One of the world's biggest technology companies is taking a major interest in talent acquisition and business networking. In June, Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. (Details of the acquisition can be found here.) Since then, the internet has exploded with discussions about what happens next, and what it means for HR. What will Microsoft do? How will LinkedIn be integrated into other Microsoft products? How will we change the way we think about LinkedIn and other HR technology tools?
There is a reason that Microsoft was willing to pay $196 per share for the professional (social) network. The LinkedIn acquisition now brings together a plethora of solutions under one company, including Lynda.com, Yammer, Office 365, Dynamics, LinkedIn and Connectifier. Microsoft now has a hand in nearly every part of the talent acquisition process — communication, recruitment intelligence tools, and training, just to scratch the surface. With LinkedIn, Microsoft has a major impact on what we do professionally and how we do it.
The thought that Microsoft HCM(human capital management) may be on the horizon isn’t a big leap in my mind. There are some interesting points brought up in this analyst blog that outlines several potential positives to this new deal, including the data integration and social graph information available through LinkedIn. (Not to mention that LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of AI tool and social aggregator Connectifier could add even more depth to this.) I agree with the author's point that Microsoft and LinkedIn have the potential to reinvent the HCM space by infusing the social aspects to it. This, coupled with Lynda.com’s development and engagement, could vastly change this enterprise space.
Personally, I am excited to see what comes next from Microsoft + LinkedIn — how some of these HR tech tools may integrate and potentially change the landscape of talent recruitment. But not everyone is excited about this acquisition and what the potential implications may be.
We’ve all read or heard the statements from LinkedIn and Microsoft about their commitment to keeping LinkedIn as an independent unit, with current CEO Jeff Weiner remaining in his position. I am thrilled to see that LinkedIn will still stand on its own, but we’ll have to wait and see how that will work.
The New York Times had a good op-ed piece recently, focusing more on the existing Microsoft solutions and the impact that the LinkedIn acquisition could have on them in a negative way. Based on the PowerPoint that Weiner and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella presented, it included an anonymous LinkedIn user graphic with arrows pointing outward to various Microsoft products, including Word, Excel and Windows. In that same presentation, Nadella hinted that Office could suggest an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help you with a current task you’re working on. One concern outlined in the op-ed piece, that I wholeheartedly hope is proven wrong, is the possible reintroduction of a solution like Clippy from the '90s. I’d all but forgotten about the little animated paper clip until I read this, and while I am certain that the coding would be far superior now, I don’t know that I want any type of pop-up automated help incorporated into my everyday work programs.
While we continue to wait and wonder what changes are coming, one thing I believe to be certain is that Microsoft and LinkedIn will be a game changer in how businesses source, hire, manage and engage their employees. Will HCM software be the next step? It seems like a logical progression from here, but when and what that will actually look like is yet to be seen.