Yesterday Broadchoice launched a new SaaS offering designed to enable companies to quickly create social communities for their customers and/or prospects. To me the most interesting aspect of the Broadchoice announcement is that its focused on sales and marketing professionals looking to leverage social communities for measurable business benefit. The core of the Broadchoice offering is the ability to track usage on a per-user basis to generate reports showing the effectiveness of social networking efforts.
In interviews we've done for our upcoming Unified Communications and Collaboration benchmark we've found that organizations are still struggling to understand the business case for Web 2.0 technologies. Broadchoice's offering is unique in that it is going after a group of buyers who are outside of IT. They hope to create pull-based demand from actual users of social computing by leveraging SaaS to ease site creation and management.
It will be interesting to watch how Web 2.0 vendors react to Broadchoice, I expect we'll see a growing trend toward focusing Web 2.0 marketing efforts on the end-users rather than IT.