Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (74%)
Exciting times ahead
While Eileen had some great points, especially around the ongoing IT demand for on-premise options for social enterprise, Yammer is clearly a major boost for Microsoft in making sure that it has a strong story for all of the big five IT trends of this decade (cloud, mobile, big data, consumerization, and of course, social.)
However, Microsoft still has to deliver on key parts of its social enterprise vision, especially seamless integration between its various communication and collaboration platforms (SharePoint, Office 365/Outlook, Yammer, Lync, etc.) Before this is achieved, the competing products have the potential to sow confusion and create analysis paralysis as users and IT shops both try to figure out which are the best tools for the jobs in any given situation. But I think that will be resolved soon enough.
In the end, taking into account Yammer's large installed base of 8M+ businesses and that it is an enterprise-ready, credible social tool that Microsoft is not likely to lose on its acquisition investment, there's not much risk or downside. As long as Microsoft follows through, they will have a scalable social enterprise solution for all businesses -- from the smallest SMBs to the largest enterprises -- that is also integrated into their larger enterprise solutions portfolio.
Ultimately, I give the successful blending of Yammer with the rest of Microsoft's products a high likelihood of success. So along with double-digit year-over-year growth, and the continued evolution of the product in exciting places like their application directory, I say Microsoft's social enterprise bet will indeed pay off.
Yammer: Great potential but needs more work
It is obvious that Microsoft has made a great decision in buying Yammer – and it makes good financial sense for Yammer to reside in the ‘cash cow’ business division there. But I believe that there will need to be more realignments of the Yammer brand before Microsoft can drive forward with its intentions for the enterprise social business. Yammer has several competitors snapping at its heels and if Microsoft takes its eye off the ball then it could lose valuable ground in the race to dominate the enterprise social business space.
Yammer as it is now will eventually transform into the Enterprise social product that Microsoft wants it to be. There will be iterations and changes in the product as Microsoft moulds it into its idea of what an Enterprise social software product should be – whether in the cloud or on premise. Hopefully the Yammer of the future will still resemble the Yammer we know and love now. Hopefully it will not lose its social identity and value as it becomes fully integrated -- and shaped -- by the by the business division it now belongs to.
Win by a smidge
This debate was tough to call as both Eileen and Dion really made some good points and framed their arguments well. Reading both sides of the debate was informative. Overall, I'll go with the crowd and give Dion the win by a smidge.