In July of this year, Microsoft bought enterprise social networking vendor Yammer for $1.2 billion, and since then, the larger firm has begun adopting some of Yammer's software development practices. Traditionally, Microsoft has made periodic big releases that introduce a lot of changes to its core products at once. By contrast, Yammer frequently updates its cloud-based products and then monitors the impact to see how customers like the change. "We release software updates with data. We know when a change drives more or less engagement," explained Yammer's Adam Pisoni.
According to Microsoft's Jared Spataro, the company's Office and SharePoint products are being particularly impacted by Yammer's approach and that influence, "is going to manifest itself in tremendous ways in the coming quarters and years." He added, "The influence these guys have had on us has been very deep."
As SharePoint and Office move more to cloud computing models of delivery, Yammer's influence should become more apparent. Already, for example, Microsoft has planned 90-day update cycles for future versions of SharePoint--following the big SharePoint 2013 release in the first quarter of next year.