Yammer Completes Microsoft's Massive Federation Play
If the integration is done well, we can see the day when every Outlook user, every Lync user, and every Skype user has access to Yammer's social networking capabilities.
Melanie Turek gave an excellent overview of the Yammer acquisition by Microsoft along with some well-conceived views on of the pros and cons the merger will produce. We'd like to expand on those views by providing some additional insights. By way of full disclosure, Yammer is a customer of Constellation Research, and we happen to use the tool internally. Alan likes social networking tools such as Yammer while Brent likes some of them but has been lukewarm with respect to Yammer. Brent likes Office 365 and actually pays for several accounts (they are not freebies offered by Microsoft), while for Alan Office 365 is sort of anathema (along with other Microsoft products). Hence, this article is a meeting of the minds coming together out of necessity by the markets we cover.
The Yammer acquisition follows a little over a year from the time Microsoft purchased Skype. The Skype acquisition and its $8.5 billion price tag raised more than a few eyebrows. While nothing concrete has been announced with respect to Skype integration with Lync and Office 365, it is clear that Microsoft is moving in this direction. We speculate that we will hear something more concrete about this integration later this year. Clearly, it is going to take a lot of 2-cent/minute PSTN calls to make up the price for Skype.
However, if we think of the implications that Skype brings to Microsoft, imagine the federation Lync will have with the 663 million Skype users. Consider that when Outlook is Skype-enabled, you will be able to click-to-call anyone in your contact list whether they are on Skype, Lync, Messenger, a mobile phone, or a landline. Consider as well that any Office 365 user can already federate with any other Office 365 user, even if they are outside of their organization, with full IM/presence, audio, and video capabilities. Skype integration with Lync will extend this capability to federate between Lync and Skype clients for all users.
Now add in Yammer. Yes, Microsoft bought Yammer to get access to Yammer's 5 million customers, but much more importantly, Microsoft gains Yammer's culture, reputation, and the networks/relationships Yammer and its customers have built up. Yammer is far more advanced than SharePoint when it comes to social networking capabilities; furthermore, it is already a cloud service, so it plays well with Microsoft's huge investment in services delivered through the cloud.
If the integration is done well, we can see the day when every Outlook user (on-prem or cloud) and every Lync user (on-prem or cloud), and every Skype user has access to Yammer's social networking capabilities. Yammer is available in a freemium or premium model, the later providing the advanced administration features typically required by enterprise customers. Consequently, basic capabilities are free and will play well with consumers using Skype and Outlook. It also has enterprise features that will integrate well with business users using Outlook, Lync, and SharePoint. Furthermore, Yammer can provide social networking capabilities for partners, suppliers, and other authorized users outside of an organization's firewall, which will allow those we do business with who are outside of our organization to participate in select social activities such as sharing files, participating in discussion topics, being parts of activities and projects, viewing blogs, and other social networking types of behaviors.
Next Page: Impacts