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11/12/2012
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Microsoft Sharepoint, Yammer Get Closer: The Social Story

Microsoft makes social software enhancements in SharePoint 2013, while Yammer evolves quickly.

10 Great Social Features For Microsoft SharePoint 2013
10 Great Social Features For Microsoft SharePoint 2013
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft faces some interesting decisions now regarding the future of SharePoint and Yammer. It will seek to make Yammer an affordable enterprise social networking companion to SharePoint, even as it promotes the social software features it is building into SharePoint.

On the opening day of the SharePoint Conference 2013 in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced that it will drop the price of a Yammer enterprise subscription from $15 per user per month to $3 per user per month, and Yammer will also be bundled with SharePoint Online and Office 365 subscriptions at no additional cost. (For more detail on the new SharePoint services and apps, see our related article, Microsoft Adds SharePoint Services, Cuts Yammer Prices.)

Microsoft announced the acquisition of Yammer for $1.2 billion in June and is still in the early stages of pursuing deeper technical integration with SharePoint. On the other hand, Yammer's recently announced Enterprise Graph framework is opening up additional possibilities for application integration and embeddable social components, supporting some additional integrations with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

[ Who is succeeding with Yammer? Read Red Robin CIO Named Social Business Technology Leader. ]

Today, Yammer provides a SharePoint Web Part component, which can be used to embed social feeds and interactivity in SharePoint sites. Next steps that are currently in the works include integration of identity management, document management, and feeds between SharePoint and Yammer.

"One thing that we wanted to make sure people understood was that when we started Yammer, we had a pretty good idea of the kind of changes social could bring to companies," Adam Pisoni, co-founder and CTO at Yammer, said in an interview. Although Yammer initially functioned as a separate "destination" for social interaction, its future will revolve around integration with other applications people use to do their work. "The reality is people spend most of their time in Office," he said.

One of the enhancements Yammer is previewing is file management through either the SkyDrive cloud service or the more-enterprise-oriented SkyDrive Pro, with social collaboration and integrated Web editing of documents, he said.

Jared Spataro, senior director of SharePoint product management at Microsoft, outlined the philosophy behind the Yammer-SharePoint social roadmap in a blog post. In an interview, Spataro said the new pricing for Yammer is designed to drive widespread use, but the bundling with Microsoft's cloud collaboration services is just as significant because of the sales effort associated with them. "We certainly think ubiquity is a huge part of this," he said.

Because SharePoint Online costs only $1 more -- $4 per user per month -- Microsoft expects many cloud software customers will opt for the combination of Yammer's social networking with the more-structured collaboration provided by SharePoint, Spataro said. Office 365 comes in multiple editions, starting at $8 per user per month, and adds additional services such as cloud hosted email. This bundling makes it easy for customers to choose both SharePoint and Yammer, while Microsoft continues to make "foundational investments" that will make them work better together, he said.

Microsoft is proud of the social software enhancements in SharePoint 2013, Spataro said, but Yammer is leading the way in enterprise social networking with a cloud delivery model that allows it to rapidly evolve its software in response to user feedback.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

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PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2012 | 2:33:13 AM
re: Microsoft Sharepoint, Yammer Get Closer: The Social Story
I just recently started to use SharePoint for group collaboration projects. The groups picked SharePoint over Google Docs, due to the added features and realtime edit feeds that SharePoint allows. I will say that when I am on SharePoint it is usually with a direct purpose and do not really have the time nor do I wish to be side tracked by updating my social media while I am collaborating projects. Maybe I am missing the basis of what SharePoint is supposed to do, but I still like it just the way it is!

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
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