Yammer provides for you. When you create a new Office 365 Group, you get a few of the services of Office 365 provisioned for you. It’s done in the context of a security group.

 

You say, Danny, Pete, Tommy, we want to have a group to talk about something. Maybe it’s a new white paper. Then we create this group, and we invite those members. As a part of creating that group, we can decided, again, is it public? Is it private? Then we create that group. Now we have conversations as a part of that group. We have Files. We have Notes. We have Planner. Those are just provisioning parts of Office 365 that you use today, either directly or through maybe SharePoint.

 

The Notes is a one note notebook for you. You also have Planner, which is task management. Not the same as Microsoft Project, but a task management set of capabilities. You have Files, which is essentially like OneDrive or SharePoint to be able to give you the document management capabilities. Then there’s Conversations. That is provisioning Outlook as a way to do group collaboration. Different than Yammer. It’s storing it in Exchange, and so you get more of an Exchange look and feel and experience. That comes with the Office 365 group.

 

Now that we kind of understand what Yammer is, and Office 365 Groups, the next step that you can take, and this is something that’s very, very recent, within the last year, say six months, is this concept called Microsoft Teams. We talked about this before, where we compared Slack to Teams, because how people are getting work in our area of business in consulting and development, you see a lot of people using things like Slack to allow your team to be helping each other as they’re heads-down developing things, and they want to ask questions. They don’t want to get up and walk across the room, or pick up the phone. They want to ask a question real quick, and then go off to the next task. Then meanwhile, there’s people answering or collaborating around that concept.

 

In Teams, they’ve made that Office 365 Group experience that provisions all these different aspects of Office 365 as a set of services, and puts it into an application. That application is either in the form of a website, or a client side application that puts that single pane of glass to get around those services. If you want to jump from your group collaboration or conversations to Files to Notes, it allows you to do that and keep the same navigation trim around it. You don’t have that in Groups today. It kind of throws you off into different areas as you navigate around. So the Teams allows you to have more of a container to consume an Office 365 Group.

 

That’s kind of giving you the lay of the land. Where I think there’s challenges when it comes to that concept of where do I go and start a conversation that needs to involve a group. Well, I can do that in Yammer. I can do that in conversations within Office 365 Groups. Or I can do it within the chat within Teams. The chat within Teams does not get stored in the same area as the conversations in Office 365 Groups. It’s very confusing, because you have all these conversations that are stored in really three different locations.

 

Hopefully we see over time this comes together, and we see these conversations all in one place. Just like you see notes are all in one place. They’re sitting in OneNote. So if I want to create a note in Teams, or a note in Office 365 Groups, it’s in the same OneNote. If I want to create a file, it’s in the same location in SharePoint for Teams and Office 365 Groups.

 

I see this, we’ve got a new idea. It’s a concept for collaboration, and it comes with these extra things. Well, extra things are nice when it’s stood by itself, like with Yammer. But now that I bring it together with Office 365 Groups, you say, well, I don’t want to store a file in Yammer. When I store a file using the interface of Yammer, why don’t you put it inside a SharePoint in that one location. I think they’re trying to address that. They’re working on that. But that takes time for those things to gel and come together. I think they’re trying to figure out, when you have a conversation, do people like the Yammer style of the conversation? Do they like the Office 365 Groups style of a conversation? Or do they like the Team style of a conversation? They all have their pros and cons.

 

As you know, Danny, in this world of Microsoft, the double-edged sword of what Microsoft does is they give you so many great things, but they give you so many great things. They end up being overlapping, and you’ve got to make those decisions of, which one do I choose, and I hope I choose the one that continues forward. There’s a little bit of an art in that, in getting a sense of, okay, it seems like this is going to be the direction. I’m ready to hop onto that train.

 

I think we’re advising companies that Groups are great. They’re putting a lot of energy there. But you don’t know. You don’t know at this point. You can jump onto that train. The nice thing about Groups is, you know it’s going into SharePoint for the files. So you know SharePoint’s going to be around. That seems to weather the storm. But when we have a conversation, there’s so many competing ways to have a conversation. We’re not even talking about Skype. Skype is another one of those areas that, Skype for Teams, I think that ended up being Teams.

 

Now you see these competing technologies, and which one’s going to win? We wish we knew. But at this point in time, you just have to pick one that is going to be servicing your needs the best. They all have their pros and cons, so you kind of look at, where are we as an organization? We’re a large Fortune 100 organization, or we’re a startup. Then based on that culture and what’s already in place in the organization, you’re going to decide, okay, Yammer simplifies it for me. I’m going to turn on Yammer. We’re going to turn off Office 365 Groups and Teams. We’re going to use Yammer. Believe it or not, Yammer is the most stable of those platforms, and it was something considered very innovative, and now it’s become more of a legacy within the tool set of doing conversations.

 

So I’m looking at the screen, and I’ve done a lot of talking, so I’m going to–

 

Danny Ryan:Oh, no, no.

 

Tommy Ryan:I’m going to wind down and let you ask a few question. Are you still confused?

 

Danny Ryan:It’s clear as mud. This has helped. A couple things that have come up. You were talking about how Office 365 Groups is somewhat, it’s like setting a security context. Does Teams use that security context, or is that a different thing?

 

Tommy Ryan:It does. If you create a new team, you’re going to create an Office 365 Group. So you get that context.

 

Danny Ryan:I guess I can just explain this from my point of view. We’re a small company, and the way that we’ve set up our Office 365 is we have a site. I’ll just use an example, a place where we keep all of our files for a certain account. It’s in a document library, and the document library has the account names. You can see them from the root of the folder. Then underneath that we have all of our documents. What seems, when I started using some of these, I would have sort of like, I’d set up the group. Then that would provision a new document library. We’d start putting documents into that. But that wasn’t ultimately where that document needed to be, or it wasn’t sort of, it seemed like it was a working area, but there wasn’t anything, it sort of broke our current structure of having files underneath, in this account’s document library.

 

It sort of, we kept on reverting back to, okay, all of the files for accounts are stored there. I think at one point in time I sort of took those files and dragged them, basically moved them over. I think I had to do a little bit of downloading them and moving them over so that they were there for the long term. But it just seemed like there wasn’t like a, it wasn’t like a smooth workflow for me.

 

Tommy Ryan:Yeah, I agree.

 

Danny Ryan:Just want to set up a group, work together. Then some of those files needed to go into another location. I mean, I still have some of the, like RFPs that we’ve done, we’ve created the Office 365 Groups. They’re still out there. It’s sort of like a branch that we’ve broken off. It never got decommissioned. But just trying to figure out what is that workflow of working together within these teams. Then I think the documents end up going somewhere else.

 

Even like if we look at our OneNote. We have a OneNote for Sales. We have a OneNote for Marketing. Then it has that structure within that OneNote document, or within that OneNote notebook. Then we’re creating, by creating these groups, we’re creating a bunch of little OneNote notebooks that don’t have the structure of what we have in our sales and marketing. I’m just trying to, I’m confused and I’m sorry, I’m sort of using this for trying to scratch my own back here and talking about my own problems. But I just see this as a microcosm of what even happens in larger organizations. Because they probably have even more structure than we do.

 

Tommy Ryan:I think the thing that you’re grappling with is a key concern, or a key thing to figure out in terms of what is best. When you look at, let’s say, our sales documents. We have sales pursuits. You can see, having a team, we do have a team that organizes around a sales pursuit. If we did that within an Office 365 Group and had a team, we used the team’s interface to get to that, it would be nice to kind of go after that as a team, and feel like, okay, we’ve got our own place to do this.

 

But when you get to the end of that, where does that information go? Because if you need to retrieve that, if you have records that are produced out of that process, of yeah, I’ve got 20 documents and maybe five of them need to be records that get put in a location that I can retrieve them at a later date. That’s not a natural progression using Teams or Office 365 Groups. It seems to get orphaned, unless you have someone with the discipline to say, let me think about what needs to live beyond this pursuit, that we’re finished. We either won or lost the pursuit. What do we do with this information? Do we depend on using search to find it, and show us that it’s in this team? Or do we want to move it into a structured area that people navigate to it, and know that, okay, our contracts are inside of this sales site within the contracts document library, and it’s organized by the account.

 

Well, that’s the way we work. If I were to try to find that contract, and it’s in a team, then one, that team needs to be structured the same way every time so I know where to go look within that team. Then I’m going to have to, from a navigation standpoint, think about what was the name of that pursuit so I can go to the right group, or let me go to Search and then find it that way.

 

I think we have leaned towards keep it in that structure. If we do create a group to get that collaboration capability, then we’re going to have to remember to move those documents. I think that’s where some of our automation can take place, to say, okay, you’re at the end of this, and you’re doing a retrospective. What do we need to harness out of this? Let’s have a standard way of saying anything that gets dropped in this folder within the team, we’re going to run this script or run this app to go pull those, and based on naming convention, it gets put in the right place.

 

But the cobbler has no shoes, so we can’t afford to do that for ourselves. So we say, how do we simplify? Well, let’s use things like Yammer, and SharePoint, and email to be able to collaborate around that, to know where that exists, know when it’s ready for me to review, and that’s how I collaborate. I think we have a desire to get more things into groups, and to be able to feel like you’re a team. Everybody likes to be a part of a team, and that’s our culture. We like to create the environment of things can get done very well with high effective teams, small, highly effective teams. So that concept of Office 365 Group or Microsoft Teams is very appealing to us.

 

We’re in early stages. We’re doing it with our project teams. That seems to make the most sense, because project teams that have this life cycle of, we’re getting this work together as a team, and we’re delivering what we need to the customer as output that comes out of that team and gets sent as an email and packed up to our customer. Then all the work product along the way, we have that in a team that we can kind of have as an archive, and have it in the context of the conversations, and all the information that we gathered for that engagement. We rarely need to get to that. When we do, it can surface in Search.

 

But things like a sales document that I always have to go back and look at, okay, what was the last contract that we had? What is the MSA? What is the expiration date on that? All that stuff, we want to be able to go to one place to get to that, versus having to find where is that team that has that.

 

I think if you have a clean, today, if you have a clean life cycle of, I am starting this work, and when it’s done it can stay within that team, and I’m fine with that, and I can discover it through Search or knowing which team to go to, then that’s fine. But if it really needs to reside in another location, you either have to have the discipline to deprovision that team appropriately and move the content into the right place, or you start putting in some automation to say, okay, I know when I finish this I can easily get this into the right location.

 

Danny Ryan:That makes sense. Back to the, I think in my mind, trying to sort of put this together. You were mentioning earlier on that this is sort of, Yammer is the bulletin board. I think that makes a lot of sense to me. I think it’s sort of my place, where if I wanted to put praise, or put something out there for a group of people, whether it be the All Company, or within a certain other group that I want to put a message out there, that makes a lot of sense to me. Then I was thinking, okay, well, what are the other, I think of Teams is sort of like when you get together in a conference room, and need to work together in a place for a period of time.

 

Tommy Ryan:Right.

 

Danny Ryan:Then I think of, okay, well the document libraries where we keep our contracts are sort of like the physical file cabinet. It’s like once we’re done with these things they need to go somewhere. If there was a physical analogy, it would be like the file cabinet. It has to have structure. You have to have a way of getting back to it long term. I just imagine in the office it’s like what am I trying to do.

 

Then the one to one conversations, often for me I think what ends up happening is when there’s so many different options of what to use, you go back to the least common denominator, which is email. You just come back to that. You know, often right now, in using the app mentions and things like that, it’s even like someone trying to incorporate some of the social features into email, which is interesting to see them do that.

 

But it’s just, I see like, working on new opportunities, you want to start to put the team together. You want them to, I really see like, ideally we have, from the first call that we have with a prospect, that information is flowing through to the project, to the closeout and the retrospective, where we have more of a smooth transition of information. I think right now we’re trying to capture a lot of, capture this in OneNote notes, as far as what our calls were with people, and starting to store our working files in the Accounts folder. Files for a certain opportunity, we’re keeping those into a folder structure as well.

 

It’d just be interesting. I’m interested to see how this evolves. When is it, when do I end up saying, okay, I just got a new, a good solid prospect coming in, and going and creating a group with Bruce, and letting Bruce pull in the right people to that team, and then seeing that evolve over a period of time.

 

Tommy Ryan:I think if you’re going to use a group, that a group is not a good location for a record. Things that need to go back into the file cabinet. That analogy, you’ve got a desk, and you’ve got all these papers, and you’re doing all this work. Then what are the things that you want to keep, and what do you throw in the trash can? The things that stay in the group, I almost consider as that’s the trash can, and it’s not shredded. I can go back and pull it out of the trash can. It’s not that organized. I can probably find it, if I really wanted to find.

 

If I wanted to have the efficiency of, I know I can always go here to find this type of information, then you need to take it from that group and get it into some structure. I think you need to make that conscious effort. When I’m done with this group, I’m done with this sales pursuit. I’m done with this project. Is there anything that I need to reference at a later date? Let’s make sure we have a defined structure of where that goes.

 

Then you can decide to keep that team around. The nice thing about the team that you don’t get when you put it in just a structured document library, is you don’t get the context. You don’t see the conversation thread around that, and you don’t see all the notes around that. That can be helpful if you’re really trying to do some detective work. But for the average person that just needs to get to the file, that can be just a lot of clutter, and all you want is just a simple file structures. That’s almost analogous to what you have in your own laptop, where you can actually just drill down and get that file.

 

Why I think things like Dropbox work so well, or things like Dropbox, and say, OneDrive, is I can get to it just like it’s at my fingertips. I don’t have to get complicated in terms of how I find it. I just drill down into that folder structure, and I get that document.

 

It’s interesting. I think that transition, there’s things like Flow that might be able to help us out when you get to a point and you say, okay, I’m ready to close down this project, and then based on how you’ve structured the group, it can pull out the information, or maybe just give you a reminder to say, make sure that this, and this, and this document goes to this, and this, and this location.

 

Danny Ryan:So this is probably something, when we look, especially with Teams. I know we were kicking the tires, right? Then it goes kind of quiet for a period of time. I’m just wondering, that’s great because everybody’s busy [inaudible 00:31:45]. But just, I think the teams who are using Slack have started, and I think Microsoft’s starting to do some of the integrations with Teams as well, sort of pulling in the right information at the right time. But I’m just interested to see also when do we start seeing people, where it’s more common for seeing teams work together within Microsoft Teams. I don’t know if I’m stating something or asking a question.

 

Tommy Ryan:I think, we’re using Slack, and I think we’ll use Slack for a while until Teams gets rich enough. I think they had a great first start at it. Hopefully we continue to see the efforts towards making that a richer experience. We are continuing to kick the tires. Our last project with a big data processing company, we created an Office 365 Group and a team around it to allow us to continue to kick the tires.

 

I think, especially when you say we’re real busy, being real busy, it’s hard to break old habits. You tend to go down to the least common denominator of the things that you’re using on a day to day basis. The mental energy to say, okay, how should I do this in this new way, it takes more work. It takes more effort. We’ve got certain folks that like to noodle on those things, and certain folks that say, just tell me what the standard is, and that way I know where to put it. Or have that healthy tension as we get to the point where we say Teams is the standard.

 

Maybe it won’t be, but we’re definitely in that process of figuring out how do we make it easy. When we talk to our customers, we can help them figure out, how do I make it easy.

 

Danny Ryan:I feel like I have a better handle on this. I appreciate that.

 

Tommy Ryan:Good.

 

Danny Ryan:I definitely feel like I’m, and I know this is an evolving topic too, so just recognizing that as well.

 

Tommy Ryan:Definitely. Definitely it is.

 

Danny Ryan:Awesome. Thank you for taking the time to do this, Tommy.

 

Tommy Ryan:Sure.

 

Danny Ryan:Thank you, everybody for listening, and have a wonderful day. Bye bye.

 

Tommy Ryan:Adios.

 

Danny RyanYammer vs Office 365 Groups vs Microsoft Teams

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