Posted by: kurtsh | July 3, 2012

NEWS: Microsoft to acquire Yammer for $1.2B

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Well, this took a while but it’s finally public.  Microsoft is officially acquiring Yammer for $1.2B.

TL;DR
For the folks with short attention spans, here’s the quick version of some of the interesting distinctive features of Yammer that differentiate it from SharePoint:

  1. ONLINE SERVICE
    It’s a shared service that runs in the cloud.  It is delivered to customers from Yammer’s datacenter and accessed over the Internet, wherever they happen to be and can be stood up at a moments notice.  This is not SharePoint – there are no holes to punch in the firewall, and no reverse proxy to set up.  It is not SharePoint Online either.  There is definitely a huge amount of investment going into SharePoint Wave 15 in the social networking space but SharePoint is a MASSIVE platform for collaboration.  Social networking is just one piece of that platform & it shouldn’t at all be confused with what Yammer provides which is a social networking “pure play” that adds, among other things, the two elements below:
  2. CLIENTS
    There are numerous software-based clients for Yammer beyond the typical web browser interaction that enriches the experience for other platforms by reformatting the screen for different dimensions (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.), enabling device specific views & input interfaces (GPS for phones, interfaces that make room for softkeyboards on tablets) etc. to make the
  3. INTEGRATIONS
    The Yammer service has been provisioned to provide integration with some of the biggest products on the market – Microsoft or otherwise – that businesses use either in house or in the cloud.  Yes, this means that Yammer can be integrated with services on their local network, within a company’s Intranet like SharePoint, as well as with secured 3rd party cloud services such as Salesforce.com, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics Online.
  4. CUSTOMER BASE
    Yammer is the single fastest growing social networking platform for business and part of this is definitely it’s cross-platform availability as well as it’s out-of-box integrations with the software & services customers want.  But because it’s so easy & uncomplicated to stand up for any given customer, I believe it has very broad use in customer segments that Microsoft traditionally hasn’t had a large user base in with regard to SharePoint on premise, SharePoint Online, & our current social networking technologies.

WHAT IS YAMMER?
Yammer is a hosted online service that provides social networking customized specifically for Enterprise companies.  Often called the “Facebook for the Enterprise”, Yammer delivers turnkey social networking capabilities for companies looking to rapidly bring their organization online with social network functions like microblogging, grouping, notifications, content sharing, discussions, commentary, etc. and it does so securely & without the hassle of managing the infrastructure.

CAN YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE?
Sure.  Below is the URL for Microsoft’s own Yammer site.  You won’t be able to get into it without a Microsoft account, of course, but I thought I’d show the URL at least to drive home the point that it’s an ONLINE SERVICE.

What you see below is a snapshot of Microsoft’s own corporate Yammer social networking site in it’s early stages. (Highly redacted for obvious reasons)  Look familiar?  It should.  Yammer’s not called the “Facebook for the Enterprise” for nothing.

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OKAY.  SO IT’S FACEBOOK-ISH.  SO WHAT?
And like Facebook, there’s a lot of ecosystem elements that are developed for it that save companies interested in social networking time & effort in implementation & support.  For example:

CLIENTS
There’s Yammer clients available for Windows Desktop, iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Phone, & Blackberry.

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INTEGRATIONS
There’s Yammer integration technology that’s engineered & provisioned for more than 50+ applications – both online services & on-premise applications.  Here’s just a few of the more famous services integrations exist for:

  • Microsoft SharePoint®This collaboration software helps simplify business intelligence, content management, and search for intranets. Integrate Yammer feeds, notifications, activity streams, and more to get the most out of SharePoint.
  • Freeborders/SAPThis Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution helps improve processes for finance, HR, sales, and other departments. Surface SAP activity in Yammer, where employees can easily discover and discuss it.
  • Directory SyncStreamline provisioning and de-provisioning of Yammer accounts. Directory Sync automatically synchronizes user additions and deletions with your existing company directory.
  • Salesforce.comThis Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool helps sales organizations find and keep customers. Deliver updates on accounts, opportunities, campaigns, and more from Salesforce.com to Yammer.
  • Microsoft DynamicsThis line of ERP and CSM software applications helps improve business processes across departments. Aggregate Dynamics activity in Yammer for employees to track and share.
  • SpigitThis social innovation and crowdsourcing software helps organizations identify and manage good ideas from employees, customers, partners, and fans. Surface ideas from the SPIGITENGAGE premium product or the free ICON product in Yammer.

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