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Forrester Wave: IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce Build Online Collaboration Lead

Yesterday we took a look at the first part of the Forrester Wave: Cloud Strategies Of Online Collaboration Software Vendors, Q3 2012, report where we saw that many enterprises are concerned about the feasibility of using online collaboration services, Today, we will take a brief look at the companies and products that made it into the this Wave.

Leading Trends

The interesting thing about this Forrester report is that despite all the talk in the market place about collaboration and even online collaboration there are only eight vendors that made it into the Wave, of which five made it into the Leaders segment: Box, Cisco Systems, Citrix Online, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and Yammer.

It is hardly surprising, then, that this market displays all the hallmarks of one that is only starting to evolve. It is currently in a state of flux where vendors are still refining, tweaking and improving their offerings with a number of clear leaders and the rest following in their wake.

IBM, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com

IBM, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com are leading the field, using their previous experience in the enterprise collaboration space to develop strong strategies for their online collaboration offerings. Both Microsoft and IBM have long histories in collaboration, while Salesforce is the pioneer in SaaS enterprise-grade collaboration, building on top of its customer relationship management and PaaS offerings.

Box, Yammer, Google

All three bring consumer experience to the enterprise with many collaboration service providers finding their way into the enterprise through knowledge workers who were adopting the tools to solve very specific problems. All three rode this wave with tools that were easy to use. Box and Yammer help potential customers to adapt to this kind of collaboration by providing easy integration into on-premises systems, while Google is making it easy to drop on-premises systems completely.

Cisco Systems and Citrix Online

These final two both possess collaboration portfolio’s that are still evolving. Both have evolved and are moving from purely conferencing services to fully fledged collaboration services. This has required a change in the way they think about collaboration and issues like integration, customization, access controls and encryption. Cisco is dealing with this under the WebEx brand while Citrix is beginning the collaboration journey as it integrates its recent ShareFile and Podio acquisitions.

Before diving into the report, Forrester recommends that potential customers look at all offerings and not just those that are in the Leaders segment. It is often the case that specific functionality will be found in the portfolio of vendors that fall outside the Leaders category.

Forrester Wave_Collaboration Online socres.jpg
Forrester Wave: Online Collaboration scores

Online Collaboration Leaders

IBM

IBM has been working for some time on integrating internal and external collaboration and appears to have found the right mix with the rebranded SmartCloud for Social Business offering. With it users can choose between a multitenant, and dedicated offering from a globally distributed data center. A significant part of its functionality can be accessed through most mobile devices and platforms, including iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Its Social Business Toolkit can both customized and extend its online portfolio.

Microsoft

We have seen since its release that Microsoft has been using Office 365 to ease enterprises into the cloud, although it is not clear how popular this has been as a product with anecdotal evidence suggesting the uptake might not be what Microsoft had originally hoped.

That said, Microsoft is using Office 365 to offer enterprises the choice of what they want to bring into the cloud and what they want to stay on premises. Microsoft continues to invest to bring its online offerings in step with its on-premises offerings. Microsoft is also investing heavily in meeting compliance standards like EU model clauses to reassure enterprises that Microsoft is compliant worldwide.

 

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