Forrester Research refers to social activities streams which connect enterprise social tools to adjacent collaboration, content, portal, and productivity applications in the environment as a “bridge” to “socially enabled” enterprise applications. Evaluating leading vendors in the current activities stream marketplace, Forrester has placed Yammer, Salesforce and Tibco at the head of the list, with VMware (Socialcast) and Neudesic cited as “strong performers".

All five profiled vendors in Forrester's Q2 Wave for Activities Streams offer a specialized activities stream rather than a platform, provided at least three references from customers in production, and were deemed highly relevant in enterprise social strategy or collaboration strategy for Forrester clients.

Yammer Simplifies User Experience

Forrester credits top-rated leader Yammer with providing a “simple, intuitive” user interface which has helped drive viral adoption to create a base of 5 million users, of which 1 million are paid. As Yammer grows from “disruptive startup” to enterprise vendor, it has focused more on IT needs. In addition to providing authentication, security and administrative controls, this has also meant providing social capabilities to cloud-based enterprise software packages including Box, Netsuite, and Salesforce CRM.

Based on Yammer’s investments, Forrester predicts it will pursue a social integration strategy that includes a “broad array” of cloud-based and on-premises solutions.

Salesforce Brings Chatter to the Enterprise

Runner-up leader salesforce.com embodies “enterprise-ready SaaS,” according to Forrester analysis. Forrester says salesforce.com is committing to the enterprise social market even more than to its traditional CRM focus, investing in deep links between the Salesforce CRM and Salesforce Chatter products. Chatter implementations are now being made across user enterprises, with notifications and actionable workflows fed into an activities stream. Forrester advises users of both Yammer and Salesforce to evaluate the implications of storing sensitive content in a pure cloud environment.

Tibco Offerings Not Middling

Although fellow leader Tibco is best known as a middleware provider, Forrester says the Tibco tibbr activities stream tool is “well-received” and deployed by customers that do not use a Tibco middleware interface. Tibco provides all major deployment options, however Forrester rates its on-premises activities stream delivery model as the best, providing access to underlying data and processes. Forrester also praises the strong mobile platform Tibco has made available for tibbr.

VMware Takes Advantage of Integration Possibilities

Strong performer VMware, which purchased the SocialCast activities stream tool, integrates SocialCast into the broader VMware/EMC portfolio (VMware is an independent EMC subsidiary), including the vFabric Rabbit MQ tool which provides advanced messaging/integration capabilities. VMware also plans to release a lightweight task/project management tool called Strides which Forrester predicts will provide structure for users to drive specific business outcomes.

Neudesic Feels Pulse of Social Users

Forrester also rates Neudesic a strong performer, saying its Pulse activities stream solution, which is tightly integrated with Microsoft SharePoint, also integrates with any user environment. Pulse can additionally consume data from any source (including, but not limited to, Microsoft), and Forrester says Neudesic’s professional services support adds further value to these broad integration capabilities.