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The Growth of Social in Business Enterprise Software
Posted on September 28th 2012
The acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft this past summer illuminates the reality that going social is going to be the next step for enterprise software. As Yammer’s CEO David Sacks put it:
“With the backing of Microsoft, our aim is to massively accelerate our vision to change the way work gets done with software that is built for the enterprise and loved by users.”
Although Microsoft has not revealed much about their intentions, they have hinted that they will integrate Yammer with products like Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics – the latter, perhaps in an effort to catch up to the capabilities of Saleforce.com’s Chatter.
Ultimately, it’s all about bringing the collaborative aspect of social media to business enterprise software. For a Microsoft Dynamics AX user, for example, it will allow them to get more value from their ERP systems and stay better connected to suppliers, customers and distributors. Due to the inherent collaborative nature of Yammer, it has the potential to improve efficiency for CRM and ERP workflows. We may see the ability of Dynamics CRM users to work together to assess a customer complaint, or an ERP user tracking the status of an expense report.
Knowing what will actually transpire is anybody’s guess at this point, but what is for certain is the growing trend around social engagement within the workplace. Yammer’s user base is expanding at a rapid pace of 250,000 users a month, which, as Tony Byrne from InformationWeek puts it, is indicative of more and more employees, “seeking to engage while they manage formal documents and participate in structured processes. Ditto for your interactions with customers and other partners beyond your firewall.”
The point to draw from this is really that social engagement is permeating into every aspect of our lives. Social media is no longer just status posts about what you had for dinner, it is transforming into something more. And it is not just a trend for CRM, ERP or any other enterprise software; it goes deeper than that, into the human psyche and our inherent need to be social. The challenge as a business is understanding how to capitalize on this growing trend and not only use software to foster internal engagement amongst employees, but also external engagement with your customers.