Yammer predictions

Having recently attended the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, Texas – you could really get the feel that Yammer is in the air.

If ever there was one product to permeate through Microsoft staff pores it is Yammer. Many internal conversations at Microsoft have moved away from traditional distribution lists and are now Yammer conversations. The product is now thoroughly integrated with both SharePoint & CRM products – replacing both of their built-in social feeds.

While Yammer contains some similar functions (eg. pages, documents, etc.) these pale in comparison to what SharePoint brings to the table – so will they remain built into Yammer, or will they be depreciated and customers guided towards adopting the big boy?

One this is for sure – and that is Yammer embodies the consumerisation of IT approach. It is easily adopted in organisations through the freemium model, its branding/sales/marketing is all funky and friendly, and it focuses on success as one of its key metrics – something that is visible through its use of “success managers”.

Many organisations have been using Yammer for quite some time. My wife actually introduced it to me several years ago when she was a project manager at a software development firm that utilised the Agile methodology. To them Yammer was a key part of their internal communications strategy.

In Australia some of our largest organisations such as Telstra (our largest telco) and NAB (one of the big 4 banks) have talked about their adoption of Yammer as part of their Enterprise Social strategies and how successful it has been. On the contrary many small organisations see it as another form of noise, however these are generally the organisations that have yet to embrace any form of social media into their business.

The purchase of Yammer by Microsoft has legitimised it as a business product and something Microsoft takes very seriously, which is something we should all take very seriously.

Several questions remain, some of which double as my predictions for Yammer over the coming year:

  • Will the functionality be split out (ie. why have document storage in Yammer if you’re integrating it into SharePoint)?
  • Will an on-premises version be made available (Yammer Server?) for non-cloud implementations of SharePoint Server and Dynamics CRM – or will they be forced into a hybrid just to utilise the service?
  • Will the chat functionality be replaced with Lync (or Skype / Skype Pro) integration?

I would say to have a conversation with me on Yammer about this, but it doesn’t really work that way. J