Who will provide your business social apps?

The emergence of social media apps for business, a.k.a. Social Business Software (collaborate, chat, follow, feeds) is turning into an exercise in convergence, as in: where will your social media apps converge with your other content-centric apps?

The larger question is quickly becoming: who will (or should) eventually provide your social media tools and applications? Your existing or new web CMS vendor? ECM software vendor? CRM vendor? An upstart social media company? What about Microsoft SharePoint?

Traditional web CMS vendors are racing at breakneck speed to expand their platforms to offer intranet-focused social media apps in conjunction with traditional content management. Yet look at the upcoming Gilbane Content Management conference in Boston and you’ll see a high-tier sponsor is Jive, a solid leader in the emerging class of Social Business Software providers speedily making inroads into enterprises and department-level deployments.

And now here comes Salesforce.com with the pending 2010 launch of its Chatter social platform, which promises to meld collaboration, profiles, feeds, status updates, and more, with its widely used CRM (and marketing automation!) tools in the expanding Salesforce cloud.

Want a glimpse into what’s already a maze of confusion? Check out the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace, which tries to position social app vendors into a coherent array of available choices. And there are no lack of choices – we see web CMS, enterprise CMS, social business software apps, portal vendors, large suites, standalone apps all over the grid.

Is it possible to make an educated vendor selection with these widely scattered options? Or is the diversity of providers offering up more confusion than clarity?

About the Author
David Aponovich

A former 'CMS Insider,' David is relentlessly focused on the gap between vendor speak and customer adoption. In addition to keeping a keen eye on industry trends, he works with clients on the cultural and process implications of CMS that are so often overlooked. David wrote for the CMS Myth during his time working at Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design).

More articles from David Aponovich


3 responses… read them below or add one.

  1. Atle Iversen says:

    Looking at the Gartner Magic Quadrant it is obvious that this market is not mature yet, and a LOT of vendors are competing for the lead.

    As with most other things today, we’re getting information overload – there are too many (bad ?) choices. I think most organizations should just stay put for the moment and wait and see if any “winners” emerge…

  2. Doug says:

    Also, interesting at Dreamforce was the announcement of OrchestraCMS, 100% native Web CMS on the Force.com platform. When Chatter is announced OrchestraCMS will be enabled automatically. Auto-discovery of all Force.com data objects, time travel through the history and future of a website, full version control of all content including menus, wizard and drag and drop page layout, true view preview and many other features, make this a potentially compelling entry into the CMS market if we may say so! ;-) Much lower support cost than open source providers. http://www.orchestracms.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32VALJyTli8

  3. Dave Scalera says:

    (Disclaimer: I work for Ektron – a vendor on the Magic Quadrant)
    Interesting post. The convergence of WCMS and Social Tools (whatever you want to call them) is practically non-debatable. Organizations looking to use these tools will have to choose whether they want to single-source these solutions from one vendor, or use multiple vendors to provide these solutions. It is my belief that one solution is going to be the trend as ALL managed content is going to have the potential to be social content. This begs the question: What vendors will win this battle? I (biasedly) believe that vendors with a strong WCM methodology with a good understanding of Taxonomies and Content Categorization will be prime to facilitate the social just as well as they’ve done the WCM pieces (though it’s no easy task). Pure Social Software tools will be forced to partner with WCM players because their entry into the WCM market will be just too difficult.

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