Social applications in the enterprise are moving up the adoption curve--and newcomers own this market at the expense of big tech vendors.
Business collaboration and social software--what we call Enterprise 2.0 applications--have moved from the hype phase into serious consideration and adoption at most companies.
Our InformationWeek Analytics Enterprise 2.0 Vendor Evaluation Survey of 619 business technology professionals shows that 68% of their companies have deployed at least one Enterprise 2.0 application. While Microsoft is the leader in terms of vendors in use now, thanks to SharePoint and Office, when it comes to overall performance, IT pros ranked Socialtext and Jive Software the top two providers, and IBM a close third. Microsoft checked in near the bottom. Customers are clearly finding value from small and upstart vendors, not just the largest players.
Our IT Pro Rankings are derived by surveying IT professionals who actually evaluate and implement the relevant products. We use two sets of criteria to rank vendors. The first set rates the relative importance of 12 standard benchmarks used for all product sets. The other measures vendors against criteria tailored to specific features and capabilities customers seek in the product category--for Enterprise 2.0 applications, these include the ability to integrate with internal applications, quality of the user interface, and completeness of the feature set. Notably, respondents to this survey favored smaller players like Socialtext even when we delved into very specific Enterprise 2.0 features (see chart, below).
As for what IT is looking for, Enterprise 2.0 applications, which include everything from Jive Clearspace to Oracle WebCenter, must address business needs and keep data secure, first and foremost. But we were surprised that product innovation ranked low. One explanation: It's not automatically assumed that offerings from companies like Microsoft are more innovative than those from, say, Drupal or Socialtext. IT's keeping an open mind. So what else, besides security, do respondents want?
"Features have been commoditized and are no longer the differentiating point," says one IT pro. "Enterprise 2.0 represents a paradigm shift in how people work, not which features they use. Successful Enterprise 2.0 vendors understand this and provide assistance implementing adoption, driving change, and educating users on new ways to work."