Jared Spataro outlines what's ahead for Yammer-SharePoint partnership at one year

Microsoft has let Yammer be Yammer

It's been just over a year since Microsoft pulled the trigger and bought Yammer and last week, Senior Director of Microsoft's Office Division Jared Spataro clarified the roadmap for the partnership moving forward in a Microsoft blog post.

Let's not forget that Microsoft paid a hefty $1.2 billion for Yammer and even Spataro admits that getting acquired sometimes slows down a lean startup, but in this case, at least according to the numbers he provided, Yammer has continued to grow under the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) umbrella.

I can tell you that when I met Spataro and Yammer co-founder Adam Pisoni last fall at the SharePoint conference, I sensed a true camaraderie between the two, and that isn't always the case either.

So how well has Yammer been doing since the big payday? According to Yammer's David Sacks, who was CEO pre-merger and now goes by the title, corporate VP of Yammer at Microsoft; it's been going well. Keeping in mind that statistics can be manipulated to put the numbers in the best light, he reports that the number of users on the network has grown approximately 55 percent to 8 million, while the amount of network activity has roughly doubled.

Whenever a small company like Yammer gets scooped up by a larger organization, there is always talk of how they now have the resources to grow in ways that weren't possible as a smaller company. In this case, they really have seen the growth and Microsoft seems truly committed to letting Yammer be Yammer.

That means letting them continue to iterate and develop the product just as they always did pre-acquisition. Instead of trying to impose the Microsoft way on Yammer, Microsoft seems truly committed to understanding how Yammer does things and applying that to the broader Microsoft product development methodology. 

As Spataro points out, this methodology makes planning difficult because they literally iterate on the fly and adjust based on customer feedback. This means that they can look at the road ahead in broader terms, knowing they will build certain integrations into the product regardless of what it looks like a year from now.

That includes better search to make it easier to find information in the Yammer stream, a step I think is particularly important in the context of knowledge management. He further states that the idea is to have a platform to build apps that combine search and social, and that could definitely be interesting.

They are also working on an Enterprise Graph, which Spataro describes as, "A dynamically generated map of employees, content and business data based on the Open Graph standard." Having this kind of information could give customers some intriguing use cases and this will be worth exploring more moving forward.

There are other plans of course around deeper email integration, mobile apps, localization and more. You can get the details in the blog post. The message here though is that the first year together has gone as well as anyone could have expected.

Microsoft is learning from Yammer and Yammer appears to be growing and thriving, but the true test will be how they keep this going--and if they can drag Microsoft customers who might be reluctant to use the cloud into this new model moving forward.

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