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Microsoft’s Social Roadmap: The Upshot for On-Premise SharePoint

Microsoft’s direction for enterprise social is a little more clear this morning.  And I’ll be honest, the roadmap for organizations willing to move this workload to the cloud—in whole or in part—is pretty exciting.  Questions still remain around just how well this approach covers on-premise deployments, however, and I’d like to spend a little time looking at both the announcement and the possible answers from that specific angle.
The announcements
For on-premise customers, there are a couple key items in Mr. Spataro’s post that we should focus on:

url1.      A Yammer app will be made available in the SharePoint store for use in on-premise SharePoint 2013 deployments.  “The Yammer app in the SharePoint Store will be a valuable addition, allowing customers to create connections between Yammer groups and on-premises SharePoint sites,” according to the SharePoint blog.
Quick Analysis: This is a great add if you’re doing your social in the cloud with Yammer, or plan to do so.  It will be interesting to see how many organizations turn this on in lieu of the native SP 2013 news feed.

2.      “The SSO, updated UX, seamless navigation, and Office Web App integration will all deepen the connections between your Yammer network and your on-premises SharePoint deployment.” 
Quick Analysis: In other words, this reads like if you’re doing Yammer in the cloud, it will eventually assume the look of Office 365 and certainly enable document collaboration in the same manner it does for SharePoint Online customers.  I’m curious to see just how easy/difficult it will be to integrate SSO across Yammer and on-premise applications.
3.      Microsoft recommends the SharePoint newsfeed if you can’t do Yammer.
Quick Analysis: This is acceptable for organizations just getting started on social, or not committed to social collaboration as a way to connect, capture and share knowledge, and communicate more effectively.  The SharePoint newsfeed and core SharePoint 2013 product aren’t best-in-class social, though, and never will be.  For those organizations, we still see a partner product like NewsGator Social Sites as the best option for a truly robust social environment.

Tying it all together
We know where Microsoft is going—a unified productivity platform that uses a social newsfeed as its launching point and social integration as the glue that ties people and data together.  There’s a much clearer path to this vision in the cloud, and let’s be honest, nobody else is offering that kind of vision, clarity, or robust product functionality.  Not Google, not IBM, not Oracle.
The only question hanging out there is how organizations who are committed to keeping their IT on-premises can realize this vision.  In my mind, that’s still entirely possible and quite achievable, but may require more integration (for things like SSO), third-party products (like NewsGator) and Office Store apps where necessary to get there.
For more on this topic, check out my previous post where we discuss the roadmap itself and why the cloud is so vital to the strategy, or sign up for my webinar next week with Forrester’s Rob Koplowitz.

Thoughts on “Microsoft’s Social Roadmap: The Upshot for On-Premise SharePoint”

  1. Rich good write-up + a few comments: #1 not sure I understand your analysis, you are looking at it from the lens of IT? To an end user it will surface the feed in the same SP location they are using every day. Most customers today are happily using this hybrid approach with the existing Yammer web part(see the case studies on the Yammer site). 2. Identity is always a complex subject to address, back in the days when I was a consultant even for on-prem apps it was tricky sometimes to get trust relationship across AD for instance. This is a much bigger project that spans other online offerings such as Windows Azure and other on-premises products but overall I do think we are moving forward specially with 2013 & the new Office 365 see this for instance: for #3 You could also argue it’s a maturity discussion and there are different needs within any organizations and plenty of customers are very happy with the new SP 2013 social capabilities.

  2. Thanks, Christophe! Always flattered that you keep up with and comment on the blog. We appreciate your patronage.
    #1, This was a misunderstanding of Jared’s post on my part and I’ve edited to reflect that. Thank you for clarifying.
    #2, I definitely agree. Everything I’ve seen and heard on Yammer/O365/AD SSO to date is promising, but as you note, these projects are always tricky. I know our guys are looking into this for some customers today and it’s exciting, but also something to approach with care.
    #3, I suspect we’re in agreement insofar as it’s a maturity conversation. This is what I meant by “organizations just getting started on social, or not committed to social collaboration”– those who are not yet mature in this space. For them I think SP 2013 is fine, and it’s passable even for those with more social maturity. That said, I don’t think it’s best in class and orgs that have extensively used social tools before will want more than that. In the cloud, we can address this if we augment via the Yammer app marketplace with apps like Badgeville, but on-prem that requires either traditional third-party products or installation of similar apps from the Office Store.

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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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