Choosing between the classic and modern Yammer web part

UPDATE: Just announced at Ignite–Microsoft is planning a Q1 2019 launch of the new Yammer Conversations web part. Yammer Conversations will embed a modern view of your Yammer group in SharePoint Online. Users will be able to like and comment on Yammer posts directly within the SharePoint web part (no more having to open Yammer in another browser window), or using the SharePoint mobile app. This new Yammer Conversations web part will not replace the current “modern” Yammer web part. The existing modern web part will be remain in place as the “Yammer conversations highlight.” The highlight web part renders Yammer data within SharePoint Online in a read-only view.

If you’re using Office 365 and want to integrate a Yammer web part into your modern SharePoint site, you have a choice to make. You can use the classic Yammer web part that leverages embed functionality with an older look and feel or use the updated modern Yammer web part. Microsoft doesn’t make this an easy choice, as both web parts have some big advantages and drawbacks. This post breaks down the pros and cons of each web part and provides guidance on how to choose the best Yammer web part for your needs.

To help us get started, let’s take a look at the modern and classic Yammer web parts side-by-side. The screen shot below shows the modern Yammer web part on the left and the classic Yammer web part on the right. The web parts are displaying data from the same Yammer group, but the look and feel is entirely different.

Yammer web part 07

The modern web part displays each Yammer post as a card (or tile). The visual view clearly demarcates each post, but the boxy display makes it harder to scan the content. The classic web part displays all posts in chronological order using a vertical scroll bar. While the chronological display makes the content easier to scan, the vertical scroll bar makes the web part look antiquated.

Usability
The usability of the modern and classic Yammer web parts are very different. The modern web part only includes a visual indicator for likes and comments. If you want to see details or comment on a post, you’ll need to click on the Yammer “tile.” Office 365 will launch Yammer in a new browser tab, enabling you to add likes and comments. The experience of spawning a new tab to interact with each Yammer post is jarring at best.

The classic Yammer web part offers a full-fidelity experience. Yammer likes and comments are displayed in a traditional threaded view, and users are able to like posts, add comments, and create new Yammer posts directly in SharePoint (no additional browser windows required).

Display options
The configurable display options for the classic and modern Yammer web parts are also different. The modern web part provides 3 choices for content display:

  • Top conversations: Displays the most popular posts in your Yammer group
  • Latest conversations: Displays the Yammer group’s newest or most recently liked/commented on conversations
  • Only conversations you choose: Displays the specific Yammer posts you specify. (You will need to copy and paste the Yammer conversation URL for each post you want to display)

Unfortunately, no options are provided to alter or customize the tiled display for the modern Yammer web part.

The classic Yammer web part displays all posts in a single vertical scroll list. The sort order is strictly chronological, and is based on the Yammer post creation date/time. The only display option provided for the classic web part is vertical sizing of the web part itself. The choices are incredibly limited (you can choose small, medium, or large). Unless you’re greatly limited on SharePoint page space, I recommend the large display. The small and medium options cause massive vertical scroll bar fatigue.

Mobile display
The mobile SharePoint app experience is also unique. The modern Yammer web part renders well in the SharePoint mobile app (as shown on the left below). The classic Yammer web part doesn’t support the SharePoint mobile app, so classic Yammer web parts will render as a blank grey box. Carefully consider whether mobile SharePoint access is important for your users. If mobile access is important, the modern Yammer web part is your only option.

Yammer web part 09        Yammer web part 08

Choosing “classic” or “modern”
In the end, usage of the classic or modern Yammer web part comes down to a couple of key trade-offs. To help you narrow down the choices, take a look at the summary table below. Bottom line: If SharePoint mobile access is important, the modern Yammer web part is the only option. If mobile access isn’t a priority (or is seldom used), I will often use the classic Yammer web part because it supports liking and commenting on Yammer posts directly within SharePoint.

Yammer web part 10

Setting up the modern and classic Yammer web parts
The setup process for the Yammer web parts is a little cumbersome, as both the modern and classic Yammer web part display options are incorporated within a single Yammer web part. When you add the Yammer web part to your modern SharePoint page, the web part configuration tab will appear. You’ll need to start by typing in the name of the Yammer group you want to display posts for. (Note: There is no option to display posts from more than one Yammer group within a single Yammer web part. You’ll need to use multiple Yammer web parts if you want to display posts from more than one Yammer group.)

If you want to use the modern Yammer web part, select from the three conversation display options provided (top conversations, latest conversations or conversations you choose). If you want to use the classic Yammer web part, select the hyperlink “Use the classic version of Conversations” (highlighted in yellow below). The web part configuration tab will refresh, and you’ll be prompted to specify a display size (small, medium, or large) for your web part.

Yammer web part 02

Creating a custom Microsoft Flow template gallery for your organization (part 1)

Microsoft Flow comes with a wide array of templates you can use and customize to build the workflow capabilities you need. The templates serve as both a quick-start guide and a learning tool. You can use the templates as-is or review the templates to see how others have built custom flows. You can share flow templates you create by submitting them to Microsoft’s template gallery. If Microsoft approves your flow, it will be made available to all flow users.

FlowResourceCenter_08

Microsoft Flow template gallery

But what if you want to share Microsoft Flow templates internally within your organization? Microsoft’s flow template gallery is open to the public, and doesn’t provide any safeguards for securing your internal company data or custom internal data connections. But since Microsoft Flow enables you to export and import workflows, you can build your own custom flow template gallery in SharePoint Online. You can use your gallery to:

  • Provide a browsable interface for reviewing and downloading flow templates
  • Enable the submission and approval of templates for internal sharing
  • Provide a community space where you users can access flow how-to videos and share learnings with others
  • Give your Office 365 users a jump-start for learning Microsoft Flow

In the coming weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of blog posts with recommendations on building an internal flow template gallery in SharePoint Online. I’ll also share ideas on driving adoption of Microsoft Flow. (Hint: Flow isn’t like Teams or email. Your flow users are unique, and your flow adoption plan needs to be targeted and specific as well.) I also recommend checking out Daniel Glenn’s Ignite 2018 session THR1111 – Creating a custom Microsoft Flow template gallery in SharePoint. The session provides background information on how an internal gallery can support flow usage. Thanks to Daniel for partnering with me on our concept and design for this internal flow template gallery.

See follow-up posts:

New mass file deletion notifications in OneDrive for Business & SharePoint Online

In August 2018, Microsoft announced a new email notification feature for large file deletions that take place in SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business. The feature proactively alerts users when an unusually large number of files are deleted in SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business and outlines steps for restoring the files. Mass file deletion notifications is the latest in a series of features (including the recent SharePoint Online and OneDrive document library versioning changes) designed to reduce accidental data loss.

If a large number of files are deleted from a user’s OneDrive for Business account, the user will receive an email notification with instructions on how to restore their files from the recycle bin. Users that delete a large number of files from a SharePoint Online site will also receive an email notification with instructions on restoring those files.

The tricky part is determining how many files must be deleted before these automated notifications take place. According to Microsoft, “Notifications are sent to users when a higher than usual number of files are deleted per hour.” No additional information has been provided on how the ratio of file deletions is measured or what percentage increase in file deletions is enough to meet the notification threshold. As Microsoft calls out, “This is not to be considered a fail-safe file recovery solution – it is a continuation of best efforts we are making to protect your files from accidental loss.”

No configuration changes are required for enablement of this change–it will automatically deploy in your Office 365 tenant. Rollout of the mass delete notification feature has already begun for Targeted Release customers; standard release customers will start receiving the feature in late September. Government Community Cloud (GCC) Office 365 subscribers will not receive the feature.

 

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities call for speakers (Fall 2018 edition)

SPSTC_logo_smallWe’re thrilled to welcome everyone back for another SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities! Our Fall event is scheduled for Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Our call for speakers is now open. If you’d like to be considered, please submit your session ideas and speaker bio. All submissions must be received by 11:59PM on September 9th. Speakers will be notified whether their sessions are accepted by September 20th.

More information about the Fall 2018 event (including registration and session schedule) will be posted over the coming months. Please monitor our Facebook page and www.spstc.com for updates.

SharePoint hub sites: How do you know when you need one?

As SharePoint enthusiasts, we’ve eagerly anticipated the arrival of hub sites. Hubs provide a new means of logically grouping our SharePoint sites, changing the way many organizations will manage their intranet and information architecture. But the use and management of hub sites also brings up key questions. How should site owners determine when a hub site is necessary? And what processes should organizations put in place to manage the provisioning and use of hub sites? This blog post provides an introduction to hubs and explores key criteria for the evaluation of hub sites.

What are hub sites?

Hub sites enable logical grouping of SharePoint Online sites with a common navigation and branding experience. In a March 2018 Tech Community article, Mark Kashman calls out 4 key elements of hub sites:

  • Cross-site navigation (navigation that spans multiple sites without requiring manual creation for each site)
  • Content rollup (automated aggregation and display of news content from multiple sites)
  • Consistent look and feel (common site theme and branding that drives familiarity and make sites feel connected)
  • Scoped search (ability to search all sites in a hub quickly and easily)

While there is no limit to the number of sites you can associate with a hub site, you cannot associate a single site with more than one hub. (In other words, there is no opportunity to “parent” a site under two different hubs.)

Enterprise governance of hubs

If you work in a large enterprise, be prepared to govern your use of hub sites. While Microsoft hasn’t provided much guidance on what should constitute a hub site, they initially capped the usage of hub sites to 50 per tenant. In August 2018, Microsoft announced they’ll be doubling hub site capacity, enabling a maximum of 100 hubs per tenant. This increase will begin rolling out to Targeted Release customers in September 2018, with worldwide rollout targeted for completion by the end of November.

In order to ensure your hub sites are being leveraged appropriately, I recommend putting key questions and criteria in place to govern what constitutes a hub site. Since sites are elevated to hub site status via Powershell, tenant admins can establish governing principles and/or processes to manage the creation of hub sites. If you are a SharePoint administrator, you will need to determine how hub site promotions will take place. Will you require your site owners to submit request forms for new hub sites? How should they justify whether the hub site is needed? And how much rigor will your enterprise team go through in validating these hub site requests?

To get you started, here are a few hub site questions. The questions are intended to guide site owners through the process of justifying the need for elevating a site to a hub site. You’ll want to modify these questions to suit the specific needs of your organization.

  • Do you need to centrally control the branding theme for multiple SharePoint sites?
  • Do you need to relate multiple disparate sites together with a similar branded look and feel?
  • Do you need a common visual experience for 2 or more sites so users view them as “belonging together”?
  • Do you need to apply the same navigation settings to many different sites?
  • Do you need to update your navigation settings in one location and have it automatically applied to many other sites?
  • Do you need to aggregate news from multiple SharePoint sites into a single aggregate feed for a specific audience of users?
  • Do you need a targeted search function that searches across multiple disparate SharePoint sites quickly and easily?
  • Do you have multiple sites that fall under a logical business area (e.g. Human Resources, Legal, Corporate Communications)?
  • Do you have a functional business reason to link your sites together into a hub site?
  • What value will a hub site provide to your site users?
  • What value will a hub site provide you as a site owner? (In other words, do you have a clear business objective for your hub site?)

You should also consider what operational standards are required for the management of your hub sites. With only 100 hubs to work with, you should consider:

  • Who can approve use of a hub site?
  • Will hub sites be reviewed or audited to ensure they’re still being used? At what interval will auditing take place (e.g. 6 months, annually)?
  • Will you set up thresholds for hub site management (e.g. when you reach a total of 30 hub sites in use, will additional reviews be required?)
  • Will certain key business units (e.g. Corporate Communications, Information Security, etc.) be provided a hub site right away?
  • Should hub sites be “public” by default (e.g. be viewable by all employees)? If not, why not?
  • Will you set up a required minimum number of modern sites that will be joined via a hub? (e.g. you must have a minimum of 5 modern sites to qualify for use of a hub site)

Enterprise governance of hub sites is in its infancy. Most of us are just scratching the surface, trying to determine how much (or how little) governance will actually be required. If you plan to use hub sites, start having open dialogue about hub management now. As you continue learning more about how your site owners (and your organization) engage with hubs, you can build in appropriate governance processes and checkpoints to ensure effective management.

Join me at #MNSPUG to learn how Innovation Games can support your SharePoint/Office 365 strategy

Update
A video recording of my Minnesota SharePoint User Group innovation games session is now available! The recording starts with a monthly Office 365 update. The innovation games session starts at the 00:18:37 mark (18 minutes, 37 seconds). Enjoy!


Original post:

I’m excited to be returning to the Minnesota SharePoint User Group (MNSPUG) to deliver an Innovation Games session on August 8, 2018. I’ll be introducing the concept of Innovation Games and explaining how gamification can drive SharePoint/Office 365 user adoption strategy and enrich end-user conversations. Since I’ll be facilitating live Innovation Games during the session, there will be no virtual attendance option. In-person attendees will participate in several Innovation Games and learn how to facilitate games for their end-users and business teams. Don’t miss your chance to learn how Innovation Games can drive engagement and user interest.  Register now!

What are Innovation Games?
Innovation Games are a set of simple games you can play with your customers, your peers, and your project teams to build shared understanding. There are a wide variety of Innovation Games, and each is designed to elicit a different outcome or data set. Games can uncover unmet market needs, drive product design, build/repair work relationships, or define strategic priorities. The games serve as a framework of principles and best practices you can leverage to gather qualitative or quantitative information. The data gathered through Innovation Games can be used to shape strategies, gain momentum, and build bridges with core constituent groups. Bottom line: Innovation Games are a fun way to engage your customers, your employees and your teams.

Interested in seeing what Innovation Games look like? Check out the sample pictures below.

The full abstract for the August MNSPUG session is provided below. 

Using Innovation Games to engage your SharePoint/Office 365 users
As SharePoint/Office 365 practitioners, one of our most important jobs is driving user engagement. We need to educate and inspire our users to learn about and leverage these technologies to drive Digital Workplace improvements. But how do we drive engagement, interest, and enthusiasm?

This session introduces Innovation Games, an inventive method of engaging your end-users. You’ll learn how gaming strategies can help you gather requirements, build consensus, drive strategic direction, determine business/technology priorities, and recover broken workstreams and projects. Don’t miss your chance to experience Innovation Games firsthand! You’ll leave with fresh ideas on how to liven up your meetings and drive interest and engagement in SharePoint/Office 365.

OneDrive for Business organic adoption metrics: What does good look like?

I’ve had several conversations recently about measuring organic adoption of OneDrive for Business. In an organic model, users are licensed for OneDrive but choose whether or not to adopt the platform. Since adoption is entirely voluntary, education campaigns and tracking of user analytics is vital. These analytics determine how widespread OneDrive usage has become, including its overall saturation in the organization. Companies with a directive OneDrive model have no need to measure saturation. In a directive model, usage of OneDrive is forced through the automated migration of shared drive content to OneDrive accounts or via the disablement of alternate storage locations. In either case, user saturation is at or near 100%.

So if you’re working with an organic OneDrive model, how do you determine when you’ve achieved successful adoption? A quick review of Microsoft’s OneDrive user analytics gives us a starting point. Using the Office 365 Admin Portal and the Adoption content pack, you can find:

  • The percentage of enabled (aka licensed) users that are active in OneDrive. Users are considered active if they store, share, sync, or edit files in OneDrive for Business.
  • The percentage of active users that return to OneDrive month over month. This metric illustrates active user loyalty, showing who keeps coming back to OneDrive over time.
  • The number of users that are active in OneDrive on a daily basis. Pay particular attention to your daily user trend line; it predicts whether you’re still on a path of growth.
  • The breakdown of new vs. returning OneDrive users. A useful statistic for measuring new engagement. In an organic rollout, you need a healthy percentage of both new and returning OneDrive users each month.

Organizations can easily track this information month-over-month, monitoring growth rates, studying trend lines, and building projections for future use. But how do you determine what “good” looks like? And how do you know if your organic OneDrive growth is slower than the rate of adoption at other organizations?

Let’s look at the percentage of licensed users that are active in OneDrive as an example. If only 10% of your enabled OneDrive users are active 6 months into your OneDrive rollout, are you failing to see appropriate adoption? Unfortunately, there aren’t good baseline stats to measure against. Many organizations choose to roll out OneDrive for Business using the directive model, so we can’t measure against their active user percentage. And while Microsoft has many suggestions for driving OneDrive adoption and usage, they don’t provide comparison stats on active user percentages for Office 365 customers.

It would be helpful if we could define thresholds for growth in active user percentages over time. For example, a great organic OneDrive rollout may see an active user percentage of 40-65% within the first 12 months. A slower-than-average rollout rate may have a much lower active user percentage rate (e.g. 10-20%).

To help build a comparison, I’m proposing a set of thresholds to depict poor, fair, good and excellent OneDrive organic adoption rates (in terms of active user percentage) over time. Each of these thresholds assume OneDrive has been available to users for 12 months:

  • Poor organic adoption  – 5-15%
  • Fair organic adoption – 15-25%
  • Good organic adoption – 25-50%
  • Excellent organic adoption – 50%+

Different types of organizations may have differences in their thresholds for measuring organic OneDrive adoption. I’m interested to know what others think of these thresholds. Are they too low? Or too high?

Disclaimers:

  • All opinions stated in this post are my own. My views do not reflect those of Microsoft or any other organization.
  • The focus for this post is solely on OneDrive user engagement. I purposely avoided mention of file storage statistics (e.g. number of files stores, number of files shared, overall storage space consumed, etc.) as these are not indicators of voluntary OneDrive adoption. Analysis of storage and file engagement can come later.
  • This post focuses on OneDrive for Business adoption (e.g. the physical act of storing, accessing and editing files), not business value. A study of the business benefits that are realized from adoption of OneDrive should be completed and quantified.

 

SharePoint Saturday New York City

I’m thrilled to be heading to NYC to speak at SharePoint Saturday New York City on July 28, 2018. Daniel Glenn and I will be co-presenting a new session at the event: Driving adoption of Microsoft Flow, one solution at a time. We’ll provide an introduction to Microsoft Flow, provide practical guidance on how to drive adoption, outline common workflow use cases, and illustrate how SharePoint Online can serve as a community knowledge center. Attendees will also learn how to build a reusable Microsoft Flow template gallery that enables easy sharing of workflows between business teams.

Registration for SharePoint Saturday New York City is already open. Check out the event schedule for details on all the sessions and the speakers page for details on who else is speaking. Please plan to join us–it promises to be a great event!

Join us for a LIVE REgarding 365 discussion about Microsoft’s upcoming Office user interface changes

Microsoft announced today that big user interface changes are on the way for Microsoft Office. The changes will be coming to Office Online first, but will eventually impact the desktop applications as well. Several members of the REgarding 365 team (myself, Loryan Strant, Daniel Glenn, and Darrell Webster) reviewed the changes and discussed organization strategies to drive adoption. Check out the video recording below

The importance of seeing your Office 365 users as individuals…

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Our users make their own choices. They choose where, why, and how to invest their time and energy on a daily basis. Yes, they can be required to fill out a vacation request form stored in SharePoint Online and yes, they can be required to upload their documents to a SharePoint site or to their OneDrive if access to their shared drives has been disabled. But it’s a fallacy to believe that closing doors and forcing users down a single path will achieve buy-in. Forcing usage of SharePoint and Office 365 doesn’t allow for exploration, curiosity, and growth. Users will grudgingly meet the minimum expectations, but will not invest in learning the platform.

The only path to generate true engagement is through voluntary adoption. And the core tenet of voluntary adoption is personal choice. In order for users to engage and choose Office 365, they must decide for themselves that Office 365 provides them with a net benefit. Our job as Office 365 practitioners is to drive change at the individual (not the organizational) level. This individual focus ties into our communication and training efforts. As my previous post “It’s time to be user-centric” outlines, one-size-fits-all models for driving adoption (e.g. mass email communications without personalized messaging, antiquated “train the trainer” models, and old-school documentation that focuses on features instead of business needs) won’t drive change at the individual level. A user-centric approach that accounts for individual needs and learning styles will drive engagement and excitement, building business champions that will serve as Office 365 evangelists.

So what needs to change?
IT leadership must realize that users are not a collective to be assimilated, positioned, or maneuvered. Successful adoption of Office 365 cannot be mandated, and users must be engaged as a group of individuals that make independent choices. Designing our adoption campaigns to account for individual needs and learning styles will drive engagement and stronger results.