There are some new kids in town. And some old ones still on top.

Forrester released its first Wave for Enterprise Social Platforms in three years this month. In its second quarter  2014 report, it named IBM, Zimbra and Jive as leaders for the second time, and tossed Salesforce, Microsoft and Tibco in the top for the first time. Zimbra was formerly known as Telligent.

 IBM Connections, Salesforce Chatter and Communities, Microsoft Office 365, Zimbra Communities and Tibco tibbr were cited as leaders in the space.

Gartner had a similar take on leaders of social software.

Why Some Stand Out


The enterprise social market is "chaotic" with many offerings, according to Forrester author Rob Koplowitz. In the cluttered market, vendors try to stand out with integration, analytics and partner ecosystems because things like activity streams, blogs, wikis and profiles simply no longer shine.

"Enterprise social has become increasingly integrated with adjacent technologies, such as document collaboration, portals and line-of-business applications like customer relationship management," Koplowitz wrote. "To that end, vendors with significant leverage like IBM, Microsoft, and will become more dominant on customers’ shortlists."

In Forrester's first wave for this space in 2011, IBM, Jive, NewsGator and Telligent (now Zimbra) led the pack while Atlassian, Microsoft and Socialtext were competitive. OpenText and Cisco were in the game, too.

Why this year's leaders? They are good at integration, offer a partner marketplace and are simply more complete than the others.

And for the record, when breaking out vendors by activity-stream capabilities only, Salesforce Chatter and Tibco tibbr led the way, and Neudesic, Microsoft Yammer, SAP and Socialcast by VMware were strong performers.

Let's take a peek at what Forrester's enterprise social platform leaders offer:

social business, Why These Six Enterprise Social Platforms Lead the Way

IBM Connections: Kenexa a Boon

The 2013 release of IBM Connections 4.5 included embedded document management capabilities that allow for quicker sharing of critical files for faster decision making. Additionally, social profiles, communities and files became available in the Communities' Microsoft Outlook client for more integrated Facebook and Twitter integration.

And the 2012 acquisition of Kenexa has really taken shape the last 18 months for IBM. IBM said it complements its strategy of bringing relevant data and expertise into the hands of business leaders with the integration of Kenexa recruitment and talent management functionality.

social business, Why These Six Enterprise Social Platforms Lead the Way