The social software industry is red hot. In case you missed it, Microsoft officially announced it will acquire Yammer, an enterprise social networking platform, for $1.2 billion in cash. This follows Jive’s very successful IPO as analysts estimate the company’s revenue may jump 157%.
The Yammer deal has ignited a firestorm of debate around the rationale for the acquisition and the current spending spree on social business software (see Dion Hinchcliffe's analysis, CIO insights from the Wall Street Journal and Tony Zingale's perspective as CEO of Jive).
However, as I think about Microsoft and Yammer, this deal really reminds me more of a classic children's story than a case study on technology acquisitions. If you guessed "Goldilocks and the three bears", then you read my mind. Although this time around let's picture Goldilocks and the bears as tough minded healthcare CIOs who are looking for the right online collaboration solution.
I can just picture the pros and cons our bears must be considering, "If SharePoint is too large and complex, requiring extensive customization before it can even be deployed in a healthcare setting, is it worth the enormous investment if it is often used as little more than a very expensive file sharing solution?" When we skip to the end of the fable Goldilocks and the bears get to taste Microsoft SharePoint and realize its too cold. After all, while SharePoint is feature rich it takes so long to customize and implement and lacks social tools, most CIOs can't help but think their systems integrator is dragging their feet through the snow.
This predicament has led CIOs in other industries to adopt cheaper, cloud based file sharing solutions such as Box, Huddle, YouSendIt, Dropbox and Alfresco. It is also why Yammer has grown rapidly, claiming five million users (although only a fifth are paid accounts) by offering a cloud based microblogging solution that any team member can sign up for without the need for any customization or IT support.
While a free, cloud based model might work for other businesses, security and privacy concerns have led most healthcare CIOs to block access to Yammer, Box, YouSendIt, Dropbox, etc from the corporate network. When Yammer does get deployed it is used by early adopters but often fails to gain mainstream stickiness because it has not been customized to tie into the organization’s underlying content or clinical workflows. In the end, the early adopter can get burned when trying Yammer...its lack of features and cloud based privacy concerns are simply too hot to handle.
Assuming Microsoft and Yammer can bridge the gap and find the right mix, will CIOs wait the 24-36 months it may take Microsoft to integrate Yammer successfully? SharePoint 2013 is already in beta testing, so the delay could be extensive. Or does an online collaboration solution already exist that is "just right" for the healthcare industry?
OzmosisESP is an enterprise collaboration platform that has been designed specifically to address the unique content and worlflow requirements of the healthcare industry. At Ozmosis, we make it simple for the CIO to deploy OzmosisESP out of the box with clinical content modules and workflow solutions already configured for clinical collaboration. Unlike Yammer and SharePoint, OzmosisESP already provides a fully integrated social software and enterprise content management solution in a single product. It can be tied seamlessly into existing enterprise applications and hosted securely as either a cloud based solution or behind the corporate firewall as a software appliance.
Trust me...if you give Ozmosis a try, there's no question it will taste "just right".
CEO - Ozmosis, Inc.