It’s amazing to watch the confusion followed by crazy mudslinging that’s going on in the market these days. The big acquisition a year ago by Microsoft has endorsed enterprise social in a big way. I’m personally looking forward to the big battles ahead of head on SalesForce.com with Chatter, and Jive Software as well as Microsoft Social with CRM and SharePoint and more building on the Yammer social roadmap. Looking forward to following this in my new role. Microsoft has made big bets, and over the course of the next year I hope and expect to see a clearer road ahead. Thus far we really are only seeing the first steps in the combined Yammer and SharePoint social solution, and at this point everyone seems confused about the pace and the results. I’m looking forward to the Yammer Roadshow of Working Social, where Adam Pisoni will be speaking more about the path of success and transformation. I’m also anxious to see more through a set of webinars that Yammer has been producing. I think Yammer has seen a gap in roles and education, which is why we’re seeing more and more of a push for Yammer University or certifications. I think you’ll also see some serious roles come out of the enterprise with community managers, yambassadors, and yammer consultants. More on that topic later…
These past couple of days I’ve had a great conversation with Beezy. A year ago they were told that SharePoint was going to solve its social gaps with Yammer. To this day the market is still unfortunately very confused about what this solution will really look like. On one hand Microsoft has a bit of a social feed and activities with SharePoint 2013, and on the other hand simple things like attaching a document to the feed are absolutely a challenge without a lot of knowledge and a lot of extra clicking. They see customers as identified in this banner on their homepage at beezy.net
Beezy Banner Does it go too far?
Beezy has taken advantage of these gaps and put a lot of information about how great they fill in the gaps and how much easier it is on the layer they add to SharePoint 2010 and 2013. They haven’t had as much of a challenge with Yammer since their current clients are focused on customized on premise deployments. They don’t think customers are going to want two places to go… The social stream and the Intranet, they think those should be one…
With all of the Yammer emphasis in the cloud, there’s a question if the commodity service and APIs exposed just don’t provide enough of a platform to work with. An article on TechRepublic “How Yammer is killing enterprise social networking” is explicitly talking about integration, customization, and how Yammer is not living up to the hype. All social tools aren’t living up to the hype. It’s hard. There’s a lot of education that has to happen across the organization. Corporate communications and others really need to learn how to really leverage the platform. It will take time. I think Microsoft is right to start with a commoditized utility platform with a rich API and then support a layer of customization. Intranets will need to become more and more social, but the water cooler still needs to exist, whether it gets included as a stream on the home page or simply a link such as news feed or Yammer. Notifications across the enterprise need to get much more simple and consolidated as well. There’s a long way to go enterprise to go to catch up to the consumer world.
Social isn’t going away. Microsoft has made a smart investment in the market leader in social, and I believe we will see a number of attempts to move the market of social forward. Beezy with its approach of combining the Intranet with the social platform in one is a smart approach. Don’t force your users to move. As Microsoft’s ultimate strategy gets unwound, I think we’ll see a lot more following a similar thread at least in the cloud. Yammer and SharePoint will start to blend.
ViewPoint by ViewDo Labs will allow enterprises to figure out what is happening. The approach allows community managers, departments or even IT insights in a federated dashboard for both SharePoint and Yammer and soon other platforms to co-exist and see what is working best. These analytics should help shape the conversations across the business as it relates to what is happening right under their noses. They can monitor keywords and gain insights and view analytics into influencers, groups, sites, etc… Is social making a difference? We shall see and ViewDo Labs will be there to help companies understand the ROI and see who is doing the moving and shaking when it happens. Part of what is missing is the governance and policies. It’s been expressed that the enterprise social platform is really 10% of what is needed for success. Much of it is in the process, operationalizing, and socializing of the platform but also in keeping it governed to a level that it can be trusted and adopted.
It is really important that those who have invested in on premise SharePoint take note that Microsoft has not abandoned you. They are just more worried about the massive investment in Yammer and Office365 which is the real bet. Apparently On premise is not going away. Thanks for confirming this Bill Baer. The FUD was really getting bad on this topic. Please keep talking about Server Solutions and On Premise, so we know these exist. Otherwise people get really scared. Let’s get more of the team opening up their mouths to share more of this news. Even better if we don’t have to wait till SPC to hear this message confirmed. We are all very excited to hear more at SPC!
Is it Yammer or simply the marketing team that has caused a bit of a grind around SharePoint 2013 upgrade and adoption. I did a poll recently and found that much of what keeps people back from upgrading is the unclear road map. Microsoft, please don’t wait for SPC. Please continue to share the story in a way that it doesn’t sound all cloudy.