Translation of the Original Article by Siegfried Lautenbacher
Microsoft buys Yammer for 1.2 billion Dollars. Is that just a clever chess move? What does that mean for Social Business Collaboration? An assessment.
Obviously, we do not know what Yammer will be called in the future, but this joke is happily making its rounds on twitter. In this blog article, let us think about what is currently happening. First of all, I find it quite remarkable how the "Big Five" are investing in Social Business. Microsoft spends $1.2 billion, a few days prior salesforce.com buys BuddyMedia for almost $700 million, and about a month ago, Oracle took over the Social Media startup Vitrue for just over $300 million. IBM took a different path and turned its internal Enterprise 2.0 solution into IBM Connections, which now successfully paves its way for the large accounts and IBM had become the market leader in social business, according to IDC. There is also remarkable demand from the users’ side. Well, at least from the top-management side of things. All the more often we now hear “We have to do something with social”. It is interesting that the employees do not necessarily share the enthusiasm of top-management. A Deloitte study from the US shows that there are considerable differences in the perception of social media in the enterprise. For example, 45% of senior executives believe that social media has a positive impact on the culture. Among employees there are however only 27%. To me this means: Enterprise 2.0, Social Media in business, Social Business Collaboration or whichever term will prevail, has arrived in business.
Those who experiment and gain experiences today, develop a competitive advantage not only in terms of the much-vaunted "war for talent", but also in terms of the digitalization of customer processes. The potential can be raised if the “Social Readiness” of an organization is being considered and a clear benefit can be illustrated. Now, Microsoft has entered the market of Enterprise 2.0. I find Steve Ballmer’s justification interesting. He said in substance, that the acquisition of Yammer underscores the continued effort by Microsoft to provide technologies that businesses need and the people love. Whether current Yammer customers will really love Microsoft's announcement to make the service an important integral part of the Office family, the future will show. It is obvious that Microsoft can significantly expand its influence in the area of Social Business with this acquisition, and especially that they can eliminate several “social” deficiencies in their portfolio with the integration of Yammer into SharePoint, Office 365, Lync or even Skype.
It will be interesting to see what impact the deal will have on Newsgator, who are filling exactly the “social gap” that Microsoft so far only hesitantly fills with SharePoint. It is questionable whether Microsoft actually takes up the opportunities that offered with the Yammer acquisition. Or whether they will hardly continue the development of the tool and connect it with new integrated offerings, as done with Skype. In the field of Social Enterprise, mainly things are needed that have so far not necessarily awarded Microsoft: ease of use, speed and courage to transparency. Yammer could for example lose simplicity in SharePoint, which has repeatedly been primed as complicated. Microsoft has never been World Champion in terms of rapid product development. But perhaps Yammer is the starting point for a whole new view of Microsoft. A clearly changing Microsoft is palpable, even with Windows 8, the Surface tablets or in a partner policy. Exciting times. I have registered for the SharePoint conference in late autumn.
Until then, hopefully you can see the strategy behind the deal and recognize the transfer path. Please take the opportunity to comment - If you have any insights or disagree! I am happy, if I can learn!