From Richard Edwards, principal analyst at Ovum:
Many employees at the junior (and now senior) end of the workforce live aspects of their personal lives through Facebook and Twitter, so the idea of introducing similar kinds of tools into the workplace seems to make sense from a communication and collaboration point of view. It’s not just Microsoft eyeing-up the opportunities afforded by the Facebook-led social paradigm shift. Established enterprise IT vendors, such as IBM, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and SAP, are all busy bringing social capabilities to the workplace via a variety of ways and means.
Microsoft already has a product that touts social capabilities – SharePoint Server, but this was designed and built in the pre-Facebook, pre-cloud era. Launched in 2008, Yammer is a new breed of enterprise collaboration solution, designed from the ground-up to exploit social, mobile, and cloud technologies, and would sit neatly alongside Skype, the communication product that Microsoft acquired this time last year for $8.5 billion.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer will undoubtedly have an opportunity impact at the commodity end of the enterprise social networking spectrum, but if Google and LinkedIn can address this aspect of the market with a compelling proposition then all is still to play for.
From Mark Eisenberg, director at Fino, a cloud and mobile application services firm:
Yammer is a good addition to the Microsoft portfolio. Microsoft’s organic additions to the Office suite such as MySites in SharePoint have not gained the traction hope for and are lacking in the robust features social networking users expect today.
SharePoint is the likely center of gravity for the Yammer platform. The mature integration to SharePoint has to be very appealing. In addition, the reach into the broad spectrum of platforms supported by Yammer will be a huge boost to Microsoft’s social networking ambitions in the enterprise. SharePoint needs to grow beyond its repository roots and Yammer can make that happen.
Microsoft’s enterprise social networking story has not been resonating to date. And Salesforce has been making considerable hay in the social networking sun. This should put them back on equal footing.
From Avioam Nowogrodski, co-founder and CEO of Clarizen, a cloud-based project management solution
As enterprises continue to become increasingly collaborative through new business processes, we only expect the concept of the social enterprise to rise in popularity.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer best exemplifies that the interest in the social enterprise will continue as business decision makers look to match the right tools with the organizational needs. In fact, solutions are adapting to better serve employee needs, and we have seen our customers paying closer attention to which solutions are best suited for their employees, clients and customers.
… As a result, you will see companies, including Clarizen, looking to fortify their leadership in the social enterprise space with continual innovation and resources put into rapidly updating software to fulfill customers’ requests and expectations … in the end, this creates a more collaborative and efficient ecosystem.
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