Why we picked SharePoint 2013 social over Yammer social for right now

NOTE: A lot has happened since this was posted in Jan 2013, please check out my latest post on The Future of Social Collaboration

Internally at AvePoint we have been using Yammer freemium social since June 2012. We launched our new Intranet on SharePoint 2013 at the end of December 2012. One question that came up was around the integration between Yammer and SharePoint 2013 that exists today (not what’s promised with unknown dates) and whether we should move to use SharePoint 2013 for social internally. I did a lot of research into the limitations of SharePoint 2013 and have posted on this here.

I put together a pros and cons list for both and thought it would be useful to share this.

Yammer Social


  • It’s running as a SaaS in the cloud, so no need to host ourselves
  • Yammer has structured activity posting for polls and praise (but they are hidden in interface and underused)
  • Mobile apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone currently exist
  • Yammer is an enterprise social platform that links into Dynamics CRM now


  • Management of freemium is not enough and reality is need to go to Premium for compliance and management reason which is $$$ per user in on-premises licensing model
  • SharePoint 2013 has duplicate functionality like activity posting, newsfeeds, follow, communities and will cause confusion by having both platforms in play. There is no “off” button for SharePoint 2013 social features.
  • The integration with SharePoint 2013 on-premises is very weak.
    • Hard to show activity in SharePoint by default, so have to check Yammer independently
    • A follow in SharePoint 2013 won’t show up in my Yammer newsfeed
    • Creating content in SharePoint 2013 won’t show up as an activity in Yammer
    • Search results aren’t federated but alongside in an IFRAME
  • Yammer Groups has no concept of gamification with reputation or badges like SharePoint Communities
  • The “All company” feed is by default and it’s the usual suspects “hogging the feed” and not appropriately posting to groups which is a little harder and has put people off
  • If your post is relevant to multiple Yammer Groups, you have to post in all independently or share from original post
  • No update in the pipe for integration until first on-premises update which unofficial is rumored publically end of 2013.

SharePoint 2013 social


  • Will keep our Intranet sticky and engaging…”About Me”, ”Newsfeed” and “Sites” is in top right of all pages.
  • SharePoint is our core platform and would keep our employees using SharePoint more as its deeply integrated into your “About Me” profile page as well as directly into ALL SharePoint sites
  • Having one newsfeed for all activities going on in SharePoint, not looking at SharePoint newsfeed and Yammer newsfeed
  • It’s directly integrated into the search for discovery
  • The “follow” functionality in SharePoint 2013 allows me to be notified in my Newsfeed around people’s activities, document activities, site activities and tag activities. You can “like” and have discussions around these activities too. Will be a great way for departments to keep our employees in the loop.
  • The SharePoint community sites allow you to have “Top Contributors” as a concept of experts, to award badges and also “reputation points” to encourage contribution.
  • We have full control as on-premises and can customize as needed  via the API
  • The “Everyone” newsfeed is not default and so you only see the people, tags, sites, docs you follow. This means you chose what you see by default.
  • You can reach new people by using hash tags in your activity updates or discussions to relevant SharePoint communities. This gets around the issue in Yammer of having to post to multiple groups at once and then having split discussions rather than one.


  • Mobile apps that work with on-premises for Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, iPhone, iPad and Android unofficial Q1 2013
  • Puts more load on our SharePoint 2013 on-premises farm infrastructure as heavily leverages search for various aspects
  • The future of SharePoint 2013 social updates is un announced although it MUST stay as Yammer is cloud-only.
  • You have to be following a person to see responses in Community discussions (not activity replies), you do receive an email though.
  • Can’t migrate Yammer data into SharePoint out of the box

We have been using SharePoint 2013 for social for nearly two weeks now and the transition has been relatively painless apart from the missing mobile apps. We have found the fact that it is one less place to go and that it is integrated so tightly into our Intranet has encouraged adoption quickly. We have learnt a lot in the small time using it and I have blogged on some guidance on getting your users to be social.

13 thoughts on “Why we picked SharePoint 2013 social over Yammer social for right now”

  1. The problem with SharePoint social is all or nothing. Some organizations doesn’t want to enable the personal sites but keep newsfeeds and follow!

    Also SharePoint social doesn’t have any alerting features. So when someone mentions you don’t receive any email and you have to check the news feed.
    No way of sending direct message like twitter.
    I feel MS decided to stop in the middle of journey because of yammer acquisition

  2. Jeremy I think you’re spot on about adoption. The last thing any business user wants is “yet another tool from IT” no matter how shiny and pretty it is. And thus the benefits from social are only reaped when the features are seamlessly presented to the user inside their EXISTING tools such as SharePoint, Search, Outlook, Lync, Email, etc. Whats even more interesting for mature social collaboration users is the ability to take the social network graph outside of SharePoint – into any application. That’s where things will get really interesting in the coming years. Keep up the good reporting!

  3. Yammer sucks and SharePoint is becoming a monster to the point that I am seriously considering to switching to Bitrix24 or something along those lines.

  4. We were a lot further with yammer with it having been premium for over a year. Plans are to not deploy 2013 communities and to put the yammer webparts on the newsfeed page. Looks like we’re taking the opposite approach based on where we are in deployment.

    Great writeup!

  5. What I take from this is confirmation that actually neither is adequate: SP 2013 Social is weak and underdeveloped, while Yammer is all cloud and very disconnected. Many enterprises need to take a different route (extend, supplement, complement) to get to the social applications they truly need….

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