Now that Microsoft's Yammer acquisition is confirmed, reaction is rolling in about the $1.2 billion buy. Was Yammer worth the money? Is Microsoft's bet on social the right one?
Based on IDC research, Microsoft's decision making appears sound. A new report from IDC reveals social software adoption has accelerated significantly, finding use cases across almost all industry verticals as it continues to become a critical decision support and worker productivity tool.
IDC's research found that almost all vendors in the market had double-digit growth for 2010--2011, with the top two vendors, IBM and Jive, delivering greater than 70 percent year-over-year growth -- almost double the market average. The fastest-growing vendor in the top 20 was Yammer, with a year-over-year growth rate of 132.3 percent.
Microsoft Partner Sees Potential
We caught up with Mike Snyder, president of Sonoma Partners. Sonoma Partners recently developed the first Windows 8 tablet app for the enterprise, and Snyder works closely with the Microsoft team. He told us integrating Yammer into Microsoft Dynamics will be a great long-term solution.
"Dynamics does include some strong social networking features today, but obviously Yammer has a lot to offer to make the social capabilities more complete," Snyder said. "Two obvious benefits of Yammer over the existing social features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are strong cross-platform support for Android, BlackBerry and iOS, and the standalone desktop application.
More important than just software capability, Snyder said, is that Yammer could eventually work as the single social software across all Microsoft products, such as SharePoint and Office. Right now each of these groups is doing its own thing, he said, so it would be great to see these social features all working together.
Industry Analysts Give Nod
Michael Fauscette, group vice president, Software Business Solutions at IDC, said as organizations' workspaces become increasingly divested from traditional office environments, workers will ultimately choose the most appropriate combination of tools to perform daily tasks.
It will be imperative for vendors to recognize that ad hoc collaboration will continue to complement social activity streams, Fauscette said, particularly as enterprise social software becomes more embedded in business processes and the workspace.
"Companies are turning to social software in increasing numbers as they look for ways to increase collaboration, improve both business and individual worker productivity, and efficiently manage a growing deluge of content and ," Fauscette said. "Compartmentalized and specific collaboration is still required by many organizations, and traditional collaborative applications providing closed loop and B2B communications will retain their existence in organizations alongside more open social solutions."
Richard Edwards, principal analyst at Ovum, said it's not just Microsoft eyeing-up the opportunities afforded by the Facebook-led social paradigm shift. Established enterprise IT vendors such as IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP are all busy bringing social capabilities to the workplace in a variety of ways and means.
"Microsoft's acquisition of Yammer will undoubtedly have an opportunity impact at the commodity end of the enterprise social networking spectrum," Edwards said, "but if Google and LinkedIn can address this aspect of the market with a compelling proposition then all is still to play for."