When Microsoft acquired Yammer in June of this year, they paid $1.2 billion in cash and revealed to the world their belief in the importance of enterprise social networking for business. Throughout their research, Microsoft had seen how open conversations and personal connections could improve innovation and strategic initiatives. They saw evidence that social enterprise could increase employee engagement, improve team collaboration, enhance business agility and build cross-organisational connections- and they were keen to bring this power to their own clients.
Microsoft has broken their social enterprise strategy into two key areas – delivering experiences people want, and ensuring IT platform requirements are met. In terms of the experiences people want, the aim is to create a truly integrated experience where newsfeeds, instant message, voice, video and email all synchronise and seamlessly work together regardless of device or location.
The main need surrounding IT platforms is security. It’s hard enough creating a secure environment for email and files to be stored, let alone managing instant messages, news feeds and multimedia shared across multiple devices. But for any social enterprise to function efficiently, these concerns have to be addressed.
This all comes back to the reason why Microsoft decided to acquire Yammer. On one end we have the collaboration, security and entry level social aspects of SharePoint, and on the other we have the market leading social networking and people collaboration focus of Yammer. It is through bringing these technologies together that Microsoft is able to accelerate their ambitions of delivering the perfectly integrated social enterprise solution to drive innovation, teamwork and efficiency.
Let’s hope they succeed.