Microsoft is going public with its roadmap and pricing for integrating its Yammer, the enterprise social-networking vendor it acquired earlier this year, and SharePoint, its own collaboration and document management product/services.
Microsoft officials are sharing these details at the company's SharePoint Conference 2012, which kicks off in Las Vegas on November 12.
SharePoint and Yammer users, as of today, can use existing Web parts and Yammer's open graph interfaces to integrate the two sets of products. (This degree of integration is similar to what Microsoft's Dynamics CRM team recently announced in terms of.)
In the "immediate future," the two product families will be unified via a single ID/sign-on, shared document-management capabilities and feed aggregation, Microsoft officials said. In the longer term, the two will be integrated from an email, instant-messaging and video conferencing perspective. Microsoft officials are not specifying what "longer term" means, but my guess would be as of the next version of Office, a k a Office 16, which could materialize around 2014 or so, if Microsoft steps up its release pace a bit.
"On pricing, we're going to be pretty bold," said Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President of Office Servers and Services Program Management.
Starting on March 1, 2013, Microsoft will be offering the following Yammer/SharePoint products and services at these price points:
Yammer Basic Standalone: Free
Yammer Enterprise Standalone: $3 per user/per month
SharePoint Online (Plan 1) + Yammer Enterprise: $4 per user/per month
SharePoint Online (Plan 2) + Yammer Enterprise: $8 per user/per month
Office 365 E Plans 1-4 + Yammer Enterprise: $8 - $24 per user/per month
(All these Plans 1-4 referencesare part of Microsoft's Office 365 plans/pricing, for those wondering about the nomenclature.)
Microsoft bought enterprise social-networking vendor Yammer for $1.2 billion in June. At that time, Microsoft officials said they would integrate Yammer's technology with Office, Office 365, Dynamics (CRM) and Skype. Microsoft also committed to continue to provide Yammer as a standalone cloud service.
"Yammer provides a universal conversation layer. You'll start to see this in SharePoint. You'lll also start to see SharePoint objects, people and documents in Yammer, too," said Teper during a phone interview I had with him late last week ahead of the SharePoint Conference.
"This (integration) will get more seamless. The lines will blur between these things," meaning Microsoft's Office products and Yammer, Teper added. He said the SharePoint team would not be providing any information on Yammer-Skype integration during this week's conference, which will be attended by approximately 10,000 people.
Teper said Microsoft is counting on Yammer helping the company get more of its user to the cloud faster.
Speaking of "faster," Microsoft officials are planning to increase the number of new features introduced by the Office 365/SharePoint Online team and make them available on a more regular basis. Currently, the Office 365 team is updating the Microsoft-hosted Office 365 services almost monthly (though some months definitely include more and bigger features than others). These updates can be tracked via the Office 365 wikis for small-business and enterprise users.
On the on-premises/SharePoint Server side of the house, Microsoft also is planning to step up the release cadence, delivering new features more frequently than once every two-to-three years, officials said. (This possibly could mean SharePoint Server feature packs delivered more than once a year, but so far, I haven't seen anything like this set in stone. Or linkable from a Microsoft blog post.)