Lookout, Salesforce, Microsoft just became “The Social Enterprise.”
Microsoft just took Salesforce’s idea of the social enterprise and leapfrogged them with the announcement this week that they will buy Yammer. To be honest, my first reaction was to mourn the death of a service I love, but after further reflection I’m actually pretty excited about it.
If you believe the following statements are true, then you can probably see what Microsoft is poised to do:
- In most enterprises, CRM has a limited user base
- Microsoft Office is pervasive in a majority of enterprises
- Social happens from the bottom up, not the top down
Yammer has over 3 million users today. Enterprise organizations can start using Yammer without buying anything, and they do. While it’s possible to get a Salesforce Chatter account for free, in reality how many employees are flocking to Chatter that wouldn’t first start with Yammer?
In most of the companies I’ve been a part of, I haven’t wanted to touch the CRM system. They are typically not user friendly, of poor data quality and in many cases fragmented along departmental lines in larger companies (my company has a few CRM’s internally for various functions).
It’s clear from the announcement that Microsoft will integrate Yammer with the Office suite, and I can only assume it will be integrated into SharePoint. I use office every day. In 2009, Microsoft boasted 500 million Office users which according to later reports is now more like 750M – 1B. If Microsoft can manage not to kill Yammer by over-charging for it, they may ironically be the company that makes good on the promise of the social enterprise.