The market for social software in the workplace includes vendors whose software products are used primarily to support people working together in teams, communities or networks. They are used mainly within enterprises, primarily by employees, but also by external customers, suppliers and partners. Gartner recently released its Magic Quadrant for Social software and Microsoft was placed in the leaders category. By integrating the components of Yammer with Office 365, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to deliver value to our customers.
Microsoft is in the Leaders quadrant. Although SharePoint has been positioned in the past as a social product, Microsoft has shifted its social efforts to its online offerings Yammer and Office 365 (through closer incorporation of Yammer with the rest of Office 365). Although Yammer and SharePoint will remain distinct but integrated products, Microsoft will concentrate its future social enhancements exclusively on Yammer, while focusing SharePoint on related capabilities, including document management, portal capabilities, application development, business intelligence and Web content management.
- Integration: Microsoft is progressively integrating the components of Office 365 more closely, to enable easier access to the capabilities of Exchange, SharePoint, Yammer, Lync and Office. Yammer is also becoming a “social layer” across other Microsoft products, especially Dynamics CRM, Lync/Skype and on-premises SharePoint Server.
- Road map: Microsoft has started to provide more details about its plans for Office 365, which include interesting and useful enhancements such as the Office Graph and a new app called Delve (formerly codename Oslo) to navigate it, a wider implementation of the Yammer groups concept across Office 365, and deeper integration with Office Online.
- Viability: Interest in, and adoption of, Office 365 and related Microsoft products are very high. Microsoft can measure its social and collaboration business in the billions of dollars. It would take disruptive events or serious missteps for Microsoft to lose its leadership position in this market.
- Architecture: Microsoft’s move toward the cloud in the form of Office 365, and its de-emphasis of SharePoint as a social software platform, have triggered deep changes for many existing customers. Although many customers welcome the benefits of cloud deployment, others are deterred by the associated need for unanticipated migrations and strategic changes.
- Pace of innovation: Reference customers report that some users, as well as IT staff, find it difficult to keep up with and manage the faster pace of product change that cloud deployment makes possible. Although they generally welcome the introduction of new capabilities, testing, user communications and change management become more important.
- Complexity: The breadth of available capabilities and the number of product bundles and possible combinations of deployment options create complexity in terms of choices and their cost and support implications. A related concern among some users is that committing to a single vendor for such a broad range of capabilities could weaken their negotiating position in the future, however attractive a deal may be today.
Read the full report here.