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The Yammer Acquisition: SharePoint On-Premise is Alive and Well

So we’ve looked at Microsoft’s Yammer acquisition from a holistic, Microsoft-centric viewpoint.  One hot question that we haven’t yet covered is what this means to on-premise SharePoint customers who may already have their own social solutions installed and running.
Here’s a quick take of the two key points from my own perspective:
1. To the Cloud. One thing that’s been quietly overlooked in much of the talk around this acquisition is the fact that Yammer is a cloud-based service.  I owe one of my esteemed colleagues a beer for reminding us of this, because it’s a central point of the conversation if you own NewsGator Social Sites or a similar product.
When I was working on Microsoft’s SharePoint team, the #1 point we’d hear from customers who evaluated but passed on Yammer was one of governance and security– they didn’t like managing files and having conversations recorded in perpetuity on someone else’s servers.  If you’re doing SharePoint in the cloud, well then, Yammer might mean something to you.  But there are plenty of reasons to keep SharePoint on-premise, and many, many companies subscribe to one or more of these.
Perhaps they’re managing large volumes of files in a content management workload, or huge media files (audio, video, CAD drawings).  Perhaps they have external database connections to ERP systems (things the Cloud is basically allergic to outside of SharePoint Online Dedicated environments).  Perhaps they’re a health care organization with even the tiniest concern that confidential Patient Health Information is or could be stored on the system.  Maybe they’re just nervous about the security of data centers they don’t manage themselves.  These are all legitimate reasons to stay on-premise.
While NewsGator Social Sites is itself certified to run on SharePoint Online Dedicated, it also provides its ton of great social features to many on-premise SharePoint environments.  I don’t expect that to change anytime soon, any more than I expect many of the reasons to stay on-premise, noted above, to be allayed enough for significant change in the next few years.
2. Wave 15.  In our last post, I asked what the acquisition would mean to Microsoft’s next wave of products, “Office 15” and “SharePoint 15”.  I asked this because I had to, but in my honest opinion the answer will be “not much”.  Wave 15 is supposedly very, very close to public beta and it would seem highly unlikely that major changes will be made this late in the game.
Obviously, Microsoft can and should innovate more quickly in the cloud, so Yammer-inflected changes are likely to happen sooner in the Office 365 world than they could on-prem given Redmond’s traditional software release cycle.  This only further validates my first point.
So the net recommendation here is, relax and breathe deeply.  If you own NewsGator or a similar product and you’re doing SharePoint in your own data center, you’re still in great shape for the next few years.  Yammer is a cloud-based application and how (or even IF) Microsoft bakes it into on-premise applications is something that will take them awhile.
PLEASE NOTE: The above is wholly my opinion as an individual consultant reacting to the big news, and expressly should not be taken as a reflection of what Perficient may or may not believe as a practice or a consultancy. –Rich

Thoughts on “The Yammer Acquisition: SharePoint On-Premise is Alive and Well”

  1. Great post Rich. I also struggle to understand the timing on this one. Why now, when SharePoint 2013 is nearly baked? Why not buy Yammer 1 year ago? Surely they would have rejoiced at a 1B valuation.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jeff! It does seem to point to something beyond the Office Division being a driver. A lot of folks are talking about some Frankenstein’s Monster of Yammer + Dynamics CRM being positioned to take on SalesForce + Chatter.

  3. Rich…You raise some good points put for an organization about to make a purchasing decision related to this, it brings about more questions then answers. I look forward to seeing an actual annoucement and hope that Microsoft is clear about the positioning of the product.

  4. I agree, Andy. Some clarity from Redmond would be very helpful both now and in the long term. Some questions may simply be too difficult to answer– for instance, will they support a migration path from the Yammer cloud into Wave 15 (or more realistically, Wave 16) Office/SharePoint cloud and/or on-premise applications? I think Wave 15 is highly unlikely, but what’s the direction down the road?

  5. Pingback: Tracking News On Microsoft – Yammer Acquisition | Insights on Collaboration, ECM, IT Strategy & SharePoint

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Rich Wood

Rich Wood has been planning, designing and building enterprise solutions and internet sites with an emphasis on stellar user and customer experiences since 1997. Rich is a National Director for Content and Commerce Platform work in Perficient Digital. One of the rare breed of strategists to truly understand both the business needs of the customer and the platforms that serve them, he is a keen advocate for and accomplished speaker/writer on issues that surround that inflection point. His work has been published on CMSWire, Sitecore and Microsoft partner blogs, and his own LinkedIn page as well as our various blogs here at Perficient, and he has spoken at multiple major conferences including Microsoft's SharePoint Conference 2014. Married and a father of five, Rich enjoys spending time with his wife and family. He is a native of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a graduate of Marquette University.

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