While the Leaders in Gartner's Social Software in the Workplace Magic Quadrant exhibit characteristics that match today's needs, it's the Visionaries that demonstrate an understanding of future market trends. Six names made this year's cut:
Telligent has found a place in this quadrant thanks to Telligent Community and Telligent Enterprise.
Strengths: Gartner recognizes Telligent for its strong collection of service partners, active third-party marketplace and, of course, its broad range of collaboration capabilities. Functionality includes document sharing, rich editing, e-mail integration, user profiles, analytics and a recommendation engine.
Cautions: On the other other side of the equation, Telligent shows less potential for cross-selling than larger competitors. Reportedly long upgrade cycles and strong ties to Microsoft technologies may also limit appeal.
Salesforce.com has made waves in recent times with Chatter, a network used for employee communications, knowledge sharing, and idea capture/discussion.
Strengths: Serving as both a self-contained networking application and an entire social services layer, Chatter's ability to integrate with salesforce.com's other business applications significantly manifests its value. As a late comer to the social business networking and collaboration pool, Salesforce.com is seemingly extra dedicated to proving Chatter's worth, which includes the promotion of a free service for non-salesforce.com users as well.
Cautions: Chatter.com is still in its developmental stages. Gartner notes limited
authoring/wiki capabilities, limited document handling for preview or conversion into editable formats, no preintegration with other platforms except through general APIs, and limited social analytics for recommendations, social search and filtering as significant weaknesses.
SuccessFactors has landed on Gartner's radar thanks to CubeTree, a platform used for employee communication.
Strengths: Designed for both standalone use and as part of the SuccessFactors software suite, CubeTree was designed for expertise tracking, recruitment and employee engagement. Notable capabilities include the conversion of Microsoft Office docs and PDF files to a "social document" format that can be displayed, edited or discussed in a browser.
Cautions: Though the company's overall strategy was rated positively by Gartner, the majority of CubeTree users are those who purchased it as part of the SuccessFactors suite. And without an external independent developer community and app store, the outlook for market traction and visibility is very limited.
Socialtext is well known for providing a comprehensive set of collaboration and social capabilities, and is used for internal collaboration, information sharing and networking.
Strengths: According to Gartner, Socialtext was one of the first vendors to position its product as a "social layer." As a seasoned soution, Socialtext offers a broad range of capabilities which include social spreadsheets, open social support and faceted search. Preintegration with SharePoint and salesforce.com, as well as a desktop client for rich activity feeds and file integration, make it a popular choice for some of the larger organizations out there.
Cautions: Gartner says that because Socialtext was one of the first vendors to enter this market, the company needs to do more with value-added partners to keep up with its peers.
Drupal landed a spot in the Visionaries' quadrant because of its use of the open-source model to drive development, adoption and popularity, while providing commercial support and enterprise publication services.
Strengths: With a more than solid hold on the power of community development, the platform also has the support of Acquia's partners. That pool brings 250+ consulting and development organizations to the table, providing a range of services, including community strategy, Web strategy, design, implementation, development and performance tuning. an open app store is slated for 2H11, along with administrator and end-user privacy controls on user profile information.
Cautions: While modules from third parties are a source of strength, it's a widely-known fact that quality can be variable. Use requires careful evaluation and ongoing support. And, as a relatively small vendor, it has limited abilities to meet the requirements of large or particularly demanding projects.
BlueKiwi is recognized for being one of the first products to build its user experience around the activity stream model.
Strengths: With a strong emphasis on ease of use, blueKiwi's platform combines comprehensive functionality with participation. Perks include social networking analytics, microblogging, rich-media support, extensive community management, polling and ideation.
Cautions: With fewer than 50 employees, blueKiwi is one of the smallest companies to make it in this magic quadrant. Interestingly, it does not provide some of the features that we have grown used to thanks to its competitors: profile badges, automated moderation, OpenSocial, third party developer programs and sentiment analysis are a few.