It was inevitable that when Microsoft announced it was buying Yammer there would be ripples across the industry, particularly with products and vendors that are closely tied into the Microsoft machine. One of those companies that has reacted the quickest is NewsGator, which has just announced that it is going to integrate its SharePoint-based application with Yammer.
NewsGator and Microsoft
The announcement comes three weeks after Microsoft agreed to pay US$1.2 billion for Yammer, even though some in the industry had figured if Microsoft was going to go anywhere in this space that it would be with NewsGator.
After all, NewsGator adds considerable social upmph to SharePoint and it would seem like a logical step to bring it in house to supplement the social aspects that are still lacking in SharePoint 2010.
However, while most people will associate NewsGator with SharePoint it does have other integrations particularly with other social sources such as Twitter, Dynamics CRM and Salesforce Chatter.
It can also handle any system that creates RSS feeds to enable users monitor LinkedIn, blogs and other social tools. The result is a single place to keep track of all social media.
NewsGator SharePoint Strategy?
But it is the SharePoint strategy that has really made a difference for NewsGator. In 2010 with the recently released version of SharePoint, this looked like a good strategy and for the two years that followed it definitely worked as NewsGator has been reporting continuous growth since then. The company now claims 4 million paid seats and an impressive list of clients across Fortune 2000 companies.
The question is whether it is still such a good strategy now that Microsoft has bought Yammer -- is it going to be able to survive the acquisition? In a blog post last week, NewsGator Vice President of Products Brian Kellner had no doubts about it.
The move towards Yammer is not the result of a knee-jerk reaction to the Microsoft acquisition. Kellner said:
Sometimes a company was switching to Social Sites after using Yammer for a while and they wanted to do data import (a one-time integration to pull Yammer events into the Social Sites database). ...But now I’ve decided to add a Yammer integration for Social Sites to go after a new value proposition”.
Interestingly he doesn’t seem too able to cast a light on what exactly Microsoft is going to do with Yammer. In fact he suggests that no one really knows, which begs the question does anyone in Microsoft know why they bought it?
Social Sites With Yammer
However, this is how he perceives the role of Social Sites with Yammer.
I don’t think anyone really knows just how Microsoft will use Yammer, but I know that, when used, Yammer, like social sites, generates some valuable microblogs and questions. One of the things we’ve learned in years of working with customers – microblogs have a life cycle.”
And this is where Social Sites will come in. Some microblogs come and go and no one misses them. There are others where the content needs to be stored or even transformed. And with a wide rage functionality across Social Kellner says that he wants to “…use some of the powerful new functionality we have for Social Sites on the micro blogs in Yammer".
On top of this, users will be able to see all the updates happening in Yammer along with all the other data that Social Sites can bring together in a single spot.
Social Sites also has the potential to take an item from an external system -- like Yammer -- and enable editing, tagging, build workflows, as well as generating wikis in SharePoint. Now you start getting an idea of how Yammer and Social Sites might work together.
NewsGator has also pointed out an important difference that will definitely make a lot of companies think NewsGator over Yammer. Apart from integration issues -- there is still no indication of what an integrated Yammer and SharePoint will look like in the end -- Yammer is also a multi-tenant, cloud-based software, while Social Sites is on-premises, or private cloud environments.*
Interesting times ahead with the Yammer/Microsoft deal with this just being one example of how vendors will react. More on this as it happens.