What can Microsoft achieve with LinkedIn?

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On 13 June 2016, Microsoft announced that it would acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion! The deal is for $196 per share, a 50% premium to its share price.

The deal came as a surprise to everyone. Microsoft and LinkedIn are not sharing market segments, and their focus is different. This was not the only surprise, a lot of industry analysts tried to make sense of the deal, but the bigger surprise was the deal size — $26 BILLION!!!!!

This deal looks huge compared to other technology acquisitions like Skype $8.5bn, YouTube $1.65bn. LinkedIn has around 430 million users (this includes me), this makes the price is $60 per user, Not bad!

Having that said, let’s look what I think Microsoft could achieve through LinkedIn acquisition. This is not an attempt to justify the price though!

Azure case study

Moving Linked Infrastructure to Microsoft Azure would be a great study for Microsoft and a proof that Microsoft’s cloud platform can support large websites with huge demand.

In addition, LinkedIn technology stack is far from being based on Microsoft technology. This will be another success story for Microsoft, it will prove that its leading cloud platform is open to any technologies and not limited to Microsoft technologies.

Graph Database

A graph database is a database that uses graph structures for semantic queries with nodes, edges and properties to represent and store data. The relationships allow data in the store to be linked together directly, and in most cases retrieved with a single operation. (Wikipedia)

What is a Graph Database? A Property Graph Model Intro

Microsoft has its own graph database in Office 365 and Azure. Microsoft provides a single endpoint to be able to retrieve the information from the graph database. Since all the objects are on the Microsoft Cloud (Azure and Office 365), all the information and links between users, files, emails, contacts, calendar…etc. can be easily retrieved and the graph database facilitates figuring out the connections between these objects.

Microsoft Graph — Home

Integration with Office 365

Also, LinkedIn has its graph database which I believe will become handy to integrate with the Microsoft Graph and allows developers to query the data from both platforms using a single endpoint or even enrich the both databases by connecting the dots.

Microsoft focus is the “Cloud”. Hence Office 365 comes to be an important element of the Microsoft story. Microsoft explained in a presentation its vision for the acquisition.

One of the key requirements I got in many of my SharePoint projects was to build a strong profile page within the intranet for the employees. Many organisations suffer from the inability to find the right expertise within the organisation. For example, a company may go to a translation service to translation a document from German to English and pay money and they don’t know that they have employees within the company with previous translation experience from German to English or Native German speaking employees.

Intranet projects usually included a requirement to build an engaging profile page “like Linked” which is supported by search related features to find people by expertise. Other features were driven from the same problem like using Gamification to encourage employees to complete their profile, components to show expertise and customised profile metadata…etc.

I see a huge opportunity for LinkedIn to fill in this gap by integrating LinkedIn profiles with Office 365 or Azure Active Directory profiles. This will allow the organisations to trust the information and employees don’t have to maintain two profiles.

Conclusion

Microsoft acquisition to LinkedIn is a big leap for Microsoft into a new direction with a lot of potential to realise the synergies. however, still the deal price tag is a question mark and will LinkedIn be valuable to Microsoft long term plans.

Related Resources

What is LinkedIn’s technology stack? — Quora

4 Reasons Microsoft Wasted $26.2 Billion to buy LinkedIn

Is the LinkedIn Acquisition Microsoft’s Attempt to Build Its Own Alphabet?

A Brief History of Scaling LinkedIn | LinkedIn Engineering

Say “Digital” one more time

Digital Digital Digital. All the companies are banging the drums with digital. It is one of most used words now in almost all the companies in the strategy and planning meetings.

“We must go Digital”

“What is our Digital Strategy”

“How can deliver our services/products digitally”

I am sure you have heard one of these statements and many more.

In my opinion, the word is misused and it is another marketing stunt to create demand. Isn’t Digital about building a website? automating the business processes and using a workflow engine?!! Come on this exists for ages now!

I have been developing portals, content management systems, and automating business processes since 2002 and all of this existed before then. The technology sector is evolving every day and it is now evolving at a faster pace than before. However, this still doesn’t change what digital means.

There are some people think that managing payroll information on excel sheets this mean it is digital! No this is not digital, this is going electronic, this is the expected and it is 30 years old technology.

My take on this, “Digital” is about thinking about everything we are doing (as consumers or business) and thinking how software can help to automate the process, take decisions, make the services available 24×7, make the service or product more accessible on different platforms at anytime from anywhere…etc.

Let’s take an example, whenever you pick the phone to complete a service or call a customer service desk to ask a question, this is an unnecessary human interaction that can be easily replaced by a software platform to help you complete the service or find the answer — It is going Digital. When you fill a paper form or a “digital” form on Word or excel and send it my email to complete a service, there is an unnecessary manual interaction and human interference. This can be replaced by a website with forms, workflow engine and tickets or case management system that automates the forms processing and ensure it is tracked and all necessary steps are completed.

Having that said, then Digital is a different way of thinking. It is all about thinking how software platforms can deliver a service or a piece of information on 24×7 basis, take the necessary decisions or filter out noise based on criteria so that the person at the end can focus on what is relevant?

Digital is a change in the business mind-set, it is not an IT issue. IT departments exist in all the organisations since years and years but it is about the business to think in a different way. The business needs to think of how to leverage technology to access new customers, open new channels, deliver better service, gain insights on the business operations to be able to take faster decisions.

For example, a shipments or logistics service company can integrate devices in their fleets to track the location, the journey path then they can use this data to optimise the journey and reduce the journeys’ time and fuel consumption or give the client real-time view on where is their package now. There are a lot of opportunities to use this data.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Note: When I refer to a software platform, I mean all or any of the artefacts involved in the software industry like websites, mobile apps, database, internet, cloud! …etc.

Update:

A Tool to Map Your Next Digital Initiative https://hbr.org/2016/06/a-tool-to-map-your-next-digital-initiative

Say IoT one more time!!

IoT or Internet of Things now is one of the most used terms in the technology world. All the big technology vendors are establishing an IoT related business or developing a related product. Also most of the companies are researching on how to benefit from IoT to increase their bottom line.

It is expected that over $6 trillion dollars will be spent on IoT solutions over the next 4–5 years. The total revenue across all app stores is estimated to reach $100 billion dollars.

The IoT value chain is long and it ranges from devices, devices connectivity, communication technologies, security, solutions development, data science, analytics, and visualisations…etc the list goes on and on. There is a room for many players to participate in the game.

However, my view is that everyone is talking about it but they don’t know exactly what do with it. Most of the presentations and conversation I have seen are sharing the same blueprint architecture and concepts. My take on that IoT solutions yes are complex solutions but they are being commoditized. All technology firms are providing the technology required at low cost and “As a Service”. For example, Microsoft provides the IoT Suite which includes all the essential components to implement an IoT Solution like device connectivity, complex events processing, big data storage, stream analytics…etc.

The value in the IoT solutions is not from the platform itself (of course it is useful) but what you are going to do with the data collected! IoT solutions result in a huge amount of faced paced data.

I think the term “IoT” is not suitable for what it is trying to achieve because just connecting to devices is not useful.

Find the value in the platform before trying to connect devices!

I would love to hear your thoughts.

iot

I am speaking at the Collab365 Summit May 2016

I am excited to be selected as a speaker in the largest Office 365 and Azure virtual conference Collab365 Summit – May 10th-12th 2016

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It is a free event for all the attendees, Register NOW to attend three days of awesomeness. The event will include live session from Microsoft HQ in Seattle, and you can access the session from any device.

Session Title: Stories from the field on how to build an engaging intranet
Overview:
In this session, We will share real world experience for successful and failed Intranet implementation. We are going to discuss how SharePoint helped in the success of the implementation or the failure of it. Most of the businesses blame SharePoint (the technology element) that it is the cause of poor adoption, project failures. However, organisations miss elements like people, processes, training…etc. We will see how to plan for effective SharePoint implementation for intranets, things to avoid. we will discuss Start-Stop-Continue strategy.
You Will Learn:

  • SharePoint implementation common pitfalls
  • Factors for successful and failed Intranet implementation
  • Start-Stop-Continue strategy for intranets
  • What is a business use case
Level:
100
Suitable For:
Business Analyst Power User
Time: 12 May 2016 7Pm – 8PM GMT

Enjoy!

Cloud IT Architecture Resources

I was going through the backlog of posts in the Office 365 Yammer network and I stumbled upon a great post on Cloud Adoption Advisory Board (CAAB) group which includes a group of amazing resources to help cloud architects.

Following all the resources shared in the post

Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Roadmap: Resources for IT decision makers
http://aka.ms/cloudarchitecture
Microsoft Cloud Services and Platform Options
http://aka.ms/cloudarchoptions
Microsoft Cloud Identity for Enterprise Architects
http://aka.ms/cloudarchidentity
Microsoft Cloud Security for Enterprise Architects
http://aka.ms/cloudarchsecurity
Microsoft Cloud Storage for Enterprise Architects
http://aka.ms/cloudarchstorage
Microsoft Cloud Networking for Enterprise Architects
http://aka.ms/cloudarchnetworking
TechNet page that contains all of these resources
http://aka.ms/cloudarch

The Responsive Organization

The Responsive Organization is a fascinating term that exactly explains how the organizations should. Most of the organisations are adopting the industrial age fundamentals which built on predictability and provide sustainability. Nowadays the pace of change is faster than anyone and it is hard to grasp long-term predictability.

Watch this video, it explains the concepts from some of the industry thought leaders

 

The Changing World of Work – YouTube

Is SharePoint 2016 disappointing to existing Microsoft customers?

Microsoft has been leading the collaboration platforms market through SharePoint. Microsoft introduced several version on roughly a 3 years cycle. The latest version of SharePoint to be released on early 2016 is SharePoint 2016. At the time of writing this post, SharePoint 2016 Beta 2 is released. This version is the first major SharePoint on-premises version released based on SharePoint Online code base. Microsoft has been pushing its new vision “Cloud First Mobile First” through Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.

Although SharePoint 2013 adopted some of the SharePoint Online concepts like SharePoint Apps and hybrid deployments like integration with Yammer and OneDrive for Business but it was not built with cloud in mind. SharePoint 2016 is the first release based on SharePoint Online and introduces strong hybrid scenarios.

However, in my opinion the new features in SharePoint 2016 are disappointing for end users. Microsoft focused mainly on getting the new hybrid experience to the clients through things like the shared app launcher menu, hybrid cloud search service and delivering improved performance and reliability through MinRoles, Zero Downtime Patching. The new delivered features that directly solve end users problems or add new value are very limited.

SharePoint 2016 didn’t tackle a lot of missing features in SharePoint that requires custom development now like mobile apps, 3rd party access (extranet), sharing content across site collections, removing the boundaries of sites for document management scenarios which confuse a lot of users, bringing the Delve like applications to on-premise, tighter integration with Yammer, strong social story to compete with chatter/Jive and likes…etc. I find it is hard to present to business users what are the new features/benefits in SharePoint 2016 vs 2013 trying to convince them to move on and plan for an upgrade!

I would love to hear your views on this!

Resources:

50 SharePoint 2013 course free coupons–Register Now!

Are you interested to learn the basics of SharePoint 2013 or refresh your knowledge. Udemy is offering 50 free seats to my blog readers to their “Learn Microsoft SharePoint 2013” course

Register in the website and use the coupon code: ThePointBlog

It is FREE for the first 50 registered users

Course Description

Stop with the disorganized e-mails when trying to work on a team project and learn how to use SharePoint 2013 to collaborate with teammates. Let the experts at ClipTraining take you through a collaborative SharePoint training course, first stop “Getting Started with SharePoint”, Then learn how to work your way through all the available features such as: Libraries, Communication and Collaboration, Working with Search and the Calendar, and much more.