Sunday 28 October 2007

Looking for the magic in team collaboration and social software

I'm not quite sure what to make of this new Gartner magic quadrant on Team Collaboration and Social Software:

"The collaboration support market is being revitalized, with buyers and sellers looking to add social interaction in the context of broad collaboration support. We map how new and established vendors focusing on teaming, communities and social interaction are positioned in this changing marketplace."

SocialText have shared the quadrant online, but not the detail.

SocialText just sound excited to have just made it over the line to be classed as one of the only two visionaries (the other is SuiteTwo); but there are no leaders and IBM and Microsoft are the only challengers. So if we ignore the four exceptions, everyone is a niche player - which actually makes sense, but doesn't provide much value in terms of analysis.

Dan Farber points out that the quadrant isn't an apples for apples comparison and then makes a rather bold prediction that:

"As social software matures, consolidation among vendors will occur and comprehensive suites, rather than best of breed, will dominate enterprises."

I'm not so sure - do you view team collaboration and social software as one or more applications or a stack of capabilities that enable team collaboration and social interaction? For that reason, I was surprised not to see others in the Enterprise Web 2.0 stack like Cogenz or Attensa mentioned, but I guess more fundamentally it depends on how you define the scope of team collaboration and social software - e.g. as a starting point I would at least expect to see some or all of the elements of McAfee's SLATES model addressed in each. For that matter, where is Google in this?

I'll guess I'll just have to get hold of the actual report to see if it makes any more sense.

UPDATE: Ross Mayfield and Jeff Brainard from SocialText are going to send me a copy of the report. Thanks guys -
I'll let you know what I think.

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