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article imageOp-Ed: Microsoft wants to bring social collaboration to the office Special

By Marvin Dumon     Jul 9, 2013 in Technology
It’s been nearly a year since Microsoft acquired Yammer, a provider of enterprise social networks. Microsoft recently announced that Yammer’s registered users have grown by more than 55 percent to nearly eight million.
Yammer’s paid networks increased more than 200 percent year over year while user activity (i.e., messages, groups and files) has approximately doubled over the same period.
The Redmond, Washington-based technology giant envisions a world in which Facebook likes, blog commenting, and retweets are brought inside the office cubicle without any repercussions from the boss. In short, Microsoft wants to make money by integrating social collaboration tools into work projects which — they argue to customers — will make employees more productive.
The Office Suite did wonders in the 1990s. It eliminated the need for typewriters and brick-like calculators. However, the world is shifting away from the personal computer and laptop.
How can Microsoft secure future streams of revenue when users are spending more time at social sites and mobile?
The company recently announced that it will integrate Yammer across a number of product lines including SharePoint, Outlook, Exchange, and Skype. “The continued boom in Yammer’s growth is validation that enterprise social represents an important trend in the way people want to share, learn and connect at work, similar to how they’re interacting in their personal lives,” said David Sacks, a Yammer co-founder.
Microsoft’s new mission, some argue, is to improve office collaboration by enabling users to follow and share comments, work documents, client files, messages, and replies through social interfaces. Facebook-like features don’t have to be time wasters at the office, so long as the shared content and files are work-related.
“During the past year, Yammer has unlocked new opportunities to share the benefits of enterprise social through Microsoft’s global sales organization and product ties with key communication, collaboration and cloud productivity offerings, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” said Sacks.
Microsoft is betting that social collaboration will work inside the office, and become a means for productive workflow management. As a result, third party providers have been adding sharepoint workflow functionality to Microsoft’s SharePoint product.
Why? To remove coding complexity for clients.
“SharePoint workflow implementation requires the intervention of experienced and expensive consultants and developers and . . . it needs the programming steps of coding, testing and debugging, says Ilya Anisimov of Boston-based Comindware.
“One of the long awaited features for SharePoint has been microblogging,” says Benjamin Niaulin of CMS Wire. “As part of Microblogging, you can also ‘Follow’ Sites, Documents, People and Tags to stay current on everything happening, kind of like subscribing.”
Software companies are scrambling to cut the implementation costs of SharePoint by requiring no coding or complicated maintenance. Customers are using applications developed by companies such as Comindware to streamline the handling of tasks, project execution, issues, requests, software bugs, claims, and document reviews.
“Microsoft believes that, in order for social to become truly mainstream in the workplace, it needs to be a part of the applications people use every day,” stated the company’s press release from earlier this week. “In the coming months, Microsoft will release a number of Yammer, SharePoint and Office 365 updates to deepen connections between the services and enable greater collaboration.”
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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