Microsoft first entered the social collaboration arena with SharePoint 2010, but it was the acquisition of Yammer in 2012 that exposed its true interest in this area. Today, Microsoft’s social collaboration capability is split a little precariously between Yammer and SharePoint; but at SharePoint Conference 2014 the company provided insight into its longer term vision and strategy for social collaboration.
Microsoft currently provides support for social collaboration via two products: SharePoint and Yammer
In a significant step forward from the 2010 release, SharePoint 2013 provides a good collection of social collaboration features, including microblogging, profiles and connections, and discussion-based communities. Yammer is a cloud-based, business social networking and microblogging application platform organised entirely around groups, comments and discussions.
SharePoint/Yammer integration is currently limited
Although Microsoft has introduced some integration to embed Yammer into SharePoint, at present this is awkward and clunky. Failing to fully take advantage of Yammer capabilities, it also effectively negates many of the positive enhancements introduced with SharePoint 2013.
Microsoft’s social collaboration strategy centres on Yammer going forward – there will be no enhancements to social collaboration features for on-premise deployments
Microsoft has announced that although it is committed to another on-premise version of SharePoint, it will not be investing further in SharePoint’s native social collaboration features, instead focusing on Yammer as its strategic product in this space. Since Yammer is a SaaS-based service, customers will need to embrace a cloud or hybrid strategy in order to benefit from Microsoft’s ongoing investment in this area
Microsoft is investing heavily in social collaboration, with an emphasis on the Office 365 offering
At the SharePoint Conference 2014, Microsoft announced several new areas of investment designed to better connect and leverage its technologies using social collaboration technologies and concepts, including the Office Graph, Office 365 Groups and cross-application people profiles. Although release dates were not provided for everything that was announced, the first outputs of this investment will become available in spring 2014.
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