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2010 Beautiful PR pitch: I Choose the Cloud
The leading SaaS and Enterprise 2.0 vendors decided to make their business a little more "WOW". In the new show-channell called "I Choose the Cloud" the founders and executives of cloud companies appeal to join the cloud revolution. Because cloud applications mean not only simplicity, usability, speed and cost efficiency. They also mean the new exciting ways of running business. Because these applications are create not by serious gloomy IT-people in ties, but by such cool guys, who enjoy what they do. Guest stars: Aaron Levie (Box.net), Chuck Dietrich (SlideRocket), David Weekly (PBworks), Eugene Lee (Socialtext), Wendy Lea (Get Satisfaction), Clint Oram (SugarCRM), Tien Tzuo (Zuora), Matt Brezina (Xobni)
2010 Socialtext 4.0 wisely copies Google Groups
Socialtext has released version 4.0 of its enterprise social platform, and the main new feature is the ability to create groups. At first glance it seems that it's a little feature, and the new release is issued only for PR. However, all genious is simple, and Socialtext - is one of those companies that earn good money on these things. Groups - online spaces for communication and collaboration - are important for enterprise. These may be department-centric spaces, or workspaces for project teams, or communities of interest (yes, they are also useful for business, as they bring staff together). But how easy it is to create an online group space, for example, in Sharepoint? It's complicated enough for not creating it at all.
Another example - Google Groups, which have recently become the part of Google Apps. In couple of clicks you can create a group, set permissions, to invite the co-workers. The same is with Socialtext 4.0, but instead of discussions (that are used in Google Groups) it uses microblogging service. Any employee can create a group. The group has a front page with the description, list of participants and activity stream. Each group has the microblog, where members can add messages, and workspaces with wiki, spreadsheets and files. Groups can be public, private and invisible.
You can access groups in browser, the desktop client or mobile device (iPhone, Android, Blackberry). Socialtext provides the free SaaS version for 50 users.
2009 Social Software leaders: Jive, SocialText and NewsGator
Social Software adopts consumer web achievements (wikis, blogs, profiles, tags, ratings, social connections, people search, micro-blogging) in the enterprise environment. Of course, today almost all software vendors say that their software provides social computing, but in most cases it's only PR pitches and their software is not really social. At the same time there are few "native social software" solutions, that provide a social layer for company intranet and really enable it to achieve the social software objectives: create enterprise-wide community and improve collaboration. The most successful on this market are 3 solutions: Jive SBS, SocialText and NewsGator Social Sites.
All these system provide a wide range of social tools, so that clients don't need to deploy several solutions for different tasks (content management, collaboration, internal community). Unlike other perspective startups like PBWorks, Confluence and MindTouch, the three leaders grew out from their original narrow niches. Besides, these solutions managed to provide enterprise-class level of security and control, all of them provide in-house solution. And there is one more reason of their success - MS Sharepoint integration.
Sharepoint 2007, itself isn't social software. But, Steve Ballmer is right, Sharepoint is the very system that brings social computing into the enterprise. Sharepoint is so widely used as a intranet solution, that all social vendors have to use it as a platform. Of course, Microsoft wants to get rid of these social add-ons and earn money on social layer itself with Sharepoint 2010. But it seams not so scary for Jive, SocialText and NewsGator.
Jive Social Business Suite (formal Clearspace) yesterday raised another $US 12M in fundingна. This software was started as an internal community, and later was combined with customer community and public Social Web. Jive is more expensive than its competitors, but nevertheless, according to user ratings and Gartner reports - it's a market leader. Interesting that at first Jive was positioned as Sharepoint alternative and it was integrated with Sharepoint only this month.
SocialText - just two years ago was the most popular business wiki. But then it started growing, added profiles, social connections, personalized home pages, activity streams and micro-blogs. Their most recent feature is social spreadsheets (something between wiki and excel). Socialtext - is the most socialist product. First, it's open-source, and second, it's quite inexpensive and even provides 50-user SaaS version for free.
Newsgator Social Sites - grew out from enterprise RSS solution. This system raised its popularity only thanks to Sharepoint, as Nesgator is a set of templates, web-parts and add-ons for Sharepoint. In 2007 Microsoft selected Newsgator as a primary provider of social tools for Sharepoint and assured its bright future. Newsgator adds to Sharepoint communities, RSS, enhanced profiles, social connections, tags, activity streams, content rating, knowledge management. In September Newsgator unveiled micro-blogging tool.
Speaking about Social Software market we should also mention IBM Lotus Connections. This system was reborn this year with version 2.5 release and got a lot of positive reviews. But this software has one big problem - it wants to replace Sharepoint, rather than integrate with it.