Connecting Technology and Business.

Use Yammer effectively - it complements your SharePoint

Here are some more scenarios where Yammer might qualify as the best platform...

  • I am writing a biography of … Does anybody have info?
  • We are putting up a kiosk to help tax payers. Any volunteers to counsel? We will decide on the date and venue soon. Wait for an announcement...
  • Contribute generously to the welfare fund for the daily wage earners in our company...
  • We are in need of a person who can run errands for our employees. Any recommendations?
  • Did you read the latest book by the bestselling author XYZ? Here are some gleanings from the pages…
  • My son is looking for some material on Nano-technology for the textile industry for his thesis. Can someone help?
  • We are contemplating on bringing in a new leave approval policy. Please provide your inputs to make the process a democratic one.
  • We have made it a mandatory requirement to bring in a helmet if you want to use the two wheeler parking. Is this a good move? Please share your opinions here…
  • We are intending to enter into the Middle East market with our product. Would our product take off here?
  • I am thankful to Mr X who helped me with his expertise on pivot tables that made my job easy to analyze my sales report. Truly, Mr X is the Mr. Excel of our company.
  • Our quarterly get-together "The successful Q4" is planned for the 4th April 2015. We are intending to do a broadcast of this through Yammer. You will see real-time content shared like photos, interviews, comments and feedback on Yammer. Try your hand at participating here at this YamJam event with your inputs and shares and make it a memorable day.
  • I came across this feature in Word that will save a lot of time for all of us who work day in and day out in MS Word. Please try and share your comments here…
  • Anybody familiar with the vlookup function in Excel? I was told that it saves me a lot of effort searching for info in a table.
  • I am on an official trip to Amsterdam. I will be sharing some of the wonderful photos that I click at this place. If you are interested, follow me here.
  • I am floating a group named The Blood Donors. Interested to join? Invite others who would be interested.

Where can I use Yammer effectively?

​Many of us have a question – I have email for official communication, SharePoint Discussion boards and Document libraries for collaboration and I have Lync for IM and filesharing. Why should I use Yammer? Here are some scenarios where you can use Yammer effectively. I want you to notice that many of the scenarios given here are commonplace in many business enterprises today. And without Yammer, you will still be wondering what to do in such ecenarios.

Who can help me with this project?

I have taken up a new responsibility in my company just a few days before. I have been handed over a project that was revived from the yesteryears. The project report gives me very limited information. I have no clue on who worked on this project or who I can approach to get some inputs on this. Some might have left the company but many might be in still – though engaged in other projects or handling other responsibilities. Some might even be staying close by me but I cannot run around asking every individual about this. Some might very well be working from other locations – even abroad. I can't send a mail to all company – I have no permission to use this distribution list. And, even if I had permission, I cannot use this means to seek help as this mail might be a nuisance to many who are not concerned with it. Most mails sent to All Company group do not receive the attention that my project deserves. Where do I go? To the All Company group of Yammer - of course.

What is our protocol to engage with So & So?

I am the newly appointed Accounts Manager. I need to connect with one of the Accounts receivables. Who had engaged with the concerned person earlier? What kind of a person is this individual? Friendly? Egoistic? Is there a hierarchy in the client company that I need to engage with to connect with this person in the most effective way and with the least resistance? Does anybody in my company have some information about the customer that will be valuable for this engagement? Is there a means by which I can gather all this information from various sources inside the company? Yes. Yammer is the answer. The Finance and Accounts group might be the one I need to approach.

Who is/are handling this account?

I am a Customer accounts manager and have been given additional accounts to handle. While some of the accounts are familiar to me, many are new. One of the accounts, I am told, might close a deal of a substantial size very soon. But I need more information than just the name of the account and the numbers. What approach might be the best? This being a sizable deal, are there other approaches that might help close the deal faster? Who are the decision makers in the customer's business? Who are all the people who have handled this account in the past? Who all have additional intelligence on this account that might drive the opportunity towards the desired result? Will "Managed Accounts" group in Yammer help here? Bingo.

I am new to the company. Where can I find…?

I am glad that I have got a job in this company. My posting is in a city I know very little of. And, I am worried as to where I will stay. Thankfully, I have been given company accommodation temporarily – only for the first two weeks. I should find a place to live. Does some staff live anywhere around the office? Is there anybody who can help me find a decent accommodation somewhere close by the office? Has anybody noticed a To Let board? Please post this info here in this "Volunteers" group in Yammer. I will be very thankful to you. And we can also become friends.

Where can I find the latest Travel Policy information?

I keep travelling everywhere on business. I hear that there have been some changes to the existing Travel Policy. What are the latest changes? Would it affect the way I work and travel? Am I still qualified for travel reimbursement to such and such a place? Would I be allowed to travel Business class in flights? Has anybody noticed any fine-print that I had missed? When is this new policy coming into force? What is the last date I can submit my travel bills under the old policy? Hundred questions? Yammer might be the right place for this. Is there a "Mobile Employees" group?

Who is going to the conference?

I have been nominated by my management as one of the delegates to the conference being held in the US. An official announcement is on its way but this might not be too soon. This being my first trip to the US I feeling a bit jittery. I am eager to know who else is going. Who is taking care of the logistics? What are the things that I need to get ready of? Credentials? Papers? Travel baggage? What must/mustn't I carry with me? What would the company provide me on its part? Does anybody know what the weather in the US during the time of the conference would be like? Thankfully, there is a group named "International conference" in Yammer. I can approach this group for most of my queries, if not all. All Employees group might provide me rest of the info.

What are the common objections from prospects?

I am one of the Inside Sales Managers in the company. We have recently launched a new sales campaign. While the training and post-training instructions have been given to the teams that will be directly involved in the customer interaction, it would be helpful if there is a common forum where all of us involved in the campaign can come together to exchange ideas and share among ourselves the everyday challenges we face during our interactions with customer. How are the customers reacting to our proposal? Is our marketing strategy right? What are the various objections raised by the customers to our product? To our price? To our offer? How many wins are happening daily and who is leading the pack in sales? Let us start a group with the campaign name in Yammer and let us all get connected for real-time information.

The competition is up to this. What do we do?

I am a member of the strategic marketing group. I have market intelligence that there is a very heavy competition to our product – feature wise as well as price wise. At least two of our competitors are resolute on breaking into our market and topple our leader's position. Unfortunately, the decision makers of our company are spread across geographies and work in different time zones. We need to address this issue with severity ONE. Can we post our ideas here in Yammer? Let "Strategic Marketing" group be the place where we will brainstorm and come up with our valuable inputs to reframe our approach. Should we add a couple of features? Is tweaking needed anywhere? How far down can we bring our price? What is the optimal dealer discount? Are there new sales incentives we can announce? What are the drawbacks in our competitors' products that we can attack in our ad campaigns? Should we take it head-on?

Does anyone have experience with…?

I have joined as the facility management guy in this company quite recently. My responsibility includes managing the audio visual equipment. The Audio Mixer in the auditorium is very old and I have never seen this all my life. I searched for the user manual in vain. There seems to be nobody around me who is aware of the operations of this equipment. Help! Has anybody in this organization handled this equipment before? Does anybody have experience in using this Audio Mixer Samson MDR 1064 -10 channel audio mixer? Can anybody lend me a user manual? Best candidate for the All company group in Yammer?

Anyone knows a good tax-lawyer?

I am now is the process of filing my IT returns. But I have a lot of clarification to seek before I can finalize my returns. My auditor has migrated to a foreign country and has not been approachable ever since. I am badly in need of some professional help in this regard. Can anyone here in our company direct me to a tax-lawyer who is trustworthy and dependable? I need somebody with whom I can trust my confidential information.

More scenarios to come...

Additional certifications for O365 - Now ISO 27018 and HITRUST

Microsoft cares deeply about supporting compliance with specific standards and regulations related to data security and privacy as required by theircustomers in various geographies and industries. They consider compliance a core feature of their services, and they make significant investments in this area to ensure that that they are continuously innovating on compliance as they do with all the other aspects of Office 365. To this end, They announced two new additions to their compliance capabilities—ISO 27018 and HITRUST in the second week of Feb 2015.

ISO 27018 compliance

In their most recent ISO 27001 audit, an independent auditor validated that Microsoft incorporated controls that comply with the ISO 27018 standard for protection of personally identifiable information (PII) in public clouds.

ISO/IEC 27018 establishes commonly accepted control objectives, controls and guidelines for implementing measures to protect personally identifiable information (PII) in accordance with the privacy principles in ISO/IEC 29100 for the public cloud computing environment.

There are three big commitments enabled by these controls:

  1. Office 365 is “advertising-free,” so customers don’t have to worry that the data they put into Office 365 is used for advertising or marketing purposes;
  2. There are defined policies for the return, transfer and secure disposal of PII; and
  3. Office 365 proactively discloses the identities of sub-processors.

HITRUST compliance

Developed in collaboration with healthcare and information security professionals, the HITRUST CSF rationalizes healthcare-relevant regulations and standards into a single overarching security framework. HITRUST leverages the concepts and rating scheme of the NISTIR 7358 standard – Program Review for Information Security Management Assistance (PRISMA) to assess an organizations security management program. The methodology is a proven and successful scalable process and approach to evaluating an organization’s information security program. The structure of a PRISMA Review is based upon the Software Engineering Institute’s (SEI) former Capability Maturity Model (CMM), where an organization’s developmental advancement is measured by one of five maturity levels.  The rating is an indicator of an organization’s ability to protect information in a sustainable manner.

Microsoft also announced that the Office 365 team, in partnership with an independent assessor, completed an assessment to evaluate their compliance with HITRUST. Viewed as an important standard by U.S. healthcare organizations, HITRUST has established the Common Security Framework (CSF) , a certifiable framework that can be used by any and all organizations that create, access, store or exchange personal health and financial information. HITRUST has a rating scheme to assess an organization’s security management program where an organization’s developmental advancement is measured by one of five maturity levels. The rating is an indicator of an organization’s ability to protect information in a sustainable manner. An independent auditor evaluated the Microsoft security program overall at a Level 5 rating, which is the highest possible rating.

These two announcements further demonstrate Microsoft's commitment as a cloud service provider to build privacy as a foundational component of their services.

Microsoft understands that security and compliance are extremely important to their customers so they make it a core part of how they design and manage the service. As they rapidly innovate in productivity services with Office 365, they will continue to invest in making Office 365 a service that is highly secure and compliant with global as well as regional and industry specific standards and regulations. One can learn more about security and compliance in Office 365 by visiting the Office 365 Trust Center.

Power Maps in Excel 2013

​Power Map is a 3D data visualization tool for Excel that provides an immersive experience for making discoveries in data that might never be seen in traditional 2D tables and charts. Power Map lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create cinematic tours to share with others.

Map Data

With only a few clicks, plot more than a million rows of data* in 3D visually on Bing maps, visualize the data with 3D columns, bubble/pie charts, heat maps, and regions.

Discover Insights

Visualizing data across space and time is not only captivating, but also informative. Notice trends and outliers in your data that was before hidden in tables and 2D charts. Use common Bing map navigation controls to travel across countries and drill into cities to get more out of your data.

Create Stories

Data is meant to tell a story. Power Map is designed to help you tell compelling stories of your data in ways that work for you. Create scenes that focus on different aspects of your data. Use annotations to callout important details. Even change the map’s theme to fit your presentation style.

Share Your Story

Capture screenshot "scenes" and build cinematic, guided interactive or video "tours" that can be shared broadly, engaging audiences like never before.

Power Map is part of several analytics and visualization tools in Excel that are available and updated monthly with an Office 365 subscription.

If you already have Office Professional Plus 2013 or Excel Standalone 2013 you can download the addin from here: