With Microsoft’s not so recent acquisition of Yammer, it sets the scene for an interesting battle on the corporate social media arena. Not only does Microsoft take on other big players like Jive and Tibbr, but they are also to some extent competing with their own future release of SharePoint 2013.
At the moment, Yammer sits outside the Microsoft farms and is essentially a standalone product. But it’s widely assumed, or should I say expected, that Yammer will be adopted into the Microsoft family like any other products/companies Microsoft has bought in recent years.
This integration with Microsoft’s infrastructure and product suites will only strengthen Yammer’s position in the market, as they will get a much wider reach with the access to Microsoft datacenters and Cloud technology.
You might be thinking “why the obsession or interest in having a social media tool? There are plenty of social media platforms available to organizations today, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.”
Yes, that is true. But these platforms do not give organizations a secure social media platform, where its employees can collaborate on various topics. At the moment, some employees might create a LinkedIn group or Facebook page, to collaborate with other professionals in their field, and thereby unknowingly exposing their organization and/or client information to other 3rd party individuals – individuals who should not be privy to these discussions.
The professionals within organizations need to have a digital platform where they can share and discuss topics, to provide better service to their clients and also the increase their own level of knowledge. The ability to set-up groups, discussions forums, collaborate on documents and even share personal experiences gives employees a much deeper sense of belonging to something special. All of a sudden the workplace becomes a social hub.
Organizations are looking for tools that can be implemented in-house or as a SaaS model that would allow their employees to do all that. And, there are a large range of products that can meet those requirements, and they all come with different capabilities, add-ons and price tags.
Now, for enterprises that have already deployed SharePoint products, the natural path is to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 when it becomes available – it’s currently only available as a beta release. I believe the announcement might be made mid-November, at the Microsoft shindig in Las Vegas. The release of SharePoint 2013 is coming too quick after the Yammer acquisition to fully integrate it, so SharePoint 2013 adopters will have to utilize the social features within SharePoint 2013.
Although SharePoint 2013 is based on SharePoint 2010, the new suite does offer a lot more Social features than its predecessors.
That means that Integrating Yammer will have to be done initially as a web part, and may be in direct conflict with some of the new SharePoint 2013 social features. The question that needs to be addressed is then what SharePoint 2013 features to suppress and when Yammer should be used. It’s essentially down to user awareness and governance.
Alternatively, do you only use one or the other?
Well, that certainly depends on Microsoft’s long-term integration plans of Yammer and whether they will ever offer it as social media within the SharePoint platform. It is also rumored that Yammer will become a standalone offering, available through e.g. Hotmail or Office 365, basically become a pay-as-you-go service.
One thing is certain. The acquisition of Yammer puts Microsoft firmly on the map as a serious corporate social media provider.
Are you planning on deploying a social media solution within your organization? If so, which solution are you deploying?
Have you looked at SharePoint 2010 or are you contemplating moving to SharePoint 2013?
HiberniaEvros will be only too happy to discuss these questions and others in more detail with you, and we can certainly assist you with your SharePoint strategy going forward.