5 Reasons Why Buying Yammer is Brilliant for Microsoft (and Its Customers)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shakes hands with Yammer CEO David Sacks

At the end of June, Microsoft purchased the San Francisco-based social media juggernaut Yammer for 1.2 billion. Yammer provides private corporate social networks to organizations all across the world, so employees can stay in touch and collaborate with each other in realtime.

This week at the Microsoft World Partner Conference in Toronto, Steve Ballmer addressed the acquisition as a “best of breed product that will fundamentally change how Microsoft and its partners communicate and collaborate” and cited it as a key move by the company that underscores its commitment to its growing portfolio of cloud services available in the enterprise.

When asked about Yammer’s purpose and potential,Yammer CEO David Sacks shared this simple but powerful nugget:

 “When we started….we had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work.”

Softchoice has been using Yammer for over two years to connect employees across North America. As a key Microsoft partner, the acquisition got our leadership team thinking… why is this acquisition and this specific technology so good for Microsoft, our customers and employees at Softchoice?

Here are 5 Reasons:

1.  It’s the right play on Microsoft’s strengths. Keith Groom our Director of Business Development for Client Services had this to say:

“I think it’s a brilliant acquisition by Microsoft. The acquisition makes sense because Microsoft is focused on being relevant in the commercial market. Yammer is an enterprise software play. Microsoft has many of the leading enterprise software products, this compliments their enterprise sw portfolio and extends their leadership in collaboration software.”

2.  It simplifies solutions for clients. Luke Black, the Microsoft US Marketing Manager for Softchoice offered this perspective:

 “We can end the debate. Do we leverage Microsoft technology or Yammer moving forward for Enterprise Social? I look forward to seeing a quick integration into the Microsoft application stack. Customers don’t want to have to go to a separate web portal for Enterprise Social…it should be a part of their intranet, email, Unified Communications, possibly CRM and ERP solutions.”

3.  It leverages Microsoft’s move towards UC and cloud-based offerings. Paul Asseff, our VP of Business Development for Microsoft noted this:

 “Cloud-based, enterprise ready social-networking that will be able to, longer-term, be integrated with Microsoft’s best in class communications and collaboration tools like Exchange, Lync & SharePoint (all of which are also now in the cloud too through O365).”

4. It enhances the user experience as a corporate communications tool. We asked our Manager of Communications, Eric Gardiner to weigh in on this purchase as well, and what Yammer integration means as a core corporate communications tool:

 “If MS’s plan is to incorporate Yammer into tools like Lync/Outlook, you’ll have an even better user experience because the functionality will be part of existing work streams where people already spend the bulk of their time. It could be a step toward a comprehensive, fully integrated communications tool that combines traditional and social approaches to communications. “

5. It creates deeper relationships, and orients people to using social at work. As the Manager of Marketing Design and Delivery, Joel Marans is front and center with all things social at Softchoice and is responsible for envisioning the company’s social strategy. We asked him how wider use and integration of a tool like Yammer with Microsoft might impact the enterprise at the employee level.

“Yammer helps Softchoice employees solve problems together, while removing the physical barriers that often get in the way of large organizations like ours. Its also a key component in our social media onboarding efforts. Because Yammer is private only to Softchoice employees, it gives folks a safe place to get comfortable with social collaboration tools, while training them to think and communicate in 140 characters or less.”

Yammer now has more than 5 million corporate users, including employees at 85 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. As a Yammer customer, Softchoice has seen first-hand the real and daily benefits of leveraging and integrating a corporate social media tool into the enterprise and with its employees. We give two thumbs up to Microsoft’s forward thinking purchase and its adoption of a tool we think will be critical in “the new era.”

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About Andrea Malloni

Andrea architects creative and dynamic marketing campaigns for the Enterprise Software line of business at Softchoice. World traveller, music aficionado and urban digital pilgrim. Visit her twitter feed @digitaltincan.