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SharePoint? Okay, great. But how will Yammer impact OFFICE?

It won’t surprise anyone that I’m a longtime fan of analyst services like those of Gartner and Forrester. They’ve had a very positive impact on my career in consulting.  In fact, one of my formative career experiences was developing a web portal content architecture used by Giga Information Group, the technology advisory founded by Gideon Gartner and later acquired by Forrester.  That single project did more to set me on the path I’m on today than any other client work I’ve had the privilege of delivering.
Generally, I simply assume (as a sort of default setting ) that anything published by these two firms is well worth reading—so when I call particular attention to something one or the other puts out there, you can guess that I think it’s fairly important.  “Fairly important” is probably an understatement for how I’m reading Larry Cannell’s Gartner post today on Yammer and the Office suite.
If you haven’t read it yet, you should.  Here’s why:
The SharePoint community likes to geek out about stuff like the user profile service and configuring FAST search, and that’s understandable—but the reality is how SharePoint connects to Office is about ten times more important.  Don’t believe me?  Follow the money and ask a Microsoft SharePoint solution seller.
I was one of these folks for a year and a half, and selling Office is their first, second and third priority.  SharePoint might be a distant fifth (after Office 365).  Why?  Because Office is where Microsoft’s bread is buttered, and for good reason.  Information workers live in Office.  SharePoint is important inasmuch as it helps those information workers—yes, the very users whose experience and adoption rate are what so many good SharePoint consultancies put first, my team very much included—store, find, and work together on Office documents.
Word documents.  PowerPoint presentations.  Excel spreadsheets (where financial data so often lives in enterprises—still following the money, right).  Outlook.  SharePoint exists and is awesome because it makes these applications soar.  And here we have Mr. Cannell, sagely, telling us to look at the Yammer acquisition in a different light.
We should view this long-awaited skewing toward social computing not in terms of how it impacts SharePoint alone, he tells us, but in the opportunity it presents for Microsoft to transform the Office suite.  Darn right we should.
Readers of this blog will already know that Microsoft is already acknowledging this opportunity—I’ll go back one last time to Kurt Delbene’s statements immediately after the acquisition.  Remember?  It’s going to impact Office 365,  CRM, and SharePoint, we were told, so they see the possibilities.  The real question now is how they will execute.  It’s probably too much to hope for some clues in the keynote, but I’ll be there in Vegas and listening on Monday morning….

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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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