4 years ago Microsoft bought Yammer.
For those unfamiliar, Yammer looks/feels/works identically to Facebook with the main exception that your friends are your co-workers instead of your “friends”. Similar to Facebook you are able to post whats on your mind, ask questions, create groups, chat and share a link to external content. Yammer users are also able to upload documents for group discussion.
When the $1.2 Billion sale was announced I proselytized that this was a genius move by what I hoped was a forward-thinking behemoth.
I am an advocate of “over-communicating”. As the world speeds up the companies that can focus the most brain power towards a clearly defined, tiny set of goals will most certainly have a competitive advantage.
<yammer sales pitch>Being able to harness every individuals ideas, questions, resolutions while making the entire thing searchable…well, its hard to envision that not being powerful advantage.
If you need more, with Yammer people can collaborate regardless of time zone or even whether they work inside of the same company. Its accessible through web browsers, a desktop app and almost all mobile devices. Combine this with the familiarity of Microsoft Office and you have next generation Cloud OS. With Yammer as the spine!</yammer sales pitch>
Or so I thought.
Fast forward to today and from what I can tell (I check semi-often) Microsoft has done close to nothing with Yammer. The interface, collaboration, communication and most importantly the integration with other Microsoft products has not come to bare.
Three quick examples of “I can’t believe this hasn’t happened yet”:
Create a Web-based Document
Save it in the cloud, index it. Add some meta data for easy locating.
Anyone who has ever used Google Docs collaboration knows what I am talking about.
My main communication tool is Outlook followed closely by Lync. I know Skype is now their thing but I still associate it with video chatting my in-laws. Regardless, using the native IM in Yammer is a whole other application and social graph. How cool would it be to create a doc, share it, and then have a video chat with your group all while viewing and editing the thing in real-time!?
These examples don’t even speak to just the general document storage, email or project management functionality that would harmonize naturally. They should just charge $XX.xx per month per seat, end of story.
Microsoft always has their Office handcuffs but they should be wary of their Enterprise Desktop OS market. There is still time but the likes of Slack, Asana, HipChat, Trello and others are currently winning.
Microsoft just purchased LinkedIn for $38.92 Trillion. It just makes sense that that will now be their main focus when its comes to “Enterprise Social”.
It’s disappointing because it does seems like such a missed opportunity. Yes, financially, but more importantly the opportunity to build some super-disruptive software.