Business software firm Yammer Inc. (often described as “Facebook for Business”) has agreed to sell itself to Microsoft for a reported $1.2 billion. This is a pretty big deal, and I’m predicting will turn out to be a major coup for Microsoft. Here are some reasons why you should be paying attention to this deal, and Yammer in general:
#1: Yammer really does solve many collaboration issues for enterprises.
At a number of companies I’ve worked at, departments set up rogue Facebook groups and Twitter accounts for collaboration, not sanctioned by the company at large. Yammer lets any company set up official social collaboration channels.
#2: Yammer actually makes it more fun to work.
At iluminage, the beauty startup concept I am currently developing, we use Yammer for sharing industry news, but also to share everything from personal news to awarding praise badges for team members who are making significant contributions. Participating on Yammer feels like fun as opposed to a chore.
#3: Using Yammer can lead to increased team growth.
As I just mentioned, the fun associated with using Yammer makes people more likely to use it, and have it become a modern-age version of the watercooler. “It enables those special connections we had created by bringing people together in the classroom to happen all the time,” says Mike Petersell, Director of Learning and Performance at Pitney Bowes. Bringing productive people together tends to begat greater productivity.
#4: The next generation of enterprise tech is emerging, and Yammer’s a big part of it.
The acquisition gives Microsoft the ability to compete with nimble new cloud-based enterprise software. Some of these include Dropbox, with a private valuation of $4 Billion, and Jive, which has seen its stock jump 50% since its IPO in late 2011. While Yammer can compete quite well with these companies, what’s almost as impressive is Yammer’s ability to act at the platform that other enterprise software can snugly fit into, much like how a Zynga game fits snugly into Facebook.
#5: Yammer hasn’t even scratched the surface of where it can go & what is can be.
Remember before Google went public? It may be hard for some of you to remember, but at one point, Google’s core competency was pure search for web results, and not much else. As time went on and Google’s resources increased, so did its ability to build upon its core competency and create new products. With Microsoft’s resources, Yammer has the opportunity to follow suit, creating more products and increasing the platform’s utility. Two easy examples:
a) Yammer could create private social networks for Microsoft’s (and other large companies) enterprise customers to collaborate and share best practices in a secure environment.
b) Yammer could go after the educational market, rolling out a version of its platform optimized for teacher-student and student-student collaboration. While there are examples of educational institutions using Yammer, including Pepperdine Business School, a push towards dominating the education would seem to be a very viable move for Yammer.
If this was helpful/interesting to you, I’d love if you could share with your networks. And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!