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Where Yammer Fits in Microsoft's Cloud

I can't seem to stop writing about Microsoft, and as I have been touting for a while now, the company is in high innovation mode, striking on multiple fronts and it seems to be in a hurry, acquiring where it needs to, improving where it needs to and building where it must.

Just last week I was discussing whether or not the company would build or buy a tablet and Microsoft unveils Surface. I still think they will acquire RIM or Nokia. The latter is what I am leaning towards as its current stock price is ideal, but we will see.

On the heels of Windows Server 2012, all the new features of Hyper-V 3, new SQL server, new App-V 5, an enhanced cloud strategy with Azure now also focusing on IaaS instead of just PaaS, Microsoft finally admits that SharePoint and its social capabilities are not good enough for the enterprise and recognizes that this is an area where it desperately needs improving and developing something from the ground up would take time, so Yammer was acquired without hesitation.

Where will it fit? Everywhere! For starters Yammer will layer on top of SharePoint and extend its features for more social enterprise friendliness. After that, they will go after Skydrive for the enterprise and extend collaboration features to files -- in the words of fellow analyst Jason Maynard, "Files are to collaboration what photos are to Facebook" and honestly I could not have summarized better.

Microsoft has recognized that both e-mail and file sharing a la SharePoint are not good enough anymore for today's enterprises. Yammer will bring that much-needed collaboration and breathe life into Microsoft's products, including Office.

But what else can Microsoft do with Yammer? Well, how about integration with Lync? That would be a perfect combination. Not only can you collaborate on files in Skydrive and SharePoint, but you can also launch meetings using Lync from within Yammer. It's very similar to how Citrix will integrate Podio with the GoTo family and very similar to how Cisco will integrate WebEx with Quad.

Microsoft's move reinforces a notion I have been circulating that collaboration platforms are likely to be the next desktop, where aggregation of resources and applications happens and where collaboration is native. I think Yammer was absolutely an inevitable step for Microsoft and I applaud the acquisition. I also think we are not done seeing consolidation -- Salesforce.com and possibly SAP, IBM and Oracle are due for similar social acquisitions as well.

The Yammer acquisition clearly validates that the enterprise is ready for social business and that desktop virtualization, collaboration, cloud data are slowly converging and crossing paths to where they are a true end-to-end enterprise consumerization strategy.

What are your thoughts on the Yammer acquisition? Is your organization ready for the social enterprise?

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 06/27/2012 at 12:49 PM


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