No Fun for Users in Yammer Migration to SharePoint Files

Question to Microsoft: Wouldn’t an Automated Process Have Been Better?

Hot on the heels of the news of Microsoft’s somewhat strange plans for Yammer data residency in the European Union, we have an Office 365 notification MC181531 to tell us about the storage of new files posted in Yammer groups in SharePoint.

 MC181531 Says that New Yammer Files will be in SharePoint
MC181531 Says that New Yammer Files will be in SharePoint

Slow Progress Getting to SharePoint

Progress to this point has been slow. Microsoft announced that Yammer groups would use the Office 365 Groups service to manage membership in 2017 including a closer link with SharePoint. Roll forward to Ignite 2018, and the new GM for Yammer confirmed that Yammer would soon make SharePoint its default location for file storage. Everything would happen by the end of Q4 2018.

Microsoft dutifully began to make the changeover to SharePoint in December 2018, but must have met problems as the project seemed to go into a black hole for several months. Now we’re being told that the roll-out will begin in mid-June and be complete worldwide by the end of July 2019.

Manual File-by-File Migration

There’s no migration for existing files. This data will stay in a read-only state in Yammer cloud storage and if you want to move files to SharePoint to take advantage of Office 365 data governance functionality like Data Loss Prevention, retention policies, and so on, you must download files and upload them to SharePoint, which sounds like a wonderful way to spend a wet Sunday afternoon.

On the upside, Microsoft promises “When Yammer files are stored in SharePoint, you can organize the files into folders, change access permissions on files, and have additional revision tracking and version control options.” In other words, it’s all good news and nothing whatsoever to worry about.

ISVs Apps Might Break Too

Further brightening the mood, MC181531 also tells us that the changeover might break third-party apps that use the Yammer APIs “because the Yammer OAuth token does not include claims from Azure Active Directory, which is required for accessing files stored in SharePoint.”

Could Software Engineering Help?

Perhaps I am ultra-critical by imagining that some of these issues could have been solved by software engineering before being inflicted on Office 365 tenants, but I think not. The switchover seems to be good for Microsoft because they can look forward to consolidating Yammer storage in SharePoint while delivering poor a user experience for customers.

Compared to other Office 365 apps, the feature gap in Yammer and the way that it sometimes behaves makes Yammer less attractive than it should be. That’s been the situation since 2014 or thereabouts and it doesn’t seem that Microsoft wants to change a winning formula.


For many reasons, we don’t cover Yammer much in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. A Yammer pro once offered to write a chapter for us, but that never happened. You’ll just have to read about other interesting information, like Office 365 Groups, Teams, Planner, Azure Active Directory, and so on.

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