Does our new 2017 SMMS Forrester Wave reveal one SMMS to rule them all? Unfortunately not. No one SMMS will meet everyone’s needs. But this report does provide a detailed analysis across 32 criteria for 10 vendors that you’ll want to include in your SMMS research: Facelift, Hootsuite, Lithium, Oracle, Percolate, Salesforce, Spredfast, Sprinklr, Sprout Social, and Sysomos. Here are a few questions that our evaluation answers. 

What happened to social relationship platforms (SRPs)?
In 2015, we referred to “solutions that help marketers publish, monitor, and respond to customer posts on social networks” as social relationship platforms. Given the breadth and impact of social marketing initiatives addressing all six phases of our customer lifecycle across the enterprise, we now refer to these technologies as social media management solutions. Our 2017 Forrester Wave evaluation criteria reflect capabilities that cover the latest uses of social across enterprises and the progressive capabilities within social networks today. 
Which SMMS capabilities bring together marketing and other business units?
Advanced response measurement, such as the ability to pause all scheduled posts in case of a crisis, is one capability that benefits the entire enterprise. Given the increase in global incidents and even brand missteps, it is essential to have a process and technology that allows you to suspend previously scheduled posts for both customer sensitivity and brand equity reasons. Some increasingly sophisticated SMMS tools also have approval capabilities that allow approvers without SMMS access to participate in the process, which saves time and mitigates risk. 
As a marketer, what considerations should I include in my SMMS research?
Don’t start researching providers until you have a list of requirements and specific objectives. Then, decide whether you’re looking for a partner or a vendor. A partner will take the time to help you operationalize SMMS technology within the context of your existing marketing stack. A vendor will simply provide SMMS functionality. Your objectives and requirements should provide you with additional insight into which of these options works best for your team.
As a vendor, what should I address?
Not only is SMMS competition fierce within the category, but it’s also spreading across other digital technologies as well. Why? As convergence ripples through the marketing technology landscape, digital solutions such as Sitecore and IBM provide social media capabilities. (Read The Forrester Wave™: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015 for more information.) And some SMMS tools contain mainstream digital capabilities, such as landing page creation. Marketers may not want duplicative capabilities. Regardless, organizations are striving for a single view of the customer; therefore, measurement and reporting, integration, security, and risk increase in relative importance. As consolidation continues, SMMS vendors must balance forward-thinking SMMS needs along with investments that support their clients’ broader digital needs.
Clients can read The Forrester Wave™: Social Media Management Solutions, Q2 2017 to learn more about the 10 leading vendors in the SMMS space.