Gartner's trademark analytic tool plots vendors according to vision and "ability to execute," with the leaders in the market placed in the coveted upper right hand corner. Yammer shares a spot there with Microsoft, IBM, Jive Software, and Salesforce.com. Gartner listed Yammer separately, even though it has now been acquired by Microsoft, because there have so far been few changes from the way Yammer operated as a separate company. Yammer is offering free copies of the full report.
Gartner hadn't included Yammer in the report previously, but it is taking it seriously as an enterprise social networking player now. "Yammer's early entry to this market with a successful freemium option gave it broad visibility, and it continues to grow," the report notes. It outlines Yammer's opportunities to establish itself as a "place" for social conversations and information sharing and as "the social layer" integrated with other applications, particularly Microsoft's Office and Dynamics. Gartner also praises Yammer for its use of an agile methodology, with "rapid iterations that account for what has and has not worked in practice. This approach results in improved usability and higher voluntary adoption rates than for competing products."
Cisco, Huddle, Tibco Software, and VMware were also additions to the list. In part, these additions reflect a surge in interest from Gartner clients and prospective buyers in "products bought specifically for enterprise social networking by organizations less interested in using them as platforms for managing content or delivering other services." In other words, these are products more tightly focused on activity streams and social interaction, as opposed to broader products from Jive or IBM that also include wikis and other content management tools. Gartner said it will be publishing a followup report later in 2012 on this sub-segment, in which it places Salesforce.com's Chatter, Microsoft's Yammer, Tibco Software's Tibbr, and VMware's Socialcast.
Gartner previously published three reports on social software for the workplace, for external networks, and for Social CRM, allowing Jive to boast that it was the only company listed as a leader in all three. This year, Gartner said it is dropping the report on external networks because most social workplace products now support extranet applications where customers or partners can be invited to participate, making the distinction insignificant.
[ Read Yammer Updates, Partners With HootSuite. ]
In Gartner's classification, VMWare (with Socialcast), Tibco (Tibbr), and Atlassian are listed as capable challengers, while Telligent, Cisco, SuccessFactors, and Acquia are classified as visionaries, with less "ability to execute" than the leaders.
In its analysis on the leaders, Gartner said:
-- "IBM Connections was one of the first products to target the social software market specifically. Other products in IBM's portfolio--such as Sametime, Notes/Domino, FileNet Content Manager and WebSphere Portal Server--broaden the applicability of Connections." On the other hand, the complexity of IBM's product line can also be seen as a negative.
-- Jive "continues to gain enterprise-scale customers thanks to its broad product capabilities and substantial visibility." Jive boosted its long-term credibility with a successful IPO and continues to refine both its platform and packaged solutions that work on top of it.
-- "Microsoft Windows, Office, Exchange, Lync and SharePoint all work best with each other, offering IT organizations at least the appearance of simplicity in terms of training, usability, extensibility and management." Organizations buy SharePoint for its breadth of capabilities, and many Gartner clients are considering it to meet their social software needs--even though its out-of-the-box experience hasn't kept up with market expectations.
-- Salesforce has a strong vision for social software and Chatter "is used for employee networking, information sharing (especially for sales and customer support activities), executive communications, and capturing and discussing ideas."
Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)