Yammer adds external groups feature


Messaging system lets you add people from other networks

Microsoft’s message board/social network for business, Yammer, now allows administrators to invite people from outside of the Yammer network into groups for discussions and other messaging. The company made the announcement in the Yammer blog last week.

Yammer is a high-powered message board Microsoft acquired in 2012 for $1.2 billion. It lets groups stay in regular contact while working on projects and has become a major component of Office 365. However, it operates in any environment, including stand-alone, to serve as an internal messaging platform the way Notes and cc:Mail tried to do years ago.

Another bummer is that the external groups will not work with Office 365 Groups Service just yet. The Yammer team said they intend to add integration between the two in the second half of this year.

External groups allow team members from outside your organization with appropriate permissions to fully participate in a project. It allows them access to all the conversations and content in the group, which is what external partners may need.

All external groups are relegated to a distinct section under the Groups menu with clear indicators in the UI that these groups have people external to the company. Each external group requires group admin approval for external members to join, and each has a set of proactive controls through Exchange Transport Rules to prevent sensitive company information from being shared.

External messaging can be switched on and off, so the external groups feature can be disabled if a company does not want it. This is also done through Exchange Transport Rules.

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