Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26 billion this week in what is the tech industry’s third biggest acquisition ever, and Microsoft’s biggest by a large margin.
Many have warned that Microsoft is wasting its money but, while everyone argues over what may happen, the deal does provide some pointers for how digitization is shaping the business world and, maybe counter-intuitively, for the continued importance of people to the world’s companies.
The excitement of Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO (pictured above with LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Hoffman, and current CEO Jeff Weiner), shines through as he outlines new opportunities created from the union of the “world’s leading professional cloud and the world’s leading professional network.”
Some of the many implications include, but are not limited to:
Targeted marketing and social selling across a steady stream of posts garnering billions of page views.
Real-time data and personalized support across Office 365 and Dynamics via a large network of users.
Integrated talent management solutions from hiring using LinkedIn Recruiter to training and development using Lynda.com.
Machine learning opportunities across data sourced from both cloud applications and social media.
New products and services derived from customer and network-based information.
Blurred boundaries between internal and external networks within an enterprise context with applications like Yammer.
Also, as technology and business processes rapidly become more and more digital, people become more and more important.
Having the right people in the right roles is the critical component to successful integration of Microsoft and LinkedIn’s products and services. To supply data, to share opinions, and to interpret analysis.
What’s certain is, without that rich network of people, nothing is possible.