Remember when Yammer had its $1.4 million engagement party, celebrating its upcoming billion-dollar acquisition nuptials with that sexy silver fox Microsoft?
Sorry, enterprise social evangelists. The party is over.
Divorce is on the horizon, as evidenced by reports on Twitter and in the Yammer IT Pro Network that the Yammer Customer Success team just got kicked out of the house. Yes, you read that correctly.
Microsoft bought the community-building product Yammer for a billion dollars in 2012, and less than four years later, it has laid off about 40 remaining community-building Customer Success Managers (CSM).
These are the people whose blood, sweat and tears helped companies like yours turn collaboration into a success at your company.
If the reports are true (which I believe they are, even though it hasn’t been officially confirmed by Microsoft), this layoff represents a tremendous shift away from viewing Yammer as an integral part of the Microsoft solution.
A Timeline of Demise
Remember the 2013 SharePoint conference (before many of the original Yammer CSMs disappeared and before the founding team left to build Responsive Org and on-demand-marijuana-delivery services)?
The big question was about the future of Yammer versus SharePoint, and Microsoft’s answer was “Go Yammer!”
Microsoft Office Division Senior Director Jared Spataro enthusiastically blogged, “Yammer is our big bet for enterprise social, and we’re committed to making it the underlying social layer for all of our products. It will power the social experiences in SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics and more. Yammer’s unique adoption model appeals directly to end users and makes it easy to start enjoying the benefits of social immediately.”
We believed the hype at the time, watching Yammer enjoy rapid viral growth that was fueled by the best practices and guidance of their Customer Success team. As companies found edge cases, bugs, had challenges and created better solutions for real enterprise use, the Yammer Customer Success Managers served as the crucial conduit between Microsoft Product, Engineering and the passionate yet vocal customer base.
It was a tough job, but Microsoft invested in the Yammer product as well as the team that built key relationships with its best customers. The CSMs were the glue that held newly forged relationships together. Without them, the product would never have evolved into what it is today.
But if we look back, there are crucial points in time where Microsoft started to chip away at the intimate customer/CSM relationship. Only now does the pattern make sense.