The war for footing in the evolving world of social networking has intensified following Microsoft’s purchase of the burgeoning social network Yammer. At $1.2 billion, Yammer’s purchase is a significant one that instantly makes Microsoft a power to be feared in social media.
The social network acts similar to a private Facebook for businesses, allowing employees to share files, post updates, communicate with one another and coordinate events along with other functions.
Speculation abounds concerning what Microsoft plans to do with Yammer, but most experts agree the company is most likely looking to package the social network with the other business tools and offerings that have been the foundation of Microsoft’s success over the years.
A likely scenario is that Microsoft will introduce a functional social network into the traditional workplace, changing how many businesses approach communication and content management.
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With that in mind, here are three predictions for Yammer’s future as a Microsoft property:
1. Microsoft will integrate Yammer into its existing business software.
A likely implementation of Yammer is that Microsoft will integrate the social media platform with existing software, such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Sharepoint. The social media tools should make it easier to communicate between employees without them picking up the phone or walking down the hallway. For the first time, social media will become an accepted, and valued, business tool that improves productivity and workplace efficiency.
Yammer could also enter into the online storage game if it partners with respected players in the field. Partnering with a service like Amazon Cloud Drive or YouSendIt could move Yammer from a news board filled with company events to a true tool for collaboration. It would improve organization of both the system and the companies that use it, and make it easy for collaboration to happen naturally online.
2. Networking will eventually be implemented to boost synergy between organizations
With so many businesses and organizations choosing to collaborate with one another on projects, leaving each party to work within its specialties, it only makes sense for Yammer to eventually expand to support these collaborations.
This setup could allow various organizations to control privacy and access enjoyed by outside individuals and businesses without compromising the security of the rest of the organization’s private network being hosted on Yammer.
Eventually, the benefits of Yammer could trickle down to higher education and other educational institutions while furthering Microsoft’s reach into the educational market — a territory currently dominated by one of its greatest rivals, Apple.
3. Other tools and software will be integrated into Yammer to make it more useful to businesses
Before Yammer, Microsoft’s most recent major acquisition was Skype, a software platform that allows for video conferencing between two or more parties. Skype could be implemented within Yammer to make inter-office communications easier at businesses where multiple locations span several different cities and even countries.
The ability to integrate different applications and tools with Yammer — including the potential to create mobile applications furthering the reach of the social network — could revolutionize communication and content management enjoyed by businesses.
Although we’ll have to wait and see what Microsoft actually does, its strong background as a company serving business needs suggests it will continue to make this the primary focus — especially since Yammer was developed specifically for businesses.
In that sense, Yammer is the first major social network of its kind to try and address workplace social media needs and introduce social networking in a way that supports business productivity.
The real question is the degree to which Yammer will pervade the various software tools and applications offered by Microsoft, as well as how popular and widely used it becomes among various businesses around the world.