Microsoft builds on social media for Office 365 add-on

Office 365 logo in orange against a white background

Microsoft is to build on the networks produced by its Yammer social media product by launching new functionality for Office 365.

The company is set to launch Office Graph at its annual SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. The new software maps tasks performed by employees, such as uploading a document and social interactions, into a graph displaying connections between employees.

“When we acquired Yammer, one of the things we loved about the technology was how it mapped the relationships between people and information,” said Jared Spataro, general manager of enterprise social at Microsoft, in a blog post.

“In what I think is a game-changing move, we’re extending this idea to Office broadly, using signals from email, social conversations, documents, sites, instant messages, meetings, and more to map the relationships between the people and things that make your business go,” he said.

According to Spataro, Office Graph for Office 365 mirrors the way consumer social networks enable users to connect to information and people they probably never would have encountered otherwise, but in a useful business context.

The company also unveiled a new app codenamed Oslo that it claims would be the first to put Office Graph for Office 365 to work.

“By tapping into the Office Graph, Oslo provides a natural way for users to navigate, discover, and search people and information across an organisation,” Spataro said.

Microsoft also announced Groups Experience, another imported functionality from Yammer, which will help organise employees into smaller groups focused on a specific process or task.

The creation of a group will automatically provision a corresponding inbox, social feed, calendar and document library for the group members so they can more easily work together on the task in hand, the company claimed.

The final element of Yammer to be brought into Office 365 is Inline Social Experiences, which is also being integrated into Microsoft Dynamics and unspecified other core line-of-business systems. Yammer Conversations is also being brought into documents in SharePoint Online and the newly renamed OneDrive for business, formerly SkyDrive Pro.

“We’re committed to helping you put your networks to work naturally—with integrated experiences that put people and information at your fingertips, anywhere and on any device,” Spataro said.

The availability of these new services has not been specified, with Microsoft saying only that they will brought online throughout the course of 2014.

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Deputy Editor, primarily covering security, storage and networking for ITPro, CloudPro and ChannelPro.

Jane joined ITPro and CloudPro in July 2012, having previously written freelance for a number of business and finance magazines. She has also covered current affairs, including the student, public sector workers and TUC protests and strikes in central London while studying a Masters in Journalism at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Prior to becoming a journalist, Jane studied Applied Languages at the University of Portsmouth.