Leading social business platforms – list of reviews, articles, reports

| February 29, 2012 | 12 Comments

I’ve been plotting a piece of work similar to what I did in terms of reviewing, evaluating and selecting from a list of idea management systems (see report at bottom of page) for some time now. This latest exercise if I get to it, would focus on the major social business platforms. I’m not sure what shape the ultimate work and report would take but to start me off I thought a list of the best reviews, articles and reports I could find would be good. Hopefully you find it of use and if I missed any I’d appreciate any pointers. I will be updating this post as I find more and will add yours. This post does not provide a review of each platform, just the list of others that have done a decent job in this regard.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for social software in the workplace 2011

gartner-magic-quadrant-2011I guess any review would have to start with Gartner and their Magic Quadrant series that is relevant to this sector. I have already done a review of their latest report (as far as the copyright allows me to) and so I don’t propose to go through any of their input here other than to use their list as a basis for mine. On a hilarious aside and lest we take these types of report too seriously – check out this really funny video parody of Hitler’s failure to get his cloud app in the leader section of the Gartner magic quadrant. Not to say that that Gartner’s input (or any of the other analysts) is not valid or has been influenced in any way, just that they may not be the “be all and end all” of views. You can buy the report here. I would say it is a relatively comprehensive review of the different platforms but at a high level with no breakdown of features in comparison to others, nor major technology components or company considerations, costs, etc.

The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Social Platforms, Q3 2011

Forrester-Wave-Enterprise-Social-Platforms-2011Forrester provides a worthy counterpoint to Gartner and it is interesting to compare the two lists and see where they tally up. Click on the images to see for yourself. Forrester has a smaller list. They used a set of inclusion criteria that eliminated a number of more focused social technology offerings. Vendors that placed a primary focus on specific areas of functionality, typically microblogging, activity streams, and profiles rather than broad platform functionality evaluated in the Forrester Wave (e.g. Yammer, Socialcast) were excluded. Other vendors that have placed a premium on specific vertical or horizontal capabilities, like PBworks and Traction Software, were also excluded. Vendors adding social capabilities to existing products — like portals and applications, e.g. Oracle with its WebCenter Suite, salesforce.com with Chatter, and Tibco with Tibbr were also excluded. Finally, those with insufficient market presence and/or market awareness within Forrester and its client base were excluded (e.g. Igloo, Moxie, and Saba). You can buy the report here.


Before I head into the list I’ll just say that it was gleaned from a combination of Google searches, the use of Zemanta which is a WordPress plugin that aggregates relevant content from blogs that can be included in a post and my knowledge of experts in the field that sometimes write about these platforms – I’m following some of them in one of my Twitter lists. And it would be remiss of me not to reference a list (perhaps the “mother of all lists”) that was started way back by one of the leading experts who used to work at Forrester (I think he started their Wave series), Jeremiah Owyang and his List of “White Label” or “Private Label” (Applications you can Rebrand) Social Networking Platforms, Community Platforms. That is rather an outdated list now and there has been a lot of consolidation since. I also want to stress that my list is not as complete as his and will focus on the biggest players in the corporate space (meaning those that have large corporate customers with tens of thousands of employees at least). So now the list in alphabetical order, lest any favouritism is suspected.

Atlassian Confluence



Cisco Quad



IBM Connections



Microsoft Sharepoint




SalesForce.com Chatter

SAP StreamWork






If you have any great articles, reviews or reports on the above vendors or think one should be added, please let me know in a comment or via Twitter. It would be best if they were as independent and comprehensive as possible.

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Category: Reviews, Technology

About the Author ()

I'm an "edge" kind of guy that loves being at the points where change, creativity and innovation happen. It doesn't always mean doing entirely new things, sometimes old things in new ways or the same things better. Most often its at company boundaries, where the "rubber hits the road" and products/services meet markets and customers, employees and suppliers co-create value. For me of course, social lies at the heart of all this. Most of my social activities are captured on my About Me page.

Comments (12)

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  1. Catherine says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I definitely think OneDesk should be added to this list. You can check out our unified social product development platform here: http://www.onedesk.com/product-tour/social-media-monitoring/

    I would love discuss this further.



  2. Hi Catherine. Can you provide a list of links to reviews of the kind that I have listed above? If you add them in a comment you are pretty much including OneDesk in this post and bringing it to the attention of readers with relevant references…

    • Many thanks Catherine, much appreciated. OneDesk seems like a really good product :) It has a very clear focus on the product development process (and especially software development, or so I understand from the articles) – are you specifically targeting software development companies?

  3. Geoff Carss says:

    Hi Stephen,

    What about Imaginatik..
    Site: http://www.imaginatik.com

    • Hey Geoff, thanks for dropping by :) To be honest, I would place Imaginatik into a very specific class of social software focused on a niche area of delivery around idea management and innovation and I guess that is what the leading analysts like Gartner and Forrester will have done too. These platforms I would say are more generic and cover social networking and collaboration in the main. But maybe that should change since there is so much overlap these days. Still, this guy is tracking vendors and is breaking them down at a much more granular level – tell him to add Imaginatik to his list by the way because it is extremely worthy :) http://www.alanlepofsky.net/alepofsky/alanblog.nsf/dx/enterprise-collaboration-vendors-im-currently-tracking

  4. Karthik ram says:

    I cant see MangoSpring in this list… Any specific reasons?

    • No reasons @2ba9276d0e5b8000056c8ca7b02775c5:disqus beyond what I mentioned in the 4th paragraph from the top under the title “The List”. As mentioned I did focus on the top tier vendors and it could also be that I just missed MangoSpring. If you believe it should be in the list why not send a couple of links to some independent reviews or analysis like Catherine from OneDesk did (see comments lower down)? At some point I will revise my ist and will include you but anyone reading it should pick up on MangoSpring from the comments for now…

  5. Jason says:

    This is a very helpful list, but i do believe Senexx (www.senexx.com) should be part of it. They bring a well designed platform and many integration options that makes using it just as easy as sending an email

  6. Axero says:

    Designed in close collaboration with our customers to create a world-class social business software platform, Communifire helps companies connect with their employees and gives them the power of information. Communifire is a leading social business software platform that powers social intranets, customer communities, knowledge management, and secure collaboration for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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