As in a previous post, Microsoft’s Enterprise Play with Skype http://tinyurl.com/44sc6vh we predicted a few options that Microsoft had in incorporating Skype into it BPOS and Office 365 offerings using the Azure platform. Now that Skype has purchased GroupMe the revolution to become more social at an enterprise level has been stepped up.
Competition such as Google +, the Facebook and Skype partnership, Lotus Notes Collaboration Suite, iMessage makes the Skype and GroupMe acquisition looks even more curious now than ever before. Although the Microsoft deal for Skype has not been approved yet it looks as if Skype is still operating independently. If the deal from Microsoft and Skype is approved by the competition committee then the purchase of GroupMe plays into our previous post of what Microsoft may do with Skype on an Enterprise level.
The GroupMe social messaging and video sharing platform allows Skype users quick interaction with many social channels as Facebook, Twitter and other social media applications. Customers have demanded this functionality from their CRM system that moves them to more of a social platform. If Microsoft is to combine Skype into some of its current offerings as suggested from our previous post this can form a very competent collaboration based software vendor. If that is the case does Microsoft still allow the Facebook and Skype partnership to continue ? Will MS get rid of Messenger by way of GroupMe, can they be integrated to complement each other and add additional functionalities? Will MS OEM GroupMe and Skype as additions to other CRM packages before it is added to Dynamics CRM ?
Google Plus will be a formidable component as an enterprise platform for collaboration as well. Google Apps will be added integrated into Google Plus which gives Google an Enterprise level collaboration product which will push its capabilities further upmarket to more than just SMB. The social media implications of having another social platform for collaboration will make IT infrastructure strategy increasingly difficult. The consolidation in this market should easily be accelerated as it is easier to buy an existing social media company than to build one from scratch. Purchases such as SFDC acquisition of Radian 6 will be a main catalyst in this market as CRM moves toward a more social nature as well. Collaboration and social media vendors will quickly become takeover targets as companies use a platform that can be incorporated into an existing software and instantly add social and collaboration functionalities. The cloud and SaaS solutions are driving this adoption but can an on-premise application integrate easily with a cloud platform. Usage of new business process management platforms that aggregate data from existing systems and displaying them through a dashboard customized to each user is making it easier to integrate these new softwares together and quickly be able to create a platform for connecting many different systems without hard coding.
As a business user, when using Skype currently, to share video and screens the quality is not acceptable for business level communication and collaboration. Although Skype gives the voice option quality video conferencing is lacking. A tool with the reliability of a GOTO Meeting and that level of quality for screen sharing is imperative for Microsoft, Skype and Groupme going forward. A few challenges may be how long it takes to integrate all these technologies to create a fully enterprise level collaboration platform tool and then to drive corporate adoption. To convince an organization to switch tools especially for something as critical as web conferencing that impacts sales the tool has to work equally as well for less money or work better (with more functionality) for slightly more money. Until Microsoft incorporates Skype into its Office 365 and BPOS suites it will lack a true collaboration, enterprise level web conferencing application. With the stable of products that MS has amassed combining these technologies can form a powerful application that is not only enterprise level collaboration but that can extend to the social enterprise.
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