Friday, July 17, 2015

Document conversations deprecated

It was disappointing to learn today that Microsoft has decided to deprecate the document conversations feature linking SharePoint Online and Yammer.

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Just over a year ago I wrote how this new features had been enabled:

Yammer integration has arrived

and how excited I was to see social being integrated into traditional file storage. But according to this blog post from Microsoft:

https://blogs.office.com/2015/07/16/document-collaboration-in-yammer-just-got-better-with-office-online/

at the bottom amongst the questions is this.

Previously, we announced the release of document conversations, which embeds Yammer conversations inside files stored in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online. However, we’ve seen very low engagement with this feature in its current implementation. Today’s announced Office Online integration brings document collaboration into Yammer. We believe giving teams the ability to work on files in the context of their existing Yammer groups and conversations provides a more engaging and relevant experience. As such, with this latest release of document collaboration using Office Online inside Yammer, we are rolling back the current implementation of the document conversation feature, but will continue to explore other ways for users to start new Yammer conversations from files.

Interestingly, these new features they speak of seem to only apply to:

First, the document preview and edit experience for files uploaded into Yammer are now powered by Office Online.

To my mind that is creating another silo in which information will reside as Yammer documents are different from SharePoint Online documents. Unfortunately, as I understand it, Yammer documents don’t have the same functionality as SharePoint document when it comes to things like workflows, check in / check out, approvals, etc. at this point in time.

It seemed to me that the old way of having documents hosted in a single location like SharePoint and then having Yammer conversations around these document made a lot more sense. The new changes seem to me to be encouraging people to continue to put files in different locations and in turn cause more confusion and frustration about where the ‘single point of truth’ actually lies.

However, I do see something very positive when I read further through the blog post from Microsoft:

The recently announced Yammer integration with Delve and the Office 365 Video Portal, which enables users to have inline Yammer conversations and share content to Yammer, will also remain available.

Unfortunately, this is buried at the end of the post. What in essence it says is that you should be using document conversations from Delve and not from SharePoint Online. This makes a lot of sense as Microsoft is pushing Delve as the single pane of glass across all your information repositories. I’ll be doing a post about the growing importance of Delve soon, so stay tuned.

I have championed the fact that Office 365 users need to start making Delve the central part of their Office 365 experience for two reasons. Firstly, it makes your more productive and secondly this is the direction Microsoft is moving with Office 365.

If anything, this change in document conversations indicates that poorly utilise features will be deprecated (which Microsoft will do more rapidly since it can monitor the metrics so much easier) and secondly that Delve is becoming the most important piece of Office 365!