microsoft yammer acquisitionMicrosoft’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Yammer on June 25 further confirms that the enterprise space is ready for social networking.

Yammer, a Facebook-like social network for businesses, has built a base of 200,000 customers with 80% of Fortune 100 companies in less than four years. The acquisition gives Microsoft a social enterprise component to integrate into its array of products including the Office suite, Sharepoint, Skype, and Azure.

“Microsoft’s acquisition validates the critical nature of social connectivity as an enterprise capability…” – Tom Kelly, in eWeek.

In the past month, enterprise software vendors such as Oracle and have also acquired social startups Vitrue and Buddy Media.

“It’s nice to see that Microsoft is finally acknowledging there is a new way to work,” said Timothy Young, vice president of social enterprise at VMware Inc., in WSJ.

As mentioned above and in addition to the Yammer acquisition, Microsoft acquired Skype last year and has been updating its Azure cloud platform, further validating that the company is filling out its cloud offering.

But it’s not just about Microsoft filling in its holes. This move by one of the industry giants marks a fundamental shift in enterprise software.

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hubspot discusses the transformation in enterprise software that is currently underway.

  1. The consumerization of enterprise software.
  2. Software becomes a cloud-based service, not a product.
  3. The CIO gets crowd-sourced.
  4. Enterprise software goes social.
  5. Business computing goes mobile.

Gone are the days of intranets, wikis, and sales managers instant-messaging sales representatives with answers while they are on the phone with a customer.

The enterprise social space, when integrated with ERP, CRM and other business software, can give businesses the tools they need for real-time customer engagement and employee productivity. In this age where consumers expect an enriched, timely customer experience, businesses who fail to invest in this type of technology will not last.

Has social changed your business? Have you used Skype, Yammer and others to conduct business?  Do you think this is an improvement to productivity?  We want to hear from you!

Image via Mashable