What’s the Word on Yammer & Other Big M – Events
The long awaited day is finally here. Microsoft managed to keep silent about the details of the latest big news until the last minute. Spreading advanced notification to PR and major media outlets with a teaser that simply stated to expect a “major Microsoft announcement” all eyes were watching the ticker in anticipation of the big news. As a social media management firm, we were no exception. When the time finally arrived it was a bit anti-climatic…or was it?
The speculation on Microsoft’s purchase of Yammer for $1 Billion (with a BIG B) surprised many industry experts who were predicting the tech giant might make a move on Hulu rather than the relatively unknown social network. Indeed, in what appears to be a risky undertaking after the lackluster Facebook IPO, investors are certainly not as excited as one might have expected just a few weeks ago. So, what is so special about Yammer? It’s worth a closer look to understand what Microsoft has in mind for the future of computing.
Yammer – Promise or Peril?
Yammer is a social network that specializes in building internal platforms for business entities. For those that may not be sure what this really means, it may be helpful to think of it a bit like social media for a business network. In prior articles we talked about the future of social media including SMMS aka Social Media Management Systems…this is a precursor for exactly that type of system. To date, only larger corporations are actively pursuing such systems but the trend is expected to rapidly proliferate among all business levels and with good reason…reduced risk, increased oversight and full ownership of all content! Let’s examine each in turn.
1. Reduced Risk. In prior articles we examined the trend among small business owners in adopting multiple social media platforms as a method of reducing risk; in particular, Google+. Not only have recent weeks demonstrated the volatility of social media in the financial markets but without professional social media management and oversight, small business owners are at a very real risk of being shut down due to a client complaint, honest mistake or simply stupidity. All it takes is a few well timed collaborative campaigns sent to Facebook or Twitter to see your social media presence come to a screeching halt. One method of minimizing risk is to outsource to the pro’s who truly know and understand all the changes taking place on a day to day basis but even that is enhanced by owning your own internal social site especially for internal communications.
2. Increased Oversight. Internal social sites can pack a big punch especially when employees are distributed across different time zones or locations. Cloud based enterprise systems are not only redundant but capable of growth on an ‘as needed’ basis making them the most cost effective solutions available.
3. Ownership. Last but certainly not least is the benefits of owning the data. Social media is fantastic but in exchange for using the desired platform, corporations are often forced to make some data available to the social media site. Their site = their data. Building an internal social media network assures ownership is fully in the hands of the corporation.
In Other News…
In other news, Microsoft is also expected to announce the long awaited Windows RT tablet running Windows 8 (scheduled for launch later this year). Will it take off? It’s hard to say. The future of social media is certainly going mobile and low cost, affordable mobile tablets are making tremendous strides into the market as desktop users flock to mobile computing. The RT set is expected to include touch optimized versions of the ever popular Office suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) making it a nice transition point for traditional users. On the other hand, early word has it that Windows RT won’t be available via regular retail channels but only preinstalled on ARM powered tablets. Of even more dubious concern is the lack of support for many other traditional software programs including those of competitors. This proprietary type of thinking worked well for Microsoft in the early days of the Internet but will it continue to serve the company as well in the future? Time will tell. To date, Microsoft has been hesitant to adopt an open platform or play well with competitors; so much so that it even distributes PR items via Twitter without a Facebook option. On the other hand, Microsoft remains a household name with an established reputation in the computing field leading some to believe it is still capable of defining the terms of any business or collaborative relationship.
In a somewhat disturbing final note, recent insight into dubious business practices have some Yahoo and Microsoft users up in arms as journalists found both corporations engaged in the practice of selling personal user data to political campaigns. Good business or invasion of privacy? Let’s hear your thoughts on the brave new world of political campaigning and data mining!