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Do SharePoint Users Clamor for Yammer?

The release of SharePoint 2013 and this week's launch of an upgraded Office 365 for small- and mid-sized customers, offers enterprise a mind-numbing amount of new ways workers can find and share information. With My Sites and SharePoint Communities, the new collaboration platform offers social networking features such as activity streams aimed at fostering greater interactivity among enterprise users.

But for a richer social networking experience, Microsoft last year spent $1.2 billion to acquire Yammer, one of the leading enterprise social networks. Among other things, Yammer's APIs connect to other enterprise business systems such as SAP. Microsoft has been relatively quiet about its plans for Yammer, though at the SharePoint conference in November Microsoft said Yammer will use SkyDrive Pro to store data, the same cloud-based service it's using for SharePoint 2013 and Office 365.

Also in the pipeline this summer, users will be able to preview and edit files from their Yammer feeds via Office Web Apps. Microsoft this week also announced it will implement technology in Yammer that will translate languages, for those in multi-national and multi-lingual environments.

The expectation is that Microsoft will next year offer a version of Yammer that will tie to SharePoint. But it remains to be seen how many organizations want to add that extra component. "There's not much demand for it to be honest,"  said Errin O'Connor, founder and chief SharePoint architect at EPC Group, which consults with organizations that typically have more than 5,000 users and is already engaged with 25 SharePoint 2013 implementations. "People want to get their feet wet first with My Sites in SharePoint 2013 before they sign on another big ticket item."

Shane Young, founder of SharePoint911, which Rackspace acquired last year, said a lot of customers are trying to figure out their enterprise social networking strategies, but social is not a key reason organizations are looking to upgrade to SharePoint 2013. "From the people I've talked to at this point, a lot of them have the understanding they need to do more with social and SharePoint offers it, so it has their interest but I'd be lying if I told you a lot of these companies had a solid social strategy in place," said Young, a SharePoint MVP.

Yet others I've talked with say many organizations are clamoring to add social networking to SharePoint. A survey of SharePoint customers conducted back in August by Forrester Research found 38 percent plan to implement SharePoint's social networking features, while 25 percent have no plans. Do you have a social networking strategy? If so, where does SharePoint and Yammer fit in that strategy?  Share your thoughts or drop me a line at jschwartz@1105media.com.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/01/2013 at 1:15 PM


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