The big news today is that Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq: MSFT) and LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE: LNKD) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn bringing together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network. The financial aspects of the giant $26.2 billion deal aside, we think that this deal represents an amazing opportunity for Microsoft to deliver even more value through Office 365 and are excited to take advantage of these enhancements in Rise, our Intranet-as-a-Service product.
With that in mind we thought it would be fun to speculate on some ways that Microsoft can leverage the “external” professional network of LinkedIn to improve the “internal” communication and collaboration available in Office 365.
- Integrate LinkedIn profile data to the Office 365 user profile – the user profile is arguably one of the most important factors in user adoption of a portal solution. A robust user profile provides the data and context to drive many features such as Content Targeting, Personalization, Localization, Expertise Search, and more. Most professionals that I know have a robust LinkedIn profile that they use for networking and keeping up with industry trends. At the same time the internal user profile for most of my co-workers (without naming any names) is lacking. Microsoft has the opportunity to streamline the creation and maintenance of the corporate user profile by leveraging the rich data that already exists in the LinkedIn user profile. By making the user’s LinkedIn data visible through the corporate intranet Microsoft would be unlocking a wealth of information that users do not currently have access to.
- Collaboration with external partners – the ability to identify and connect with external partners is critical to many business scenarios. With the acquisition of LinkedIn, Microsoft has the ability to allow seamless communication and collaboration between companies and their external partners. Imagine a scenario where users can execute a vendor search that indexes the company’s own list of approved vendors as well as potential vendors found on LinkedIn. You could then contact those vendors and invite them to a secure collaboration site within Office 365 where you can securely engage with the vendor through document collaboration and social interaction leveraging Office 365 and LinkedIn credentials.
- People Search capabilities – the ability to locate internal expertise is a key success factor for the intranet portal. Within Office 365, Delve is a significant driver for how users locate people and content. With the acquisition of LinkedIn, Delve now has a new data source with the ability to provide a wealth of new signal information. Delve can now have the ability to provide enhanced People Search that takes into account your LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements and Recommendations. Delve can provide recommendations based on your LinkedIn, Yammer, and Office Group membership. Not finding the expertise you need in-house? Extend the search to to include your external LinkedIn network.
- Content syndication – over the last few years LinkedIn has become a primary source for content and thought leadership for many professionals. At the same time many organizations have adopted Office 365 for their intranet portal leveraging solutions such as Rise to support common intranet and communications related functionality. Microsoft has the potential to create powerful new ways for organizations to share information internally and externally with Office 365 and LinkedIn. The ability to syndicate content from LinkedIn to augment internally produced content would go a long way to keeping the intranet up to date and relevant. At the same time the ability to securely share information with known individuals on LinkedIn could have a huge impact on recruiting, retention, and employee engagement.
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Without a doubt, today’s news is very exciting. With the deal expected to close in this calendar year it will probably be some time before we see any of the integrations we speculated on above. But the future is exciting for the intranet on Office 365 and for our professional network on LinkedIn.
“Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” ~Jeff Weiner, CEO LinkedIn
The Rise team at Perficient is looking forward to the new capabilities that this acquisition will make available. Rise is an Intranet-as-a-Service offering from Perficient, designed to deliver all of the common functionality required in a world-class intranet in a managed solution. Rise delivers value though reduction of timeline and risk, provides predictable costs and ongoing value over time. Contact us to schedule a demo.
Share your thoughts in the comments section, what are some integrations you’d like to see?
Learn more in our latest guide: Accelerate Your SharePoint Intranet with Rise.