In the wake of Facebook’s plummeting stock introduction Microsoft just announced that they are buying the Enterprise equaliant to Facebook, Yammer, for $1.2 Billion. Putting social networks still in the billion dollar industry segments. Is it relevant though? Is this a smart move by Microsoft?
I have yet to meet a communication strategist or HR representative at a large enterprise that isn’t talking about getting an “internal Facebook” for their employees. The reasoning behind this is a long discussion of its own and one could argue if they really need an “internal Facebook” or if it something else.
But the key point is that influential decision makers see strengths in social media for internal communications. There is a strong market and Microsoft just grew stronger in the possibility to meet that market.
Combining the Enterprise products already from Microsoft, Lync and SharePoint, with Yammer (that already integrate with SharePoint) is a very compelling combination. Think of the possibility to have a really good network and with the ability to connect, communicate and collaborate with your peers at your fingertips (Literally using smartphone clients). I know that my workdays are much easier with those tools.
Social collaboration is having a lot of traction with Twitter starting to have the prospect of big earnings from advertisement, new services like Pinterest and smartphones really extending the social networks to everywhere, anytime; all this makes social networking a commodity. Social is getting in everywhere, even into enterprise processes. Yammer is strong here. It is very strong even.
Social Media could be a hype, Facebook’s introduction to the stock market hasn’t been flawless. And yet there are several big projects running that show real Return of Investement. So even if social networking for consumers seems to struggle, social networking for the enterprise isn’t.
Is this a smart move for Microsoft? I believe so. I know that combining Yammer and SharePoint already today gives my clients some of the functionality they are asking for. Buying Yammer and bring it closer to their other products, can only make Microsoft stronger on the Enterprise market.