Microsoft Teams even gets an Instagram-like story
Exactly 10 years ago today, Microsoft acquired Yammer, an enterprise-focused social networking platform, for $1.2 billion. Despite overhauling Yammer in 2019, Microsoft is increasingly focusing on Teams and its new Viva platform as the communication hub in the workplace.
Microsoft today launched Viva Engage, a new app that encourages social networking within Teams.
Viva Engage builds on some of Yammer’s strengths to foster digital community, conversation, and self-expression in the workplace. While Yammer often feels like an extension of SharePoint and Office, Viva Engage looks like a Facebook clone. It includes a Storyline section, which is essentially your Facebook news feed with conversation posts, videos, images, and more. It looks and feels like Facebook, and it’s clearly designed to feel similar, so employees will use it to share news and even personal interests.
Microsoft has been trying to make something alike for a decade, with its beginning stage of Yammer investment in the enterprise-focused social network paving the way for communities within Office-dependent organizations. Yammer’s integrations with SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics, and Skype feel more obligatory than businesses typically require.
As a result, Microsoft Teams is increasingly positioned as Microsoft’s work and communication hub, and the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the transition to hybrid work and the need for apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack. Teams is now a natural point for many corporate employees to communicate and share, and has increasingly become the form of social networking for many employees who run Teams channels.
Viva Engage will also include Stories — yes, the stories you’d find on Snapchat and Instagram and a feature Microsoft-owned LinkedIn dropped last year. Stories in Microsoft Teams and Viva Engage will let employees share like they do on Instagram, so if you’re desperate to share vacation photos with colleagues, you no longer need to follow each other on Instagram or clog each other’s Outlook inboxes.
Ultimately, Viva Engage offers another way to create a community within an organization. And Microsoft’s Teams integration and focus on a consumer-like social network could make it more successful than what has been attempted in the past. It’s hard not to think that Viva Engage was created with Facebook Workplace or Meta’s Workplace in mind, as it is now branded. Microsoft has become increasingly wary of Meta’s foray into the corporate world, and the two have increasingly collided in the Metaverse competition.
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