Highlights of IDC’s Worldwide Enterprise Social Software 2012 Vendor Analysis

IDC has released its Worldwide Enterprise Social Software 2012 Vendor Analysis. I received a copy thanks to Igloo Software. Companies covered included: BlueKiwi Inc, Cisco Systems, Inc., harmon.ie, IBM, IGLOO Inc., Jive Software, Moxie Software, Inc., Mzinga Inc, NewsGator Technologies Inc, Oracle Corporation, Salesforce.com, Inc., SAP AG, Socialcast, Inc., Socialtext Inc., Telligent Systems Inc., tibbr, VMware, Inc., Yammer, Inc. The reports evaluates and compares these vendors. In the post I will look at the cross industry movements that IDC offers.

IDC concludes that the “increasing sophistication of use cases demonstrates that the market for enterprise social software is maturing quickly. Organizations are looking to engage internal users and customers in an ongoing conversation, inside and outside the firewall. As usage increases in breadth and depth, activity streams, discussion forums, blogs, and wikis are becoming assumed functionality of enterprise social software to facilitate collaboration in real time and in context.” I would certainly agree with this assessment.

Application integration is increasingly becoming a success factor. IDC notes that “Customers are demanding broader and more specific collaboration scenarios that tie together internal and external constituents, deliver sophisticated insight into user behavior on the network, and extend seamlessly across mobile form factors.” These seamless extensions and the connection of internal and external constituents requires comprehensive integration that is designed to address business objectives.

Their key success criteria include: the ability to extend activity streams, blogs, and wikis to a broad range of stakeholders. The optimization of the mobile experience, comprehensive analytics that can “perform behavioral and predictive analysis on data generated by the network,” a scalable platform that can extend to customers, and partners, as well as handle different roles, company sizes and industries, and “prepackaged integrations with collaboration tools and major enterprise application vendors delivered via the cloud.”

We certainly agree with all of these factors, especially the prepackaged integrations. This is the goal of AppFusions and its suite of prepackaged integrations. For example, we have a number of integrations of Altassian’s issue tracking tool, JIRA, with a variety of collaboration platforms such as IBM Connections, JiveConfluenceAlfresco, Box.com, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

IDC notes that such social tools as activity streams and blogs are becoming required functionality within the enterprise. As social tools mature beyond initial marketing applications, use cases have grown into such areas as customer experience, sales enablement, digital commerce, socialytics, innovation management, and enterprise social networks.

The latter use case provides a means to find relevant information and people through connecting people, data, and systems in an overarching system. Collaborative workspaces are the outcome and the foundation for the connected enterprise.

Enterprise adoption of the new enterprise social software is on the rise. There has been as 40% year-over-year market growth. In this current survey 67% of organizations have implemented a corporate-sponsored enterprise social software solutions. While there are standalone solutions, many vendors have moved to more open and connected offerings through the use of APIs. This allows social software to be embedded within work processes, a topic I have covered before (for example, see Putting Social Media to Work and Giving Social Media a Good Job)

IDC concludes that “enterprise social software will eventually become the backbone of the ESN for a number of reasons.” This is being fueled by the recognition that connecting employees, customers, and partners is key to success. As McKinsey found, “higher operating margins (again, self-reported) than competitors correlated with a different set of factors: the ability to make decisions lower in the corporate hierarchy and a willingness to allow the formation of working teams comprising both in-house employees and individuals outside the organization.” Collaborative technologies create more agile organizations and these companies achieve higher profits.

In 2012 IDC expects to see enterprise applications and other collaborative applications being upgraded to include social functionality or becoming integrated with enterprise social software solutions in a complementary fashion.

It is an exciting time and we are pleased to be part of it thorough application integrations.

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