At Forrester we have published our first Enterprise Social Platform Wave. I first entitled this blog "Enterprise Social Landscape Matures" but then realized that while the market has moved dramatically forward, it's hardly mature. Rather than mature, it often reminds me of my teenage son. Sometimes mature, sometimes not so much. The fact is that about 57% of enterprises are making some investment in enterprise social in 2011. Which means that 43% are not yet doing anything. There's a lot yet to be determined about this market. Yet, we see signs of growing up. There are some very large deals going down as some enterprises set standards and deploy pervasively. Jive, one of the vendors in our Wave, recently filed for IPO signaling maturation of the space. Some 800-pound collaboration gorillas have jumped into the space, including IBM and Microsoft. Cisco is making a move from the strength of its voice and video positions. OpenText is coming in from the content side. And there is still plenty of room for smaller disruptors with Atlassian, Socialtext, NewsGator, and Telligent all making waves in this growing market. Nine vendors were featured in the Forrester Wave: 

  • Leaders: IBM, Jive, NewsGator, and Telligent have the edge. As the market moves from early experimentation to real production deployments, four vendors have moved into the lead in terms of depth and breadth of offering, market presence, and strong executive leadership. IBM continues to move fast and exploit early bets on social. The company is now actively integrating Connections with its broader portfolio — including its portal, content, and business intelligence product lines. Jive continues to drive to establish and lead "social business" as a new software category. With strong momentum and an application marketplace coming on line this year, 2011 could prove a pivotal year in its quest. Telligent maintains a razor-sharp focus on analytics, a platform designed from the ground up for extension, and a growing and impressive stable of partners. NewsGator takes SharePoint's social offering to higher levels through its close partnership with the software giant.

  • Strong Performers: Atlassian, Microsoft, and Socialtext; OpenText and Cisco offer competitive options. Depending on your business goals, the Strong Performers might be the right fit for your organization. Atlassian, with its Confluence offering, has deep market penetration among IT organizations and is now breaking out to the broader organization. Microsoft has jumped into the market in a substantial way with SharePoint 2010 and is particularly attractive to organizations already running SharePoint. And Socialtext, a longtime thought leader in enterprise social continues to be a leader in bringing new social capabilities to business, particularly in the mid-market. Cisco and OpenText round out the field, but with new product offerings. Cisco is building from the ground up with Quad and is looking to leverage its strengths in voice and video into enterprise social. Meanwhile, OpenText has integrated social capabilities that came from the Vignette acquisition to re-energize its social offering and make it part of an end-to-end content management solution.

The nature of a Wave requires a common scorecard. When we chose to focus on broad Enterprise Social Platforms, we had to narrow the field to vendors that offered a broad and consistent set of functionality. In doing so, we decided to create a follow-up stream of research for vendors that offer (or at least currently offer) a more focused solution. For those who read the Wave and ask, "Where's Chatter, Tibbr, Socialcast, Yammer, and others?" the answer is that these offerings deserve their own research stream. They really need their own research stream. These offerings, which are focused on microblogging and activity streams (although some are quickly venturing into new areas of functionality), are getting a lot of traction in the market. As a prelude to coming research, here are some of the offerings that are garnering significant interest from Forrester clients:

  • Chatter. At Dreamforce a couple of weeks ago, Salesforce touted the "social enterprise." While Chatter has long intrigued me because of Salesforce's unique place in enterprise SaaS and the willingness of the market to buy Social in a SaaS model, I have harbored concerns about their willingness to step away from their CRM roots. Concerns allayed. Salesforce not only came out with a clear marketing message about the importance of Chatter as a standalone collaboration offering, they offered up numerous references that have gone "wall-to-wall" with enterprise deployments well beyond traditional CRM implementations. Add to that real-time capabilities acquired from DimDim, integrated document management and SharePoint integration and Chatter is a force to be reckoned with (pardon the pun). 
  • Tibbr. Tibco? Really? (Sarcasm) Yes. Tibco. Really. (Sarcasm swallowed) I attended a Tibbr launch event the day after the Super Bowl. Yesterday was the first Sunday of the 2011 season. During the course of an NFL off-season, Tibbr has gone from another company jumping into social to a company that has managed to really change their stripes and leverage their unique position in the market. What has Tibco done right? 1) They built a product that works. Customers are able to get up and running at large scale quickly and with few issues. 2) They built a vision around leveraging Tibco's integration expertise to make system-generated data a first-class citizen in activity streams. 3) They made the product relevant to information workers. With a very simple and familiar interface, Tibco has built something that knowledge workers are willing to use. And it was all done in the course of one off-season. 
  • Socialcast. VMware continues to build out a stable of knowledge worker technologies having already acquired Zimbra for email and calendaring and SlideRocket for visual presentations. With Socialcast, VMware adds social networking in the form of microblogging and activity streams. Socialcast placed an early emphasis on the activity stream as a delivery mechanism for system-generated notifications along with basic action items. 
  • Yammer. We've all been talking about consumerization of IT for a while now. Want to see a great example of a company monetizing the concept? Take a look at Yammer. Here is how most of Forrester's clients describe Yammer coming into the enterprise. 1) People starting using and digging Twitter. 2) Realizing Twitter wasn't right for work, they looked and found Yammer (go and Google "Twitter for the enterprise" and see what you get). 3) Users started out with the freemium version with authentication based on domain name and low and behold, they found it valuable. 4) IT gets involved and looks for something with more security and control and finds Yammer Enterprise. As Yammer grows, they continue to prove that they have built something that is easy to start with, easy to scale, easy to convert from freemium to enterprise and it works. The partner ecosystem is beginning to build as Yammer has announced integrations with SharePoint, Salesforce, and NetSuite to start. 

If you'd like to learn more about the enterprise social landscape and have a great opportunity to network with Forrester analysts and peers on the topic, join us next week in Boston for our Content & Collaboration Forum