Microsoft Office users will soon be able to bypass the service desk by finding support via social collaboration built into the popular suite of productivity tools.
Microsoft is so convinced that peer-to-peer knowledge sharing is the future of IT support that it has staked $1.2 billion buying Yammer to instantly provide the collaboration tool it values.
The value of the deal seems puzzling given that Yammer is relatively new, with a user base of five million easily dwarfed by Microsoft’s global install base. Given the disproportionately high value paid per user, it seems certain that Microsoft has realised it has slipped behind rivals in relation to online support and has decided to give itself an immediate injection of knowledge and technology to build out its offering.
Questions relating to usability of software such as Word and Excel have continued to fall in recent years as user knowledge of these products has improved, meaning the deal will have minimal impact on support volumes. However, as a statement of intent from a software giant such as Microsoft, it paves the way for other suppliers to improve and incorporate collaborative support, meaning that in the near future, users will rarely leave the application in question to reach out for support. In other words, there is no cause for immediate concern, but this is an area which service desks should clearly track and be prepared to alter its approach to support accordingly.