22nd September 2019

Opinion: The acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft, why should you and I care?

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By now, you have heard about Satya Nadella’s largest acquisition since he took the helm at Microsoft, that Microsoft will be buying LinkedIn for US$26.2bn before the end of this calendar year, subject to Shareholder approval. I just thought of unpacking some of my ideas and opportunities that may result out of this acquisition.

With LinkedIn having a professional network and Microsoft having a professional cloud of productivity tools, other than a surge in LinkedIn membership count, I also foresee a huge integration opportunity from Office 365 and Dynamics tools. This is going to be huge! Here are just a few of some of the opportunities I foresee coming out of this acquisition.

Productivity

Microsoft will have a huge knowledge base from LinkedIn’s Pulse, provided to people already using the Office tools. Think of a situation where you are building a project team and you need templates/lessons learnt/frameworks to start off from, LinkedIn has already tagged this information and it can be provided to you to immediately start off from.

With LinkedIn already having an endorsements system, mapping subject matter experts to the required tasks on a project being built using Office 365 tools like the recently released Office Planner will now be seamless!

For those managing their client relationships via MS Dynamics, importing of client information will now be way easier, and I foresee a good opportunity of leads generation here, via the ‘connections’ feature LinkedIn provides, without having to access two separate systems. Dynamics will become more intelligent and will, if built into it, be able to tell you who you should be talking to in order to make that next sell, and when.

I also foresee a situation where MS Dynamics will now have the potential to pick what people are marking as “Like” on LinkedIn and transform that into an opportunity for the CRM guys who will receive activity updates filtered by industry/profession/category of expertise. LinkedIn joining Microsoft will be a force to reckon with and the guys at Salesforce must be scared right now.

LinkedIn provides Microsoft with immediate access to more than 433 million members and a solid social graph that, thanks to its professional nature, is matched closely with the software and services Microsoft provides. (Source
LinkedIn provides Microsoft with immediate access to more than 433 million members and a solid social graph that, thanks to its professional nature, is matched closely with the software and services Microsoft provides. (Source: The Verge)

Search Engine

Office 365 has what is known as Delve, which for me, I believe is “the reverse of search”. Think of it this way, when you perform a search, you actually know what you are looking for, you just need to find it. But with Delve, you don’t need to know what you are looking for, it already knows what you should be looking for and it presents this back to you. LinkedIn will extend Delve’s reach. With machine learning, I foresee that Microsoft Office tools will learn more about what you usually post on LinkedIn, the things you mark as “Like” and Delve will present this back to you, at the times when you need this information.

Developers

For developers, creating apps for Office 365 now presents a huge opportunity here. This is like the people’s profiles presented via Office graph have now just gone platinum! Developers will now be able to tap into LinkedIn API, possibly via the Graph API (one interface that will rule them all), and surface relevant information and create relationships between the information, to create knowledge that we could only imagine of at present. This opportunity will fast track the transition of transforming tacit form of knowledge into explicit form, and make it interact with Office desktop tools. Let me put it this way, think of a situation where you are typing a letter to someone in MS Word or MS Outlook, and an Office app that integrates with LinkedIn is scanning what you are typing and making suggestions back to you on information you should be including, suggesting back to you who might be interested in what you are typing, providing you with references for citations from subject matter experts, suggesting studying material you might be interested in from LinkedIn’s Lynda platform.

One important goal here for Microsoft, according to Satya, will be “to expand their addressable markets”, by bringing the professional network to the professional cloud. Therefore, there has never been a better time nor reason for anyone to sign-up on LinkedIn than now.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of my own and do not represent those of my employers and clients, both past and present.

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Written by Christopher Simusokwe, Senior Technology Consultant,

One thought on “Opinion: The acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft, why should you and I care?

  1. I love your insight! For me, the announcement of Microsoft was a shocker. While there’s a lot to be unsealed by the acquisition in the way of working synergies, I feel Microsoft may end up slowing LinkedIn’s growth.

    You will recall that Microsoft acquired Xobni, an email and professional communications platform. Within a few months, Xobni kissed the dust.

    The problem of giants taking over small technology businesses being taken over by a behemoth s that death of the innovative spirit among the founding team members.
    No doubt, from a shareholder perspective, Reid Hoffman and other early investors will be laughing all the way to the bank.

    All in all, a great marriage!

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