This is a guest blog post by Chris Slemp, Principal Solutions Manager and Certified Yammer Administrator, in the strategic enterprise services IT organisation of Microsoft IT. This was originally posted on our Office of the CIO blog. Chris works on the discovery and collaboration team that is focused on improving content and people discovery and collaboration within Microsoft.

If you read my April 2012 blogs about “Making Microsoft Social” (read part 1 and part 2), then you know that my IT colleagues and I are focused on connecting Microsoft employees, their insights, and information. We’ve seen that enterprise social tools can have a positive impact. So you can imagine how this focus became more complex on June 25, 2012. I think this Tweet of mine summarizes it best.

When the announcement was made that Microsoft was acquiring Yammer, my colleagues and I were in the midst of “dogfooding” SharePoint 2013. Little did I know that “complicated” would become such a thrill ride, one of those work experiences that’s challenging every week and a rush to be part of every day.
 
The acquisition of Yammer has influenced how we, as an IT department, think about our social enterprise strategy and execute on it. I’ll share updates with you in this blog. I’ll also let you know that our learnings and experience with more than 90,000 Microsoft users worldwide feeds directly into the product teams that are developing the products that we - and you - use for social enterprise.
 
Strategy for social at Microsoft
The “dogfood” process that is owned by Microsoft IT is much more than a rinse-and-repeat process of test, deploy, run and manage new products. We get involved in the envisioning phase of product development to help influence designs and use cases. You can read about our product roadmap and vision at the SharePoint team blog [here].

Thanks to our earlier experiences with MY sites, we learned a lot about how Microsoft employees want to connect. We observed that social is becoming an enterprise communication tool similar to how other tools, such as email or IM, entered the enterprise. The pace of innovation has increased over the last decade, making agility a requirement to survive and thrive as a business. We’ve seen that open conversations and personal connections drive personal and team productivity, agility and engagement.

Microsoft IT is working with our product teams so that Microsoft users are provided the connected experiences they want and the connected platform that IT needs. Right now there’s overlap between Yammer and SharePoint, such as file sharing, team notes, and conversations, and Yammer and SharePoint have basic integration via Web Parts and Open Graph capabilities. We’re working with the product teams to demonstrate the importance of deeper connections that will involve integrated document management and feed aggregation, plus unified identity.
 
To read more of this post including Chris' thoughts on scenarios and business value, please visit our Office of the CIO blog here.