Yammer vs Teams: The Best Communications Tool to Use

Yammer vs Teams: The Best Communications Tool to Use

There are a lot of communication tools that are available right now including email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, or even Discord. But if your organization is deep in Microsoft’s ecosystem, then chances are, you’re using either Teams, Yammer, or both.

This begs a lot of questions — how do these two powerful platforms differ from each other? Which one is better to use? Is there one that’s better than the other?

Let’s get started!

What is Yammer?

What is Yammer?

Microsoft designed Yammer to be an enterprise social network aimed to enable members of the same organization to connect and engage with each other. Yammer is part of all enterprise Office 365 plans.

Yammer was launched in 2008 and was originally created as an internal communication platform. Then, Microsoft acquired it in 2012 for $1.2 billion and has since integrated it with Office 365 apps like SharePoint, Teams, and Outlook.

Using Yammer feels just like using Facebook for your own organization. As a gateway for all members to connect with each other, you can certainly create your own post, engage with someone’s post, and even send messages to others on the platform.

Although Yammer was less known compared to other apps in Microsoft, this platform took on the spotlight when Microsoft revealed an updated version during Microsoft Ignite 2019.

Exciting new features were announced that have certainly cemented Yammer as an internal social and communications system. In fact, familiar features that you see on Facebook like groups, instant video sharing, and even hero image (equivalent to Facebook’s cover image).

What is Microsoft Teams?

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a communication and collaboration tool aimed to help teams get work done faster. If you’re familiar with another tool called Slack, you can think of Teams as a bigger platform designed for large organizations and businesses.

Compared to Yammer, Teams launched in 2017. But it made headlines in November of 2019 when it reached past the 20 million active users mark, a good eight million difference from its main competitor, Slack.

Using Teams feels like you’re using an instant messaging platform with video/audio calls capability that will also let you work on documents and spreadsheets without ever leaving the platform.

Yammer vs Teams: What are the key differences?

From their general descriptions above, you can already see a lot of differences right away. Though both Yammer and Teams share the end goal of helping those within the organization communicate with each other, there’s a vast difference between the two.

Purpose

Yammer is more of a private social network with instant messaging capabilities — like how Facebook has a messenger feature. But the general sense of Yammer is for company-wide communication.

Yammer engagement center

That’s why Yammer’s feed looks a lot like Facebook. You can publish an announcement, a post, or even a poll, that everyone in the organization can see and engage with. This makes the platform suitable for the one-to-many type of communication.

On the other hand, Teams enables those in small teams from the same organization to communicate faster and work with each other easier. That’s why Teams has features like voice and video calls that will enable members to meet up with 300 to 10,000 participants.

Teams also has unique communication features like recording meetings, scheduling meetings, and even ala-Skype’s background blur. Teams is focused on both one-to-many communication through channels as well as one-to-one messaging.

In terms of purpose, Yammer is more suited for company-wide announcements with its social network features while Teams is perfect for small team communication needs within the organization with its robust messaging capabilities.

Audience size

As discussed earlier, Yammer was created with a large audience size in mind. The platform will allow anyone, not just the CEO and the managers, to send a message to the entire company, even if the message may not be that important.

Like how Facebook works, your friends can see all the posts you have published and engaged with. The only difference is your friends are your workmates, with the CEO, managers, and supervisors at the speed dial.

Teams is designed for the inner circle, being one of the communication platforms with the smallest audience size. In fact, the number of people who were mostly invited to a single team is usually less than twenty.

Naturally, an organization can have multiple teams, with individuals who may belong to more than one team. Teams will allow you to seamlessly switch between teams and engage with each team easily.

Access

In terms of access, Yammer is literally open to everyone within the organization. As a member, you can join and engage with any discussion within the platform that you can find on the feed or when someone sends you the link to that post.

Within Yammer, people can create specific groups for various purposes. Even if you’re not a member of a group, you can still peek inside and engage with a post. Take note, however, that the creator of that group can choose to make it private so only group members can engage.

It’s a different story when it comes to Teams. Communication within teams are divided by channel, and you need to be a member of that team and have permissions to the channel(s) in order to view messages. But unlike Yammer, you simply can’t pop up into a channel unannounced.

The reason for this is that you need to be invited by the team’s manager or team members to be a part of it. There is no way to hack yourself into a team’s channel without a formal invitation from an insider.

Collaboration

With Yammer, the only collaboration features that you get are the ability to engage with someone’s post right away and the platform’s integration with Office 365. The former might be a weak case, but it’s definitely helpful if you want to pitch in on a company-wide collaboration.

Since Yammer is a part of the Office 365 suite, you can easily share anything within the platform from other Office 365 products. What’s even cooler is that you can share everything on Yammer that you have uploaded on Microsoft’s cloud system.

In addition, anyone who sees what you shared can directly open it within the platform. For example, if you have shared an Excel spreadsheet, everyone in your organization’s Yammer can literally see and read the spreadsheet inside of Yammer with ease.

In terms of collaboration, Microsoft Teams is a beast. You can easily share a file with anyone on the team as well as share your screen during calls. This is handy especially when you’re sharing a presentation or graphics with the entire team.

Live collaboration within Teams

It’s also worth noting that Teams offers unlimited integrations with about a thousand apps. Every Office 365 app integrates with Teams perfectly — even Yammer itself. In fact, with the new update, you can open Yammer right inside Teams!

The cool thing here is that if you can open and read any Office 365 file within Yammer, you can work on any Office 365 file within Teams. Meaning, you can open and edit any Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document right inside Teams. No need to switch between different apps.

Yammer vs Teams: When to use one over the other?

As you can see, even though Yammer and Teams share similar objectives, both platforms are entirely different. Although some of their features kind of overlap with each other, their primary focus makes them ideal for their own purposes.

In case you jumped in here right away, here is a summary of how each one differs from the other:

  • Yammer is meant to be used as an enterprise social network with messaging capabilities. Teams is a powerful communication and collaboration platform aimed at small teams within the same organization.
  • Yammer is similar to Facebook, with everyone in the organization as your friends and connections. You can publish a post, engage with someone’s post, and send a personal message to anybody within the platform.
  • The focus of Microsoft Teams is to help teams communicate easily and make collaboration seamless. All of its features are aimed at these two purposes.
  • Yammer offers a one-to-many type of communication. That’s because everything that you post can be seen by everyone in your organization’s Yammer. It may have one-to-one messaging, but its features make it negligible.
  • Teams, though, is perfect for both one-to-many and one-to-one communications. As part of a team’s channel, you can participate in a large group chat and even have video and audio calls with the whole team. The one-to-one communication feature is as robust as the channel-type communication.
  • Yammer is accessible to everyone in the organization. What you post can be seen by all the members, unless you post it on a private group within Yammer. Accessibility on Teams is more restrictive since you need to be invited on a channel to participate in it.
  • As for collaboration, Yammer offers minor features including large-scale communication and file-sharing capabilities. Expectedly, Teams has the features you will expect from a collaboration tool including file sharing, screen sharing, and app integration.

So when do you use one over the other? Here are a few guidelines that can help:

  • For serious collaboration needs, use Teams. Remember that Teams is so robust you can actually work with others without ever leaving the platform. You can even open Yammer within Teams.
  • For company-wide communication, use Yammer. It’s Facebook-like posting and sharing capabilities will allow you to make an announcement to the entire organization easily. Every member will be able to see it as soon as they log in to Yammer.
  • For sensitive information, use Teams. Its restrictive capabilities will allow you to communicate with only a select number of people. Furthermore, no one can simply pop into a channel without being invited.

In case you have any other questions or concerns regarding Yammer vs Teams, feel free to leave a comment below or send me a direct message via the contact page.

About Ryan

As the Principal Solutions Architect at Mr. SharePoint, I help companies of all sizes better leverage the Modern Workplace and Digital Process Automation investments.

2 thoughts on “Yammer vs Teams: The Best Communications Tool to Use”

  1. I’m wondering is Yammer really needed anymore as you can moderate Teams groups’ settings so that e.g. members can only read and react, now comment on posts. So there could be one group for the whole organisations where everyone is automatically added, which acts as the main information forum (and then there’s of course the official internal website where all the documents are etc). I’ve worked in an organisation of 40 000 employees and an organisation of 200 employees where only Teams was used and no other social platcforms (Yammer, Slack etc.). Would be interesting to here, what people think is a good size for a company to need both Yammer and Teams.

    1. Hi Annan,

      There is definitely a need for Yammer. Teams is perfect for transactional, day-to-day chats where messages can easily disappear at the end of the day. Yammer on the other hand is meant to break down silos and is where employees, regardless of department or location can connect on issues that effect their organization globally. Threads in Yammer are highly searchable and although you can search in Teams it’s just not as strong of search experience when compared to Yammer. I’ve worked with organizations of 100+ users that use both Yammer and Teams concurrently and have not seen much use of Yammer in organizations with less than that.

      Both Teams and Yammer can coexist, which is what Microsoft intended but it does require a strategy and of course, making sure that employees why and how to use each tool.

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