By Robert Crane, Director, CIAOPS
Social networking is changing the way that business works today. We all know that to get ahead it is a matter of 'who you know,' and building a network of contacts increases your chances of success exponentially. Look at some of the biggest businesses today, Facebook and Linkedin, whose sole product is social networking. This highlights how important social networking will be not only to businesses, but employees going forward. It was not until recently that smaller businesses had access to truly enterprise-grade social tools.
With the integration of Yammer into Office 365, many subscribers now have access to social tools that were once the domain of Fortune 500 companies. However, having the tools is not enough, they key is how does an organisation drive the adoption of these new social tools and integrate them into their business? How do they take existing business processes and communication methods and adapt them to the new world that social open up?
This requirement creates opportunity in the market for resellers with the skill and understand of social networking integration within business. To be successful, you need to move beyond the concept of 'Facebook for the Enterprise' and into areas that involve changing the culture of how things are done inside a business to match the way much of the world is now communicating. It is important not to limit the concept of enterprise social to within a business, great opportunities also lie with social integration between suppliers, business partners and customers outside the organisation.
It is true that you can't sell social unless you utilise it yourself and with Yammer, there shouldn't be any excuse to get started as free accounts are available. Using these accounts allows you to create your own network as well as join others such as those set up by Microsoft for partners. Thought leaders are already exploring how social tools can help their business, the question is what are you doing?
As time progresses, the integration of social and Yammer into Office 365 will become deeper. At the moment Yammer, to an extent, sits off on the side. However, previews show the deep integration of Yammer technology throughout aspects of Office 365. Upcoming products like Delve and Office Graph build on this social intelligence to help foster a truly social organisation where everyone in the business can be heard and has the opportunity to contribute.
Being social is critical for a business to attract and retain key staff in the future because their expectation is to work the way they interact with others outside the workplace. That is why it is so important to integrate social into business today. If the business already has Office 365 then chances are they already have the capability but all they need is someone to unlock that potential. This is the opportunity that presents itself to IT Professional and resellers today. Ask yourself, who else is helping customers with Yammer? If you don’t know anyone who is then that usually means an opportunity that is ripe for those willing to make the commitment and learn the product because customer are adopting Yammer fast. Best of all, there is no hardware to purchase, there is no software to install, and you can start learning how Yammer can help organisations today by starting yourself for free!