Yammer is increasingly becoming a standard part of Microsoft's cloud-enabled productivity software ecosystem.
The software giant is now including Yammer Enterprise with all Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans, the company announced. The move comes after Microsoft began bundling the enterprise social networking platform with its Office 365 Enterprise editions in November.
At the time, Microsoft General Manager Jared Spataro stated that while a standalone enterprise social solution is powerful, "when it's combined with team sites, email, instant messaging, voice and video, it's a game-changer." Unfortunately, the game only really changed for large Office 365 Enterprise customers.
Six months later, Spataro announced that midsize organizations and schools can get in on the act. "As part of this update, all existing Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plan customers will receive licenses for Yammer Enterprise," he wrote in a blog post. Microsoft continues to offer Yammer Enterprise Standalone subscriptions for $3 per user per month.
Office 365 Midsize plans start at $15 per user per month (with an annual commitment) with support for up to 300 users. In addition to Yammer, they include desktop and tablet versions of Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and Publisher), along with email, 1 terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage and Web conferencing.
Office 365 Education is offered in three varieties (A2, A3 and A4). All three plans, from the free, cloud-only A2 tier to the top-of-the-line A4 plan feature Yammer Enterprise support.
Added social capabilities aside, baking Yammer into Office 365 makes financial sense for firms, Spataro said. "Midsize companies are always looking for ways to increase revenue, and schools are under increasing pressure to do more with less.
Moreover, the licensing change can have a profound impact on the day-to-day operation of non-corporate Office customers, said Spataro. Including Yammer "significantly reduces the friction in cross-organization collaboration and will enable your users to work with customers, partners, and parents and students without having to worry about additional costs," he contended.
Yammer is Microsoft's mobile-friendly enterprise social platform, which the company acquired in June 2012 for nearly $1.3 billion. The software promotes social collaboration with features that include messaging, activity feeds and group conversations.
Earlier this year, Microsoft streamlined Yammer log-ins for Office 365 desktop users, eliminating the need to re-enter Yammer credentials when it is launched from the Office 365 navigation bar. Last month, the company began rolling out a new feature called document conversations. As its name suggests, the software component allows Yammer users to collaborate on Office files in real time, provided that they are stored on Microsoft's SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business cloud storage.
Yammer is also eyeing other business software platforms. In the wake of announcing a major strategic partnership between Microsoft and cloud CRM leader Salesforce, Yammer released sample code that enables Salesforce customers to embed the Yammer social experience into the Salesforce user interface.