With 1.32 billion active monthly users, Facebook has become a bit ubiquitous in our daily routine. Twitter, similarly, has 271 million active monthly users and sees over 500 million tweets sent per day through its servers.
So if social networking and media has become such a natural part of our everyday lives, why hasn’t it caught on in the workplace?
Sure, some businesses have Facebook or Twitter accounts to connect with their customers, but rarely are these accounts used for actual meaningful interaction; generally they serve as more of an extension of the company’s marketing arm and parrot product announcements, promotions and sales that are already announced on the corporate website or traditional media.
Seen even less frequently is a company that is leveraging social tools internally to communicate, collaborate or build comradery amongst employees.
However, that might be about to change. Leaders in the enterprise application space are starting to take notice of the lack of social-enabled software in the office and have begun integrating it into their core product lines. Specifically, CRM has been identified as a place where Social integration could add tremendous value, both internally and external to the organization.
Gartner recently released their September 2014 “Magic Quadrant” of the current Social landscape and Microsoft has moved into the “Lead” position reflecting an ideal balance of Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision.
Microsoft’s strengths stem from their Yammer and Lync products, which reach across all facets of the Microsoft, and specifically the Office365, landscape. Yammer for instance integrates natively into Dynamics CRM, Lync and on-premises SharePoint server. Likewise, Lync statuses and chat launch points are accessible from within nearly all Office365 elements such as Outlook, Word, Dynamics CRM and SharePoint.
This tight integration allows users to experience a consistent look-and-feel across many of their most frequently used applications, inviting users to participate in the social landscape at work much as they would at home, where they might notice that their favorite news site has commenting enabled through Facebook or they catch up on the latest celebrity gossip via People Magazine’s Twitter feed built into the sidebar of their website.
What’s next? Look for further rollout of these integrations to the Microsoft suite as competitors such as Salesforce.com play catch up with third party extensions. These technologies will also start to move further into the B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) space by allowing customers and partners to interact directly with companies via integrated Yammer and Lync functionality into websites, portals and consumer-oriented social media applications.
Social media may not be new, but it’s just getting started in the workplace.