Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace (Gartner, 2011 August)

Gartner has published its version 2011 of “Magic Quadrant” corresponding to the social software in the workplace: http://www.gartner.com/technology/streamReprints.do?id=1-173SL7W&ct=110826&st=sb


This Magic Quadrant covers vendors whose products are used within an enterprise, primarily among employees, to support work teams, communities and employee networking

This Magic Quadrant includes three kinds of vendors:

  • Social application vendors that offer primarily self-contained social software functions (albeit with some integration points to allow for information flow to and from other systems), including Atlassian, blueKiwi, Igloo, Jive, Moxie Software, MindTouch, Novell, Socialtext, Telligent and XWiki.
  • Enterprise platform vendors with a broad, deep presence across the enterprise, particularly with portals, content, application development and deployment, workflow, search and other capabilities. This cluster includes Drupal-Acquia, Ektron, EPiServer, IBM, Liferay, Microsoft and OpenText.
  • Business application vendors, especially those already supporting horizontal "people processes," such as performance management and learning, or people-intensive vertical business processes, such as account management and customer service. Such vendors include Cornerstone OnDemand, Mzinga, Saba, salesforce.com and SuccessFactors.



Beyond the names and ‘position’ of each vendor, I want to highlight some ideas included in the report, that I’m sure you will find interesting:

  • Within the enterprise, social software has started to evolve into an information-sharing platform
  • As investments in enterprise social software grow into enterprisewide initiatives, the IT organization must ensure that social software aligns with other information management initiatives. Increasingly, enterprises are emphasizing integration with related investments, such as:
    1. Content management, compliance and search.
    2. A broader communication infrastructure for email, presence, real-time conferencing, voice and video.
    3. A specific business activity, such as customer support.
  • The buyers in this market are looking for persistent virtual environments in which participants can create, organize and share information, as well as find, connect and interact with each other
  • Today, however, the most common factors that influence purchasing decisions are:
    1. Alignment with existing technology and platform commitments.
    2. Alignment with existing strategic vendors.
    3. Support for specific use cases.
    4. Support of specific functions.
    5. Time to value.
    6. Initial and ongoing costs.
    7. Availability of software as a service (SaaS) options.
    8. Support for further customization or development.
    9. Availability of technical and business services.
    10. Level of vendor and product risk.
    11. Evidence of user acceptance (for example, the results of a pilot or freemium use).
    12. Evidence of acceptance by the peer industry group.
  • The business use of these products varies in the degree of formality and openness — from team information sharing and project coordination among a small, homogeneous group, to sharing best practices within a business unit, to encouraging networking and knowledge transfer among employees across the whole organization.
  • In general terms, products that compete in this market help users to:
    1. Find out about each other personally or professionally.
    2. Mine their own networks of contacts and acquaintances for advice, references and referrals.
    3. Form teams, communities or informal groups.
    4. Work together on the same work objects.
    5. Discuss and comment on their work.
    6. Organize work from their perspective.
    7. Identify relevant work.
    8. Discover other people with common interests.
    9. Alert users to information or events that may be relevant to them.
    10. Learn from others' expertise.
  • Some specific uses of products in this market include:
    1. Sharing team information and coordinating project-related activities by adding permanence and structure to ad hoc communications.
    2. Empowering communities of experts and interested parties (bonding people by specific interests, capturing best practices, disseminating lead-user innovation and providing an informal support network).
    3. Facilitating social interaction by helping people to establish and strengthen personal relationships and develop trust, and, ultimately, reduce friction and accelerate the business processes in which people are engaged.
    4. Accessing relevant knowledge and expertise that can be used to formulate a plan of action when decisions need to be made.

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