Digital Transformation

Magic Quadrant or Wave – Choosing a social business platform

We are starting to see some congruence in our techno-equalizers – the Quad and Wave.  The leaders are starting to pull together:

  • IBM
  • SharePoint 2010
  • Jive

But one area that is often noted is that many solutions are vertically aligned.  That’s not a bad thing.   As a general rule most of the leaders in either of the ratings tools are industry agnostic.  The only exception would be Jive – which tends to have a strong agency or independent solution base.  I am going to go through each leader and touch on some pretty important distinctions – in no apparent order

IBM Connections 

Currently on version 3.0 which is a great improvement on their original release and oddly a bigger growth on the 2.5 release.  IBM has really focused their efforts on the true enterprise base.  Many of the implementations have been internal and often could be seen as competitors to a traditional intranet.  Often a question is: “Can we use Connections to replace our intranet”.  To be fair, this a question we get with just about every platform.  But the answer is not as specific at the question asked.   A lot plays into a decision such as that:

  • What is your intranet used for now?
  • Is it integrated into other platforms or systems?
  • How important is search?
  • How is it governed or maintained
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As you can see, its not as easy as one would think.  A lot goes into an intranet and social platforms may solve a portion of such but may not be a total solution.  Platforms are moving quickly so this is intended to be a hot topic going forward.  Version 4 is said to bring some very much needed and requested integration points and more – watch here to see more.

SharePoint 2010

You mention the word it either brings happiness or heads shaking.  We have seen both.  But as a general rule, done correctly, SharePoint 2010 can be a very powerful social business platform.  Albeit, in the past there have been short comings, we have seen (and been part of) many great success stories.  SharePoint is a deep integration tool that goes beyond the singular topic of social business tool.  We have seen some of the best solutions in the social world come with the combination of Teligent and SharePoint.  Teligent has emerged as a top performer in the SBS (social business software) arena and we have had great successes in merging the two.

We have done great things around the basics such as wikis, forums, communities and social equity as well as social ideation.  Ideation is a concept that has really popped up recently as a popular tool for SBS.  The concept is nothing new- its basically a suggestion box in electronic form.  But it goes beyond that.  It encapsulates the suggestion box with social equity and voting.  Then it adds governance to implementing ideas and keep leadership honorable to suggestions and action items.

Jive

Jive has been a recent addition to the SBS world but, in my opinion, has lead some of the leading concepts in social businesses.  I am a big fan of Jive because they have bucked a normally placid enterprise world with concepts that bring consumer-driven social expectations into the enterprise.  I have had many great calls with leadership and these folks are committed to the community that has made them successful and also to the growing partner eco-system that is growing fast.

Unlike the major players Jive offers a hosted version that makes playing in the social world cheaper than many bigger players – but that pricing model is being challenged with LotusLive and MS offerings.  I still think Jive offers the most pain-free way to try social – with IBM VERY close behind them.  Jive has a social monitoring platform that helps companies who want to start with external social goals prior to internal endeavors be more successful.

In conclusion, the top three have offerings that would meet just nearly every social business need of most enterprises – whether your goal is cost savings, internal efficiencies or whatever.  Often times the decision lies within the technology stack the company is deciding to march forward with.  But more and more each of these have extensibility beyond their stack that makes that decision a bit less relevant – but today that isn’t the case.  We have done many of social roadmap and technology selections and each have been very individualistic in their tailoring to business need and required ROI.

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