As we welcome 2015, it's clear that enterprise collaboration software is a booming market.
And if you look to three organizations that provide software rankings in this space, two leaders emerge across the whole rankings landscape: Microsoft and Salesforce.
Only Microsoft's social enterprise collaboration offerings and Salesforce Chatter and Communities got leaders citations in all three organizations we checked: Forrester Research, Gartner Research and G2 Crowd, the latter of which just released this week.
Several collaboration offerings got cited by more than one org, but only Microsoft and Salesforce got the nod from all three.
Distinguishing the Crowd
First, it's important to know these vendors don't rank software the same way. Forrester and Gartner use similar analyst models, while G2 Crowd relies on crowdsourcing and 100 percent direct input from users.
Forrester, for instance, had a 65-criteria method to even get in the door of its "Wave" report, and after that it boiled down the space to the "13 most significant solution providers."
Gartner looks at a whole list of criteria and weightings for inclusion in its "Magic Quadrant." Social software companies must offer a product that is packaged, marketed, sold and used to support teams, communities and networks, mainly within an organization.
To be a leader with G2 Crowd, a product must receive a high customer satisfaction score and have substantial market presence. Chatter, Lync, VMware Socialcast and Podio were named leaders for enterprise collaboration software in a report released this week. Chatter earned the highest overall customer satisfaction score.
Neither VMWare nor Podio made Gartner's or Forrester's leading pack.
Particularly for G2 Crowd, it was Microsoft's Lync product that made the leaders cut -- where Forrester and Gartner cited Microsoft capabilities like Office 365, Yammer and SharePoint.
Each ranking organization has a "runner-up" category.
For G2 Crowd, those would be called "high performers," which have high customer satisfaction scores with a smaller market presence than leaders. Wrike, Slack, Flowdock, Central Desktop and Confluence (Atlassian) were named high performers.
For Forrester, its second-place, or "strong performers," include Sitrion, Neudesic, Microsoft Yammer, Atlassian, SAP, OpenText and blueKiwi. "The strong performers each stand out in multiple areas of (our) evaluation, but are not as strong across the board as leaders."
For Gartner, the bridesmaids, or "challengers," include VMWare, Atlassian and Sitrion, each of whom offer solutions that have "a strong market presence ... and have the market position and resources to become leaders down the line."
One noticeable difference -- Tibco's tibbr's platform did not make G2 Crowd's rankings report but was cited as a leader by Forrester and Gartner.
So that the companies that these three organizations like. Who do you like the best?