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Yammer – DirSync or AD FS (SSO) or Both?

There’s a lot to think about when planning your Enterprise Yammer implementation. How will I get users into Yammer? How will users login to Yammer? Which password will they use? How will users who leave my organization be handled in Yammer? What software do I really need to implement?

This post is all about Yammer DirSync and SSO. SSO in Yammer is a generalized term, as any SSO provider can be connected with Yammer. For purposes of this post, we will focus on AD FS, as that is Microsoft’s SSO software.

What is Yammer DirSync?Yammer

Directory Sync synchronizes your internal Active Directory with Yammer to automate the provisioning and de-provisioning of users:

  • On a regular schedule, the DirSync utility will run a lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) query against your AD DS that returns accounts that have been modified since the last successful sync.
  • The utility then connects to your Yammer network via a Yammer service account and sends a payload of instructions to add, suspend, and update users according to the changes that occurred in your AD DS.

What is AD FS?

AD FS is a standards-based service that allows the secure sharing of identity information between trusted business partners (known as a federation). AD FS is Microsoft’s implementation of the WS-Federation Passive Requestor Profile protocol (passive indicates that the client requirements are just a cookie- and JavaScript-enabled Web browser). AD FS implements the standards based WS-Federation protocol and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML).

AD FS enables SSO and a host of other services like – Web Service Interoperability, Federated Partner Management, and Claim Mapping. Please visit here for more info on AD FS.

What is Yammer SSO? Read the rest of this post »

Yammer 101 Series – Posting

Welcome back to Perficient’s Yammer 101 Series. This is Part 2 of the series. If you missed Part 1 – Introduction, please have a look. In this post, we will take a dive into the world of Posting – How to Post, Types of Posts, Topics, Mentions, and Best Practices for Posting.

How to Postyammer1

Starting from your Yammer Home screen, you will easily find the “Post box”. As with any social network, its always at the top of the screen. Yammer defaults to the Update tab and you will see the text “What are you working on”. You will also see blue links for Upload, Poll, Praise, Event and More, which we will cover later in this post.

Posting to Yammer is as simple as typing into the box and clicking the Post button. The one difference from Facebook is hitting the Enter button does not automatically create the Post. In Yammer, the Enter button is a new line. On Facebook you must hit Shift + Enter to get a new line. Small difference there and it might take time to get acclimated for some users.

When Posting, there are a few key Best Practices to keep in mind: Read the rest of this post »

Roundup: Enterprise Social ROI, External Governance in Yammer

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at the office.  Besides hopping from LA to NYC to Chicago to work with various and sundry eye-catching clients, we’ve been turning out essays on a couple of hot topics:

  • Roundup: Enterprise Social ROI, External Governance in YammerROI (Return On Investment) as provided by Enterprise Social Networks
  • Governance in Yammer, specifically External Networks

In the first instance, we’ve got an article up over at CMSWire discussing the futility of using ROI as a case for investing in enterprise social.  The wiser course by far is to leverage one of the freemium networks available (and of course, I’m personally partial to Yammer– the best one out there) and let it build value within your organization first.  That basically makes the case for you.

The second piece covers Yammer directly, and specifically goes into the design of Usage Policies for Yammer’s External Networks.  These are a great tool for communicating and collaborating with clients, vendors and partners– so long as you design a binding Usage Policy with several key guidelines in mind.  In our post on ViewDo Labs’ enterprise social blog, we tell you what those guidelines are.

Curious?  I hope so!  Check out the latest and let us know what you think.

Driving Business Value with #Yammer: Webinar Replay & Highlights

We hosted a webinar last week on the topic of driving business value with Yammer, and the session is now available for replay.

Rich Wood, Director of Perficient’s national Microsoft web and social collaboration practice, did a great job briefly introducing attendees to the idea of an enterprise social network, and shared some key things worth knowing about Yammer (for instance, it’s a cloud-based service for enterprise social, it’s Microsoft’s direction for #ESN, and pricing for Yammer is really, really good right now).

He spent a large portion of the hour long session on user engagement/adoption – what is it and what are the steps to ensuring it’s a success? Basically, it boils down to three steps:

  1. Get in
  2. Get engaged
  3. Get advanced

Throughout the webinar, we shared some of Rich’s highlights on Twitter @Perficient_MSFT:

Read the rest of this post »

#GartnerPCC Keynote Highlights Engagement, Digital Workplace

Gartner PCC Conference Keynote: Deliver Excellent Engagement Through Mobile, Social and Analytics

Jeffrey Mann and Susan Landry set the tone for the Gartner PCC conference this week by speaking to the digital workplace of the future. gartner1In their keynote on Monday, they encouraged attendees to think beyond managing systems and focus on finding a deeper way to engage with constituents – be they employees, customers, citizens or partners.

Executives have heard all the buzzwords and now have high expectations for meaningful digital strategies. They may not know what this entails, entirely, but with a little guidance, they can create a roadmap for the future. Our role is to educate customers on the opportunities while forecasting challenges in revolutionizing the business landscape. After playing a quick round of Buzzword Bingo, the duo identified 4 key “buzzwords” that are driving demand in the C-suite. They are:


This is where it all starts. Engagement can mean an appointment, something that is planned or agreed to, or even a romantic promise (pleasant or not). To truly understand the value of Engagement, the speakers asked the audience to envision a time when it didn’t occur. For example, think about the results a small group with passionate beliefs, working in close collaboration can achieve, compared to a group of disengaged individuals that really don’t care. The former is a great example of engagement and the gap is the marginal benefit of investing in this concept. So why does it matter? Research was presented showing 2.5x revenue growth for organizations in the top fifth of highly engaged organizations.


Digital has become a ubiquitous buzzword. We have been digitizing business since the age of computers 50 years ago – so what is new? Smart machines and wearable devices can make a difference someday, but what tools can we use today to define “digital” and how can we use it to our advantage to create a competitive edge? The speakers mentioned that “digital” can be thought of as the inclusion of technologies in a holistic way that enables users, improves processes and exploits tools and technologies in a new way to create additional revenue streams and ROI. They provided a great example of this – a retail boutique in NYC named “Story.” The owner installed a series of cameras that provided real-time data on foot traffic. This data was periodically analyzed and the store was able to reinvent itself every few months based on the interests of its customers. This approach led to a 30% return visitor purchase ratio and the data attracted new partners and sponsors that could quantify their investment. Story is a great example of a digital business.


We all work with content in one form or another. Content could mean something you need to manage, a form of happiness, or a document. But what it really means is “Stuff.” Everything that we create or send. It includes artifacts, objects, sounds, relationships, tweets, and videos, everything that passes through or tangent to the organization.

Content is also an asset which often goes unexploited. It not only represents what the organization does, but how it thinks.   It documents the decision-making process – good ideas and bad.   Why does all this matter, the speakers questioned?  Because content connects dots and thoughts, it can be analyzed to gather insights into decisions and anticipate customer needs or issues before they occur.  Providing content to your constituents at the right time in the right context is extremely valuable. If you and your firm only manage content, you are selling yourself (and your organization) short.


It was mentioned that integration is not a new concept. We have been enabling applications to share assets and processes for decades. So why is it important now? We have seen a large shift in the proliferation of applications, data and devices. Data and logic is scattered everywhere inside our walls on-premises, in the cloud, and throughout the supply chain.   It is more critical now than ever to pull all of this disparate information into one relevant and complete experience for the user, in the moment they need it most.

The example used was Boston Children’s Hospital. Seven million children die every year from treatable diseases. Doctors around the world have information and documents available to them, but they aren’t consumable. OpenPediatrics is a digital workplace that integrates converted surgical and treatment documents into video, animations and audio simulations so that Doctors worldwide can easily find and access the information they need, when they need it.  The solutions team did not define adoption as the end goal, real success was only achieved when more lives were saved.

Where is it all going?

We are in a unique position to take the lead in creating a digital workplace. The tools are out there, yet we often need to think outside the box, and combine these tools/concepts, in order to excel moving forward. On thing is for sure – it will not happen taking an age-old approach to managing traditional systems. You can ensure your digital solutions are succesful by looking at new technologies, collaborating with people with new insights and applying the 4 key “buzzwords.”


Upcoming Webinar: How to Drive Business Value with Yammer

Are you interested in a future that includes better collaboration, perhaps through a successfully deployed enterprise social network (or maybe you a step ahead and are already there)? How engaged is your company, or your team? How effectively does your network collaborate? YammerMost would agree that an engaged network is a powerful network, but getting there can be a bit tricky, and certainly requires proper planning.

If these are questions you’ve been asking yourself and your team, join us next week, on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 1 p.m. CT for a webinar on Driving Business Value with Yammer.  Director of Perficient’s national Microsoft web and social collaboration practice, Rich Wood, will explain what user engagement/user adoption really boils down to, including the difference between organic adoption and organizational mandate, a tried and true adoption formula, and user adoption variables. He’ll touch on enterprise social and SharePoint, and then move into what you can do using Yammer, Microsoft’s cloud-based ESN service, and direction when it comes to enterprise social (and how it integrates with SharePoint).

He’ll also explain another way to use Yammer – and that’s with Office 365. Rich will cover planning, from your cloud infrastructure to a social strategy workshop, and the importance of a communication plan that involves your corporate communications team. As Rich has said in the past, it is important to start small, and then grow big. He’s got some great tips and takeaways on ensuring success with Yammer, so don’t miss it (and if for some reason, you can’t make the session, registering will get you access to the on-demand webinar).

To register for the webinar, click here.
Office 365 Customers: Driving Business Value with Yammer
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
1:00 p.m. CDT

Yammer External Networks – Your Extranet Made Social

After meeting them at SharePoint Conference 2014, I recently accepted an invitation from ViewDo Labs to publish the occasional musing on their enterprise social blog. ViewDo is a company formed by the former Axceler braintrust to focus on enterprise social analytics, and they have a great and growing product already out there for Yammer.

This is a something I jumped at, because it’s a community blog featuring some of the people I personally read regularly; being included in their number is an honor.

My first post for them came out yesterday, and is focused on a familiar topic: Yammer External Networks. This introductory post makes the same case I’m making in a webinar this afternoon– that Yammer External networks (I’m torn on whether or not to call them “YEN”) elevate the formerly staid concept of the Extranet into a social, more truly collaborative space. Check it out and let us know what you think!

SharePoint or Office 365 – OneDrive for Business fits All


SkyDrive or OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, lync - where to start? what to install for users? Which to use when? Many of us go through these questions when facing customers or when looking to provide the best service to our internal users. So much information is flowing around the web but its always tough to assimilate in one place and get a holistic view of all these services. So I thought, why not create a series on Office 365 explaining each of these services in depth helping our technical and business users to make informed decision.

As first part of this series I wrote about how moving to Office 365 can help you utilize various channels and services. And today I am going to dive deeper into the benefits, limitations, features of OneDrive for Business (ODFB) and many things you didn’t know even existed.                                                

What is OneDrive for Business

A cloud service which provides personal library intended for storing and organizing your work documents.

Where can I get it?

It comes part of SharePoint 2013 on premise or if you are on Office 365 you can buy subscription plan. Remember even though it comes part of on prem SP 2013 the service still runs on Microsoft cloud. Check the table below for latest pricing and comparable features of OneDrive personal and OneDrive for Business.

Space & Features
OneDrive for Business
Initial Space7GB Free25GB for $2.50 user/month
Additionalup to 10GB Free (by activating camera roll backup and inviting friends)$0.20 per GB
+50GB$25 annually$0.20 per GB
+100GB$50 annually$0.20 per GB
+200GB$100 annually$0.20 per GB
Desktop Syncing, Mobile Access, create/edit office docs in browser, integration with office desktop, automatic versioning and history of documentsAvailableAvailable
Auditing & Reporting, advanced administrationNoAvailable
MFA (multi factor authentication)Available w/ Microsoft AccountAvailable
SSO/ADFS/Dir SyncNoAvailable
Standard ComplianceNoAvailable

Update: Thanks to Eric Addo for confirming the availability of MFA for OneDrive personal with Microsoft account.

Tell me more about OneDrive for Business and how can I integrate it within my business?

Last week Microsoft announced a standalone version of ODFB. This actually makes it a very strong contender for piloting new businesses with the standalone version and later upgrading to comprehensive plans. here are some interesting facts you probably did not know:yipee

  • One not so publicly available fact is that you can ONLY upgrade standalone version to Office 365 E Family plan.
  • Microsoft announced OneDrive for Business Sync for Mac client will be coming by end of 2014. Review it here: Mac Client
  • Multi factor Authentication (MFA) - Multi-factor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password. With Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after correctly entering their password. Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in. Which means if you are on one of the Office 365 plans and using ODFB you automatically can make use of MFA.
  • How to integrate SharePoint 2010 or 2013 on premise with ODFB? – OneDrive for Business redirection can be accomplished with SharePoint 2010 – while SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 adds a native configuration option in Central Administration, in 2010 you can use Trusted My Site Host locations to redirect users personal site (OneDrive for Business) to Office 365.
  • What happens to user data when a provisioned user account is removed (e.g. sabbatical)  but then re provisioned at a later date- Data stays cached and is not remove, although the period for which it stays is unconfirmed.
  • A user can have OneDrive for Business and OneDrive personal side by side w/o any issues of sharing as they both are separate consumer offerings
  • Security and Compliance - Microsoft’s focus on security spans hardware, software, the physical security of their datacenters, policies and controls, and verification by independent auditors. They break it down it in two categories a) Customer Controls b) built in security. Built-in security represents all the measures that Microsoft takes on behalf of all Office 365 customers to protect your information and run a highly available service. Customer controls are features that enable you to customize Office 365 to meet the specific needs of your organization. You can get details about both types of security features from the Security whitepaper in the Office 365 Trust Center which outlines Microsoft’s practices, compliance criteria, and more. The one concern I keep hearing from my clients is whether the document stored in OneDrive be safe and not allowed to be downloaded to personal devices. That’s a very valid concern and solution to that is Microsoft Rights Management in Office 365. This policy is attached to the document/data, so it applies no matter where your information lives, downloaded or emailed-it travels with the document. Rights Management lets you assign policies to email, SharePoint Online libraries, individual Office documents, and more. It’s available as part of Office 365 E3 & E4 plans but could be added to E1 and A2. Office team has more  information about this topic here
  • Desktop Syncing - You can sync ODFB or SharePoint site libraries to your computer and then access your library files in File Explorer instead of in a web browser even OFFLINE. All updates sync to OneDrive for Business or site libraries whenever you’re online. Because I personally have had some syncing problems (keep this link handy sync) due to which I will caution you to fully resolve any syncing issues or risk exposing your confidential content.  Take an example of a user who encounters issues with the sync client and later departs the organization leaving your administrator to figure out how to get his data out of the cloud. Now once you have sync issues it might be tough to recover leading to your sensitive data being exposed.
  • Can you pre provision OneDrive for Business spaces for users? – Yes. Take an example where you are migrating from earlier versions of SharePoint MySites or other storage/collaboration platform and you do not want to wait for a user to click on the generated ODFB link (imagine waiting on 1000′s of users….ha!) to initiate the provisioning, in that case you can use CSOM or Office Apps to pre provision. Microsoft community is helping us get there, check these links : CSOM & AMS
  • Item and Sync Limits – There has been a lot of confusion especially due to SharePoint library limits being different from ODFB. OneDrive for Business allows 20,000 item sync whereas SP library allows 5,000 item sync, that means if you go over that limit your library breaks.  If you go over 5,000 items in all folders you will lose some administrative capabilities such as setting permissions, creating indexed columns, and configuring the document library. You can
    however, have more than 5,000 items if done correctly (nested sub folders) and you don’t need to modify any settings after you pass that threshold.  There
    is a view threshold for “viewing” – but, for syncing it’s 20,000. A possible solution is to turn on metadata based navigation, and configure the most important columns as either key filters or hierarchies. That has the effect of making it really easy to create selective queries over large lists, and has built in fallback behavior for times when the user accidently selects too large a data set. Microsoft has extensive documentation on designing large lists here.
  • Migrate Data from Google Drive – No out of the box support but tons of third party vendors, one notable is Metavis
  • Sharing – The documents and folders you store in OneDrive for Business are private until you decide to share them. When you share documents and folders, you can decide whether to let people edit them, or just view them. You can send onetime doc requests to external users from ODFB today. Check here & here to learn how to.
  • Start yammer conversation from within OneDrive for Business document – Click “Post” in the document callout and communicate with your peers right from within the context of that document, and improve the discoverability of deliverables. Here is a great post by Christophe Fiessinger on the office blog


  • Nice blog about redirection of OneDrive for Business to O365 – TechNet Article
  • Everyone gets 25GB for everything – primarily files, but could be for sub sites and lists within the personal site. You are not able to set it below 25GB, and can up it in increments (50GB, 100GB, 250GB, 500GB, and 1024GB); review this latest blog about new scale for storage: Tenant Storage . Remember the my root site in the SPO admin center does not relate to individual users’ personal aforementioned quota. You can adjust the root site’s quota like any other site collection in SPO admin center, but it is not entirely necessary beyond the design elements common to everyone’s personal site (like the About Me page).
  • One recent announcement from Microsoft was around OWA and OneDrive integration- Outlook Web App now includes full integration with OneDrive for Business, allowing you to easily share files stored in the cloud as attachments in your email. There are two ways you can share a file with Outlook Web App and OneDrive for
    Business: 1. When you send an attachment from your computer or device you can now automatically upload the file to your OneDrive cloud drive and send it as a link and 2. You can also easily attach a file directly from your OneDrive cloud drive when sending an email in Outlook Web App. Both these methods makes it possible to change permissions on the document from within the email irrespective of permissions set in SharePoint library or OneDrive for Business folder. Screenshots below will give you some idea of how powerful this is and it ties directly with the Information Rights we discussed earlier. read evolution of email for more details




But just like any other product, ODFB also have limitations. The good news is that Microsoft has most on their roadmap for this year. oh no

  • Share Folder – Google drive allows you to share folder while OneDrive for Business does not- although you can use “Shared for everyone” folder to drag drop your files. This actually is a killer for many when it comes to adoption – users don’t want to have to share each document one at a time.
  • Not possible to sync an individual document inside a folder
  • Yammer Group docs do NOT show up in your OneDrive for Business ‘shared with me’ folder – This one is very near on the roadmap
  • Synchronization of SharePoint team site content is limited to WIN32 client

Hopefully you were able to see the horsepower and value OneDrive for Business adds to your business in form of sharing & collaboration while maintaining the parameters of security and compliance. At the end of the day we all need to realize that the real value of these products lies in utilizing technology, process, and people to build a community where collaboration can thrive.

Office 365 – What’s the Best Plan?

Didn’t you always wonder which plan to pick in the O365 family? So many different SKU’s providing distinct features, storage capabilities, tools, etc. I know while talking to customers one of the initial and biggest question has been around which plan is perfect for them and can they downgrade or upgrade from there. Looks like Microsoft heard and responded; very recently they released a great new resource that will help you recommend and sell the right Office 365 plan to your customers.

The Office 365 Plan Selector Tool is an Excel based tool, which recommends the appropriate core Office 365 Plan, based on the answers to a few questions around your customer’s technology and productivity needs. In addition to the recommended plan, it also provides upsell and scale back plan options, if the customer needs more or less features than in the recommended plan. I highly recommend checking out the video before you download and play with it.

Demo Video: Office 365 Selector Tool Demo

Download Link: Selector Tool

Would be interested in hearing your feedback on how do you plan to use this tool and how does it solve your current and future Office 365 engagements.

Webinar: Yammer External Networks – Engaging Customers & Partners

These days, there’s much talk about Yammer, and for good reason. Microsoft acquired Yammer in 2012, and since that time, it has become the company’s direction for enterprise social, now integrating with SharePoint Online.

While Yammer has clearly distinguished itself as Yammer_logo-featurean enterprise social network within organizations, its potential for engaging those outside company walls has yet to be realized, as most have not extended its features to engage customers, partners and/or vendors.

If you weren’t able to make it to the SharePoint Conference this year, or were there but unable to attend Rich Wood’s popular Yammer session, join us next week, on Wednesday, April 16 at 3 p.m. CT, as he again discusses Yammer External Networks: Engaging Customers and Partners.

During the complimentary webinar, Rich will explain how Yammer is redefining the traditional external network, and will show attendees how to set up, configure and govern a Yammer-powered external network. You’ll get to see just how intuitive and mobile-friendly Yammer is, and how it is accessible across all platforms. He’ll also talk about how Yammer is easy to adopt and governance-ready, and will show you how to make the most of the platform’s intuitive user experience.

You can also hear what Rich is saying on Twitter @richOthewood.

To register for the webinar, click here.
Yammer External Networks: Engaging Customers and Partners
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
3:00 p.m. CDT