Forget about the Magic Quadrant for Social CRM or the Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management. It's time to turn our attention inward and check out the best social software for your enterprise -- according to Gartner.

It's fitting that we now take a look at Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace -- that is our editorial theme this month after all (check out current coverage).

This is not, as you know, the first time we've covered this report. And it's not the first time we've seen Microsoft, Jive Software and IBM in the leader's quadrant. It is the first time Salesforce is listed there, but based on all the acquisitions and product updates, maybe it's not so surprising.

The key to making this Gartner Magic Quadrant is that vendors must offer a platform that supports employee collaboration and social interaction, and also be able to extend those capabilities out to partners, suppliers and in some cases external customers. Here we are looking at things like project team collaboration, communities of expertise or interest and knowledge networks (for experts and/or information).

Gartner notes the overlap in vendors between this report and the Social CRM Magic Quadrant but points out the very different use cases. Gartner also lets us know in this report that it will no longer create a separate Magic Quadrant for Externally Facing Social Software -- the two are now combined. What we can expect is a report called: "Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Social Networking" sometime before the end of the year.

Who's on the Social Software MQ?

Here's the quick list:

  • Leaders: Jive Software, IBM, Microsoft, Yammer (Microsoft), Salesforce
  • Challengers: Tibco Software, VMWare, Atlassian
  • Niche Players: OpenText, Saba, Socialtext (Bedford Funding), Huddle, Bluekiwi (Atos), Igloo, Novell, Liferay, Moxie Software
  • Visionaries: Telligent, Cisco, SuccessFactors (SAP), Acquia

You'll notice a few new vendors on the list: Cisco, Huddle, VMWare, Tibco Software and you probably notice a few who have come off the list: MindTouch, Ektron, EPiServer, Mzinga, Cornerstone OnDemand and XWiki. Gartner points to the inability to meet the "qualitative market relevance requirements" for a product specifically packaged and marketed for support teams, communities and networks (by this we mean things like profiles, group spaces, content sharing, discussions, blogs and wikis) as reason for removal.

Maybe that surprises you for vendors like MindTouch and Mzinga, but both are very focused on related but distinct markets (MindTouch -- multichannel product help social publishing and Mzinga for external customer experiences).