It's that magical time of year again. Gartner (news, site) has revealed the who's who in social Enterprise software providers via their magic quadrant. Higher eligibility requirements made a tougher game this time around, and the names that didn't make the cut may surprise you. 

The Winner's Circle 

First things first: Gartner's top dogs of 2009 -- Jive, IBM and Microsoft -- retained their positions in the "Leaders" quadrant this year with no added company, while the same went for Atlassian and Open Text in the "Challengers" block.

Gartner_mq_workplace_2010.jpg
Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace 2010

Change was big in both the "Niche Players" and "Visionaries" sections however, as several vendors were completely dropped. MindTouch, Tomoye, EMC, Mzinga and eTouchSystems are just a few of this year's jilted. Only one new company, XWiki, was added. 

Here's a look at the 2009 quadrant for comparison:

Gartner_mq_workplace_2009.jpg
Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace 2009 

Raising the Stakes / Notable Mentions

Meanwhile, despite all the buzz, a large number of popular names didn't appear in the quadrant at all. Gartner made mention of them in the official release, noting that even though they haven't been formally included, they should still be of interest:

  • Alfresco
  • Box.net 
  • BroadVision 
  • Cisco
  • Cornerstone OnDemand
  • FatWire Software
  • KickApps 
  • Moxie Software
  • Oracle
  • Salesforce.com's Chatter
  • Yammer

Surprised? It was the change in criteria that really did it. Gartner now requires each vendor provide four "references" from organizations that have the product deployed to at least 5,000 employees and are willing to talk about it. Further, the research company looked for general purpose products that focus on internal teams and market presence (at least 15 different customers, 100,000 active seats total). 

As for desirable functions, it was the usual:

  • blogs
  • configurable group, project, team or community areas
  • document sharing
  • discussion forums
  • roles and access control
  • user management
  • user profiles
  • wikis

"Most organizations are still grappling with finding the right balance between risk and reward when: considering employee access and engagement with external social networking sites; setting up communities to capture informal knowledge, and discovering "freemium" tools, such as Yammer, in their organizations," stated the report. "Even when there are reasonable expectations of business value, these are hard to quantify in a way that would justify such deployments in opposition to those who fear time wasting, loss of quality control and system abuse."

The Right Balance

If it's your goal to make the quadrant, or at least choose a vendor that's dressed to impress, here's a quick look at what's doing it for the judges at the moment:

Jive

Aimed at medium to large organizations, Jive's social business software works to keep communication flowing inside and the outside of the enterprise: 

Jive also landed a leadership position in the Magic Quadrant for Externally Facing Social Software 2010, the Magic Quadrant for Social CRM 2010, and The Forrester Wave: Community Platforms Q1 2009 report. 

Microsoft

Congrats to Microsoft for retaining its position in spite of criticism on top of criticism. The company worked hard to up their game in this arena, and it's obviously paid off. Communities, improved profiles, activity streams and microblogging are just a few of the perks the company offers, and you can check those out in further detail in some of our previous coverage: 

Extending SharePoint 2010's Enterprise 2.0 Capabilities

5 Ways Social Networking Has Improved in SharePoint 2010

IBM

Last fiscal year, IBM's install base for solutions that include Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections grew 34 percent. Connections most recently flaunted new features at Lotusphere 2010 such as Communities, Wikis, Mobile Access and Federated Updates. Meanwhile, Quickr, the company's collaboration software that works with ECM has got the following locked down:

  • Content libraries: quickly organize and share content
  • Team places: create online places for projects or teams
  • Connectors: work where you are without switching applications
  • Content repositories: security-rich places on your Lotus Quickr server where Lotus Quickr libraries and team content are stored
  • Templates: use pre-built team places to get started fast
  • RSS/ATOM feeds: stay up-to-date and in the know