Microsoft launches the new Microsoft Tech Community for IT Pros

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Microsoft has recently launched the new Microsoft Tech Community, bringing multiple IT Pro communities together in one central location to support discussions and best practice sharing across a variety of Microsoft products and services. For now, they are moving the existing Office 365 Network on Yammer to this new Microsoft Tech Community and in future it will also support Azure, Windows Server, and SQL Server Communities.

New features:

  • New Navigation Menu that reflects all of your favorite spaces, making it easier for you to navigate from space to space.  Spaces can be discussions, blogs or idea exchanges and when favorited will appear here.
  • Microsoft Ignite Community page launched: https://network.office.com/t5/Microsoft-Ignite-Conversations/bd-p/IgniteCommunity
    • Discussions about Microsoft Ignite are happening here: https://network.office.com/t5/Microsoft-Ignite-Conversations/bd-p/IgniteCommunity
    • Coming soon: Discussion threads for each session!  Make sure you favorite the Microsoft Ignite Content space to stay up to date on the latest sessions!
    • You can find the Microsoft Ignite Community Page via the new navigation menu under ‘Events’.  In our roadmap, this Events landing page will house more than just Microsoft Ignite but in the lead-up to the September event all our events efforts will be focused on Microsoft Ignite.
  • New styling applied to Avatars.  Colored rings indicate different community roles:
    • ‘Red’ = a MTC (Microsoft Tech Community) Community Manager
    • ‘Blue’ = a Microsoft Employee
    • ‘Green’ = a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional)
  • Profile Hovercards activated when hovering over a member’s avatar so you can easily see which organization they belong to and what their activity is on the MTC
    • A ‘Follow’ button will be applied soon and we are working on a ‘People’ section to help you manage your networks and feeds from the people you follow in the MTC
  • Toggle between Blogs and Discussions in Communities: While we don’t have blogs everywhere in the community yet, we are supporting the concept of blogs in the community.  This will be where Microsoft Product Experts will be sharing product news, insight into how Microsoft products work and best practices they’ve observed.  ‘Favorite’ Blog spaces to power your feed in your Home Page.

The URL of the new community will change soon to http://techcommunity.microsoft.com and redirects will be in place for any existing URL on the http://network.office.com domain. In the future, they will add new features like the ability to ‘Follow’ users via a button on their hovercard, refinements for threading and whitespace in conversations for desktop and on mobile and more.

Why they are moving away from Yammer?

  • The move of the Office 365 Network away from Yammer is to allow for unauthenticated viewing and indexing community results via search. This scenario of supporting Internet-public forums is not what the Yammer product is for. We believe there are other, more important investments for Yammer that will benefit customers more. Yammer is for collaborating and communicating in smaller (yet still large – our largest today would be around 500k-600k users) organizations and networks.
    As a company we are still very much committed to Yammer as a product. We believe it provides a best-in-class enterprise social solution for our customers and we have millions of Office 365 customers using Yammer. The product team are making many changes to handle this scale.
  • The Office 365 Network provides tremendous value to our customers through the power of network knowledge and collective experience sharing, which would be highly beneficial if discoverable by Bing and Google search. However today most customers who have not joined the Office 365 Network on Yammer can’t find that information. We have not turned SEO on but already we have seen a huge spike in membership. Of course the shutdown of this network is an impetus to drive people to the Microsoft Tech Community. If this community did not provide value to its members we wouldn’t see us hitting over 10,000 members today. We expect many more to join during Microsoft Ignite and after the event has finished. SEO will be turned on before Microsoft Ignite.
  • We established early on that read-only access is not possible on Yammer networks. If that option was available to us we would have explored it further but sadly it isn’t.
    Migration of conversations is a loaded topic because 1) for a migrated conversation to be meaningful every person on that thread needs to be a member of the community. 2) Turning SEO on means anyone can view and read your conversations. The Office 365 Network on Yammer was a closed network and community results could not be searched. To respect the privacy of members who do not wish to have their conversations found via search engines, we are not migrating conversations to the new community that allows for unauthenticated viewing.

Check out the new Microsoft Tech Community and let us know your experience.

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