Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace
Competition is growing in the social software market as vendors pursue differentiation strategies and buyers find it harder to tell the vendors' products apart.
The market for social software in the workplace includes vendors whose software products are used primarily to support people working together in teams, communities or networks. These products do not specialize in any particular business process or activity, but they are used to support a variety of collaborative activities (that is, they are general purpose). Products in this market are used mainly within enterprises, primarily by employees but also by external customers, suppliers and partners.
Buyers in this market are looking for virtual environments that can engage participants across the whole organization to create, organize and share information, as well as find, connect and interact with each other. Products in this market include both applications, which deliver specific functionality out of the box (such as shared workspaces or communities), or platforms, with capabilities that can be used as a basis for contextual collaborative applications. Business use of these products varies in terms of degree of formality and openness — from communication, information sharing and project coordination within small teams or homogeneous groups, to the sharing of best practices within a business unit, as well as the encouragement of communication, networking and information exchange among employees across the whole organization or with external participants in other organizations.
In general, products that compete in this market help users to:
- Find out about each other personally or professionally
- Mine their networks of contacts and acquaintances for advice, references and referrals
- Form teams, communities or informal groups, and invite external participants from other organizations
- Work together on the same work objects
- Discuss and comment on their work
- Organize work from their perspective
- Identify relevant work
- Discover other people with common interests
- Alert users to information or events that might be relevant to them
- Learn from others' expertise
Source: Gartner (September 2013)
Acquia is in the Visionaries quadrant. It provides commercial support and enterprise services relating to the open-source Drupal distribution. Acquia sells products and services to support and host internal and external-facing websites. Drupal Commons provides a social software package that runs on top of the Drupal Web content management base platform.
- Strategy: Acquia understands its intended user base and has forged a marketing strategy and platform that well suits the needs of that constituency. Understanding that its sweet spot in the market revolves around development and customization enables Acquia to offer a flexible Drupal platform to an audience that is looking for a tailored solution.
- Focus: Given Drupal's attraction to an audience that prefers to build rather than buy an off-the-shelf solution, Acquia has forged a healthy relationship of co-ownership and community with its large partner and developer ecosystem.
- Product: Acquia offers the expected functionality (for example, profile, social graph, blog and wiki) of an enterprise social networking (ESN) platform, but its open-source, developer and social content strengths can be highly adapted by knowledgeable developers familiar with the Drupal environment.
- Customer experience: When organizations do not take the time to understand Drupal or fail to secure developers experienced in adapting Drupal for ESN — including support and migration aspects — project delays, poorly architected systems and perceived quality issues from end users can result.
- Complexity: Developers need to be very thorough in terms of requirements gathering, design, functionality and maintenance/upgrade activities due to Drupal's high degree of extensibility.
- Innovation: Customers, developers and the partner ecosystem influence Acquia's platform evolution. Unless leading-edge capabilities are championed aggressively, adoption of new capabilities may lag until there is critical mass.
Atlassian is in the Challengers quadrant. Atlassian Confluence is known as a wiki-centric collaboration product, but it is increasingly being used as a social platform for the creation and sharing of content by employee teams, project teams and communities.
- Viability: Atlassian has approximately 700 staff worldwide (with 85 dedicated to the Confluence product), growing revenue and a very large customer base, including many customers with large deployments. An enhanced add-on marketplace is also helping to boost Atlassian's ecosystem.
- Functionality: Confluence has some of the richest browser-based content creation functionality, which, coupled with improved design and structured templates (blueprints), make it a strong collaboration product, particularly for documentation and product development support roles.
- Customer experience: Buyers choose Confluence, one of the most cost-effective products, for both its low cost and its capabilities. Comments were generally positive, with customers noting usability improvements. However, customers also commented on variable quality with third-party plug-ins and migration pains to the new editing tools.
- Vision: Confluence is not the only product in Atlassian's portfolio — its biggest seller is Jira, an issue-tracking system. Although Confluence is evolving fast enough to keep up, it is not leading the sector.
- Focus: Atlassian's products are typically bought by IT departments. They tend to do best in deployments that involve technical users.
- Strategy: Atlassian has historically relied on a "low touch" marketing and sales model, which some large organizations may find unsuited to their needs. Atlassian is enhancing its operations to address this issue, but this will take time.
blueKiwi is in the Niche Players quadrant. It forms the cornerstone of the "zero email" initiative (an attempt to replace email with social networking) for Atos, Europe's second-largest IT services provider. Atos owns the product and operates blueKiwi as an independent subsidiary.
- Platform: blueKiwi offers comprehensive functionality, with strong support for participation, social networking analytics, microblogging, rich media (including video), extensive community management, recommendations, polling and ideation. It combines these in a single platform that can simultaneously support internal networking, external communities and social media engagement.
- User experience: blueKiwi places strong emphasis on ease of use and an engaging user experience. Connectors to Microsoft Office introduced in the past year increase usability further.
- Strategy: blueKiwi's relationship with Atos provides experience with a large rollout, publicity through its association with eliminating the use of enterprise email and access to a large pool of consulting resources.
- Focus: While association with zero email brings market awareness, this concept is not high on many enterprises' priorities. Atos' ownership provides a measure of stability, but it can be risky and distracting to have such a dominant customer/owner.
- Viability: blueKiwi has concentrated on European operations but has achieved limited market penetration compared with most competitors; it has almost no presence in North America.
Cisco is in the Visionaries quadrant. Cisco WebEx Social is a modular platform for social collaboration with a strong emphasis on mobility, video and unified communications (UC) support.
- Vision: Cisco sees social software as part of a broader UC user experience and platform that integrates seamlessly with mobile devices, real-time communications, and the capture and sharing of rich media, including high-definition video.
- Platform flexibility: WebEx Social can be deployed on a large scale, from the cloud, from hosting providers and on-premises through virtualized hardware. It combines a broad set of capabilities, including rich profiles, mobility, social graphs, activity streams, communities, social metadata and a "unified post mechanism" (for conversations, blogs and wikis), all on top of a common policy and permissions model, a common content store, and a "pluggable" framework that integrates with content management, instant messaging, voice, conferencing and video services from Cisco or other vendors.
- Customer experience: WebEx Social is a relatively young product with a substantial technical footprint, especially when deployed on-premises. Some customer references report difficulties with user acceptance and integration.
- Viability: Although Cisco has made significant investments in WebEx Social, Cisco has yet to establish itself as a widely recognized vendor in this particular market. Cisco expects its products to lead their respective markets, so WebEx Social needs to improve its market position.
Google enters this Magic Quadrant as a Visionaries vendor. Google offers a broad cloud-based bundle of communications, authoring and information-sharing capabilities known as Google Apps for Business.
- Vision: Google promotes an attractive vision of a user-centric, cloud-based mobile platform with comprehensive capabilities that span email, calendar and file synchronization features, a browser-based office suite, and simple site-publishing capabilities. These capabilities blend business and personal computing approaches.
- Strategy: Google follows a multipronged strategy that leverages the low marginal cost and flexibility of the Google cloud platform; generates demand for its business products through its consumer products; promises product simplicity, with "good-enough" and broad capabilities; and offers very competitive and simple pricing.
- Innovation: Cloud-based delivery and the absence of legacy products allow Google to innovate faster than its peers. Google leads with its browser-based document-centric collaboration (Google Docs); full fidelity viewing and editing multiple document formats on mobile devices (via the Quickoffice acquisition); large-scale multiway video and screen sharing (with Google Hangouts); integrated telephony support; and instant translation (via the Google Translate service).
- Viability: Google Apps for Business is a very small part of Google's overall operations. Although it is both strategically important for Google (in ensuring that business computing platforms stay open) and potentially lucrative if successful, Google still needs to improve its credibility as an enterprise vendor in this market.
- Customer experience: Because Google applications work differently than most people are used to, Google deployments tend to be very polarizing. Some workers love them, some are indifferent, while others are deeply uncomfortable. Organizations using Google's products must be able to handle change and potential disruption.
- Product strategy: Google's all-in-one packaging and pricing is attractive to those ready to take advantage of a comprehensive offering that includes all the components. Although it is possible to choose which components to deploy, this is less compelling for those looking for specific components (for example, an organization looking for a collaboration platform but not a new email system; or those not ready to trust Google to provide a pure SaaS solution with such a broad set of capabilities). In addition, some important components (such as Google+ and Google Hangouts) are offered without dedicated support or SLAs and without access controls that some organizations deem essential (for example, the ability to exclude external participants).
Huddle is in the Niche Players quadrant. Huddle offers a SaaS product for structured document-centric collaboration. It targets collaboration among organizations, as well as internal collaboration.
- Innovation: Huddle is evolving fast, with monthly releases of new functions. There is a strong emphasis on collaboration around mobile content, with rich capabilities in managing enterprise content intelligently on mobile devices (including personal ones), along with tools to view and manipulate mobile content (for example, using PDF annotation).
- Focus: Rather than try to do everything, Huddle focuses on the important use case of collaboration and team support involving participants from external organizations, with an emphasis on mobility and file sharing.
- Ecosystem: Huddle works with a variety of technology partners (typically cloud-based) to add functionality to its products (such as support for editing Microsoft Office documents on mobile devices using Google's Quickoffice).
- Functionality: Despite having a full set of features for team file sharing, Huddle lacks many advanced social features, such as filtered activity streams and social analytics. Huddle complements existing collaboration and social networking solutions, rather than displaces them, and it has formed partnerships with such vendors.
- Strategy: Despite its success in penetrating many organizations — especially in Europe and in the public sector — and a noticeable push into the United States with credible partners, Huddle needs to extend its presence both geographically and across different industries.
IBM is in the Leaders quadrant. IBM Connections was one of the first products to target the social software market specifically. Other products in IBM's portfolio — such as Sametime, IBM Notes, IBM Domino, FileNet Content Manager and WebSphere Portal Server — broaden the applicability of Connections.
- Viability: IBM is an established vendor in the enterprise software and service space, with extensive global resources and well-developed relationships both with user organizations and with partners.
- Vision: IBM identifies social business as an important part of its strategic future. It has developed a program combining its expertise in services, consulting and technology implementation to help clients and prospects in different industries create social business strategies and adopt social technologies. IBM's acquisition of Kenexa also points to future opportunities to reach business decision makers through social talent management or learning solutions.
- Customer experience: Connections is increasingly used in more demanding situations by large organizations. All the reference customers with more than 10,000 users commented on the product's straightforward implementation. Any difficulties experienced were generally in relation to identifying and supporting relevant use cases.
- Pace of innovation: IBM continues to invest in Connections (with, for example, improved social analytics; mobility; browser-based editing via IBM Docs; integration with IBM Forms for surveys and electronic forms; Connections Mail for access to email directly from the collaboration environment; actionable notifications; and improved filtering and recommendations). One factor, however, that makes it hard for IBM to move faster is that, despite its investments in the SmartCloud delivery platform and its "Cloud First" development model, only a small fraction of its core user base is ready to accept cloud delivery.
- Complexity: IBM has rationalized the relevant product portfolio — most notably by combining collaboration, content (including document libraries) and social networking functionality within the core Connections product rather than through the discontinued separate Quickr product. However, more could be done to streamline the user experience when using Connections with other IBM products in larger bundles.
Igloo is in the Niche Players quadrant. It offers a SaaS corporate intranet solution that bridges internal and external collaboration and networking.
- Customer experience: Igloo's focus on customer experience has delivered benefits during the past year, allowing the company to exploit opportunities in organizations looking for a configurable SaaS solution that supports the creation of a branded and personalized experience.
- Functionality: Igloo pursues a focused marketing, sales and product strategy that emphasizes a core set of features that fall under the ESN umbrella but include adjacent functionality, such as real-time messaging and calendaring, allowing it to more prominently offer a solution for more specific work activities such as project-based collaboration. Embedded social analytics also provide insights into those interactions and the health of their communities.
- Strategy: Igloo remains a small player in a field increasingly dominated by large platform vendors. The market is shifting from a "corporate Facebook-like" destination site to an integration model in which social capabilities are added to applications and other types of workflow scenarios. Broader prepackaged integration options and a stronger developer story that is process-centric are areas for improvement.
- Viability: While the company does have some large accounts, there is a degree of consolidation on the part of enterprise organizations to reduce overlap and complexity of their ESN environment. As social capabilities become more common across large platform vendors, there is risk that smaller players will see their unique value perceived as being commoditized in the eyes of business and IT decision makers.
Jive Software is in the Leaders quadrant. It continues to gain enterprise-scale customers thanks to its broad product capabilities and substantial visibility.
- Focus: Having led the market with a social platform that attracted early adopters, Jive Software is now focusing its efforts on mainstream organizations by promising accelerated user adoption and acceptance; intelligent use of generated behavioral metadata (social graph and social analytics); and specific support for interactions across "engagement chains" among employees, customers, partners and suppliers as they carry out their everyday work both within the Jive social platform, or in any other application they may be using.
- Ecosystem: Jive Software has a well-developed partnership program that includes consultancies such as PwC, Accenture and Logica; digital agencies; technology partners such as Actiance, Box and Bunchball; and an active marketplace through which third parties can deliver Jive add-ons.
- Product strategy: Jive Software owes much of its current success to establishing an early presence in the fast-growing market. But as more vendors reach a good-enough product status, and mainstream organizations become less demanding, Jive will struggle against incumbents or new vendors offering broader portfolios with bundled social capabilities.
- Platform: Although clearly a leading social platform, the Jive platform lacks the breadth of adjacent capabilities (for example, document management, portal, business intelligence [BI] and real-time communications), or the ability to bundle with other business applications. Conservative buyers with existing commitments or needs in adjacent areas see this as a weakness.
- Viability: In 2011, Jive Software was one of the first platform specialists to go public. The initial public offering (IPO) helped it to secure enough funding to build up its platform capacity and its geographical presence and also to grow its organization. Although executing well, Jive is still a relatively small organization (with about 600 people) that needs to manage its evolution carefully, including becoming profitable.
Liferay is in the Niche Players quadrant. It offers a portal-centric platform for organizations looking to develop and integrate a collaboration solution that augments a company's portal investment.
- Integration: Liferay provides a jump-start for organizations looking to develop a customized ESN solution that leverages their existing Liferay Portal solution. This approach has allowed the vendor to leverage pre-existing relationships as it builds out a robust partner and developer ecosystem that includes those interested in both portal and ESN capabilities.
- Market understanding: Liferay has done a good job of tracking shifts in the enterprise portal space and understanding how social software trends have impacted its customers' interests in delivering a unified portal-centric ESN workspace. While Liferay is still considered a Niche player, it does know the needs of its audience and community.
- Strategy: While Liferay's understanding of the market and broad ecosystem are strengths, its overall strategy to navigate the social space beyond niche status remains questionable. Liferay will need to attract enthusiasm and support from new audiences, which are specifically looking for collaboration support. Liferay has not demonstrated that it can pull this off.
- Visibility: Liferay remains strongly identified as an open-source vendor in the portal market. It has not strengthened its brand identification and solution awareness as an ESN platform provider.
- Pace of innovation: Liferay has not achieved recognition as an innovator in the space. Social capabilities delivered to its Social Office component follow market and competitor advancements. This trend does not create confidence that the vendor can deliver expected functionality for ESN platforms pertaining to business process and application integration.
Microsoft is in the Leaders quadrant. It offers two products in this market: SharePoint and Yammer. The two products overlap with respect to collaboration and social capabilities, but SharePoint has much-broader capabilities in other areas, including document management, portal, application development, BI and Web content management. Although the two brands will continue, they are also increasingly becoming part of a single solution.
- Integration: Customers typically buy SharePoint for its breadth of capabilities as a platform, and they buy Yammer for its focus on usability and alignment with specific use cases. Preintegration between SharePoint and Yammer is improving, while Yammer specifically is becoming a "social layer" across other Microsoft products (for example, Office 365, Dynamics and eventually Lync/Skype and Outlook/Exchange). The general business relationship with Microsoft (through, for example, Enterprise Agreements) are also important considerations for many customers.
- Functionality: The most important enhancements in SharePoint Server 2013 include full browser-based multiuser document editing and sharing (with Office Web Apps and SkyDrive Pro), improved search using Fast (which is now the SharePoint search engine), and better support for mobile devices. There are also noticeable improvements in social capabilities (both breadth and usability) but with an option to replace some of these capabilities (for example, the SharePoint Newsfeed) with Yammer's activity stream for deeper integration between the two products when they are deployed together.
- Viability: SharePoint is the most common platform supporting collaboration and related activities. Yammer is the fastest-growing one (based on the interest from Gartner clients), mainly due to attracting end users directly through the freemium model and through the rapid development model, which is driven by user behavior data and which is now beginning to influence the development of other Office products.
- Platform: Microsoft needs to do more to distinguish between the roles of SharePoint and Yammer; it also must remove the overlaps and complexity in their deployment and use when used together, while avoiding "showstopper" gaps when SharePoint or Yammer are deployed independently. Another issue is that while the above can be done more easily with the SaaS products (that is, in the context of Office 365), this will be harder to achieve when mixing SharePoint on-premises with Yammer in the cloud — resulting in inconsistencies among deployment options and complications when it comes to upgrades or migrations.
- Customer experience: Microsoft will likely at some point in the next 12 to 24 months be able to offer a rationalized cloud-based solution combining the best of SharePoint and Yammer. However, the majority of Microsoft customers who are not ready to move to a pure cloud solution will face a long transition period with many compromises.
NewsGator appears for the first time in the Challengers quadrant. NewsGator's Social Sites is an established product in the social software market, supporting employee communities, social networking and expertise location by extending the capabilities of Microsoft's SharePoint.
- Strategy: NewsGator's Social Sites is the preferred choice for organizations that meet all the following conditions: when the organization is not ready to use a SaaS solution; when there is a strategic commitment to SharePoint 2007 or 2010; when the needs exceed the capabilities of their SharePoint installation; and when integration within SharePoint is strongly preferred over having a separate and potentially overlapping product.
- Road map: NewsGator's plans include deeper integration with other business applications; richer ready-made solutions for innovation management, internal communications and fieldworker support; and more intelligent use of behavioral metadata (for example, improved recommendations).
- Customer experience: Several reference customers with large user numbers above 10,000 commented on the ease of deployment and ease of use.
- Viability: NewsGator is positioned strongly in terms of market traction, with a clear value proposition for a sizable market segment (see Strategy in NewsGator's Strengths section). However, uncertainty surrounds future sustainable differentiation if NewsGator continues to focus on only filling SharePoint gaps. Microsoft has already addressed some of the most important issues with previous versions via improvements in SharePoint 2013. Even though NewsGator does offer improved user control, deeper email integration and easier external collaboration, it will become increasingly harder to justify the extra cost as more prospects consider SharePoint to be good enough.
- Pace of innovation: Given that NewsGator's customers tend to use Social Sites on-premises, with older versions of SharePoint, NewsGator will likely find it more difficult than competitors to migrate those customers to innovative new capabilities due to development and testing complexities.
Novell is in the Niche Players quadrant. Its Vibe product is usually deployed for project and team collaboration, networking, and knowledge management for internal and external teams.
- Customer experience: Novell has been very purposeful in Vibe's design to avoid overloading its user experience, thus enabling customers to familiarize themselves with the service and become proficient quickly. While not as complete in the social software in the workplace space as other competitors, Novell knows its audience, which appreciates simplicity for basic document sharing and collaboration.
- Support: Novell remains strategically and operationally committed to the platform, and it has done well in terms of customer and technical support processes.
- Strategy: Novell needs to clarify its vision, customer value and positioning in this market. Until that happens, existing customers and new prospects will have a challenging time determining whether Vibe exists to provide a pathway for existing GroupWise customers seeking social software capabilities, or whether Vibe is a long-term strategic platform that should be contrasted against more-established and well-known solutions.
- Ecosystem: Third-party vendors looking to become part of the ecosystem of serious solution providers in the social software in the workplace space may consider Vibe more of a tactical partner. While there is some attraction for existing third-party developers interested in a combined GroupWise and Vibe customer base, absence of proven performance outside that customer niche by Novell will limit customer options.
OpenText is in the Niche Players quadrant. It offers OpenText Tempo Social, which supports collaboration and networking internally between associates or externally between customers.
- Viability: OpenText is financially stable and has a large installed base of customers on which it can build to expand its presence in the social software market.
- Integration: OpenText Tempo Social benefits from integration with OpenText's Content Server, which provides records management and content library services, making it easier to include collaboration and social interaction in broader compliance programs, especially in relation to sensitive activities in regulated industries.
- Road map: OpenText has embraced an agile development model with frequent functionality releases in addition to regular quarterly updates. Tempo Social will be further enhanced through integration with OpenText's file-sharing product — Tempo Box — as well as improved mobile accessibility and email integration.
- Focus: OpenText has made substantial investments in rationalizing and enhancing its social and collaboration platform. However, although OpenText has an established market presence with its Customer Experience Management (CEM) suite that includes its portal and content management offerings in addition to Tempo Social, it needs to do more to build up its presence with respect to internal deployments.
- Vision: Although sold as stand-alone software, OpenText's social software offering may be best-suited to customers with an existing investment in OpenText, or for those considering social software as part of an overall information management strategy.
- Strategy: Although OpenText continues to make necessary investments and has accelerated its release schedule, there is little to differentiate it from its competitors in this market, beyond the additional value derived from the rest of its product portfolio. Given that its customers primarily have on-premises deployments, OpenText might struggle to keep up with nimbler competitors.
Salesforce.com is in the Leaders quadrant. Chatter, its social networking tool, is used for employee networking, information sharing (especially for sales and customer support activities), executive communications, and capturing and discussing ideas.
- Vision: Salesforce.com has a strong vision of its social platform as a ubiquitous, mobile, universal and flexible work execution environment that is in sync with relevant transactional applications or content — accessible not only by employees but also by customers or others outside the organization.
- Pace of innovation: Chatter leverages a pure SaaS model with a mature development environment that already provides access to a rich set of CRM applications. This allows salesforce.com itself to quickly evolve both the core capabilities of Chatter and the ways it can be integrated naturally with other salesforce.com applications; it also allows partners and customers to customize Chatter to fit their own specific requirements.
- Integration: Chatter can be used independently, but its value increases when used in combination with salesforce.com's other business applications. Business events such as contract updates and customer interactions can appear in activity streams to be discussed or "followed," while conversations, responses and ideas become easily accessible from within relevant business records.
- Focus: Although salesforce.com has always supported collaboration in the context of CRM processes, it is a relatively recent entrant to the general collaboration space. It is investing heavily to extend Chatter and increase its market presence. But despite signs of success as a networking tool, Chatter is still not perceived as a general-purpose collaboration tool. Chatter deployments are still often built on existing salesforce.com investments. In addition, Chatter pricing (free for CRM users but costly for others) favors organizations with existing commitments to salesforce.com, which also reinforces this perception.
- Customer experience: Although feedback from reference customers was generally positive, especially with respect to initial deployments, comments were mixed with respect to change management support for some non-CRM use cases (for example, general knowledge management).
- Functionality: Chatter is still evolving in terms of core functionality (with enhanced mobile and community support and richer publishing), a flexible, browser-based visual development environment, and file synchronization (via Chatterbox, which is expected before year-end 2013). Gaps in integration with third-party repositories and real-time co-editing are being addressed via acquisitions (EntropySoft and Stypi).
SAP appears in this Magic Quadrant as a Visionaries player. SAP Jam is based largely on the SuccessFactors Jam product (SAP acquired SuccessFactors in February 2012), with some additional functionality inspired from the now discontinued SAP StreamWork product. Jam is used for employee communication, project collaboration, and skill/expertise tracking and reporting as part of overall performance management.
- Strategy: SAP has a strong existing presence in many organizations, with direct access both to business decision makers (managing HR, CRM or BI initiatives) and to IT executives. This creates opportunities for SAP, especially when combined with an incentivized channel and sales force that can pursue solutions that combine existing on-premises applications with a cloud-based social platform.
- Innovation: SAP Jam's set of capabilities include browser-based manipulation of Microsoft Office documents, rich profiles, activity feeds with private messaging, rich media/video content authoring and desktop recording, and model-based decision-making support. The relevance of Jam is enhanced through deep integration, not only with other SAP products but also with those of other vendors, such as Box or Bunchball.
- Vision: Jam benefits from a renewed effort by SAP to solidify social capabilities into a stand-alone social and collaboration platform. This platform can also integrate with, and enhance other SAP business software to support use cases, such as social talent management, social learning and collaboration, in relation to sales or marketing activities.
- Focus: SAP Jam lags in visibility and market traction, and this needs to improve — not only as part of a broader business suite but also as general-purpose independent products.
- Customer experience: Reference customers made positive comments about the ease of deployment and overall satisfaction, but they also cited difficulties with customization.
Telligent (Zimbra) is in the Visionaries quadrant. Telligent acquired Zimbra from VMware in mid-2013 and will adopt the Zimbra company name. Telligent Community is used for creating branded customer, partner and prospect communities. Telligent Enterprise is used for creating employee communities, as well as for project and team collaboration.
- Innovation: Telligent (Zimbra) has done a solid job of navigating the ESN market. It was one of the early companies to focus on both internal and external communities, and one of the first to place a strategic bet on the business value of social analytics. The recent acquisition of Zimbra assets from VMware is another indicator of how the vendor continues to seek out new opportunities to generate customer value.
- Product strategy: Telligent (Zimbra) has consistently refined, improved and added functionality to its platform. Based on Microsoft technologies, Telligent Community is also a friendly solution that augments existing investments in SharePoint. The company has also effectively addressed customer interest in multiple deployment models, offering solutions that are on-premises as well as cloud. That customer focus also is displayed through its multiple licensing options.
- Customer experience: By offering both internal and external solutions that can be deployed in a variety of manners, through a product with very strong community capabilities, Telligent (Zimbra) has been able to forge a strong customer experience.
- Focus: With the market tipping toward integration of social capabilities into the flow of work (for example, processes), Telligent (Zimbra) needs to avoid distractions, such as getting into the mature email business via its recent Zimbra acquisition, and needs to concentrate on where the market and its customers are heading.
- Integration: Integration with business applications can be accomplished in multiple ways, but all options require a robust developer program, flexible collection of programmable interfaces and perhaps new functionality, such as a business process management (BPM) capability.
Tibco Software is in the Challengers quadrant. Its ESN product, tibbr, offers a broad set of capabilities and is used for information sharing, communication and collaboration.
- Platform: Tibbr is available as SaaS or an on-premises product, with the majority of its customers using the multitenant public cloud option. Apart from comprehensive capabilities, tibbr puts more emphasis on hierarchical top-down information organization; tasks and idea management; and mobile support with location awareness.
- Viability: Tibbr can draw on Tibco Software's resources, partner ecosystem, geographic presence and visibility.
- Integration: There is integration between tibbr and multiple conferencing providers, such as Cisco (WebEx), Microsoft (Skype) and Google (Hangouts), as well as multiple content repositories (for example, SharePoint, Box and Google Drive). Further integration with other business applications aims to establish tibbr as a universal aggregator of notifications, information and active tasks from other systems.
- Functionality: Although tibbr offers integration with a variety of third-party products (see its Strengths above), its range of built-in applications is limited to core capabilities. Given Tibco's other products in adjacent areas, such as BPM, there are as yet unrealized opportunities.
- Customer experience: Feedback from reference customers was positive overall, noting straightforward deployments but also commenting on UI customization complexity, performance glitches and pockets of product immaturity.
- Strategy: Although Tibco Software has joined this market at a time of growing interest in social software and has executed reasonably well so far, in the long term it will need to do more to differentiate tibbr from the offerings of numerous competitors.
VMware appears in this Magic Quadrant as a Challenger. Its Socialcast ESN product is used for information sharing, communication and collaboration.
- Road map: Important announcements in Socialcast 6 include easier-to-use private messages (especially on mobile devices), geo-tagging of invitations and conversations, new lightweight task and project management (UI borrowed from VMware's Strides project, but otherwise rewritten), dynamic badges, as well as improved file sharing and analytics.
- Vision: Socialcast by VMware can be deployed on-premises or as a cloud service for internal social networking. Socialcast technology can also be integrated with the VMware Horizon Suite for centralized policy-driven access to cloud applications.
- Customer experience: Several references with large user populations commented explicitly on the ease of integration, the high level of support and the high levels of user acceptance.
- Focus: Although Socialcast draws on the resources and ecosystem of VMware, and it benefits from access to VMware's customer base, it is only a small part of VMware's business. Its future within VMware depends on Socialcast achieving a leading position in this market as well as the success of VMware's broader end-user computing strategy.
- Strategy: VMware is respected by technologists in both its user base and its ecosystem, but the company must improve its access to business decision makers and to partners that can handle change management.
Zyncro enters this Magic Quadrant for the first time as a Niche Player. Its cloud-based social networking product is used both for internal collaboration and for external (mainly customer) communities.
- Product: Zyncro offers a comprehensive on-premises or cloud product that combines core collaboration and social capabilities with support for document repositories, electronic forms, tasks, real-time collaboration, and other related functionality.
- Strategy: Zyncro is pursuing a multipronged strategy and has had some success penetrating the local market in Europe, where Zyncro is based. It also has established market presence in emerging markets in Latin America and Asia, while at the same time pursuing OEM deals with telecom operators, such as Spain's Telefonica, via a customizable "white label" offering.
- Focus: Although apparently successful in terms of overall growth, Zyncro relies on a partnership model (mainly with telecom operators) that is more suitable for smaller and midsize enterprises rather than larger ones.
- Customer experience: We received mixed comments about Zyncro. The company also received below-average scores from some of its customers. Some references cited ease of deployment, but several others pointed to complex customization, performance issues with the public cloud solution (although Gartner understands that these have been resolved by adding regional data centers in Europe), and difficulties with active directory integration.
We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor appearing in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. This may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or a change of focus by a vendor.
Yammer, which was acquired by Microsoft in June 2012, now appears as Microsoft. SuccessFactors now appears as SAP.
See the Notable Absences From This Magic Quadrant section for a description of these vendors that were dropped from this report:
- Moxie Software
Vendors that are included in this Magic Quadrant offer products that meet both the qualitative market relevance criteria and the quantitative market presence criteria.
To be included, a vendor must offer a product that is packaged, marketed, sold and used to support teams, communities and networks mainly within an organization — that is, not packaged, marketed or used mainly for any other purpose.
The relevant product must support the following minimum functionality:
- User profiles
- Group spaces
- Content sharing
- Activity streams
The relevant product or vendor must meet all of the following criteria:
- Worldwide, the vendor has at least 60 employees in its organization dedicated to developing, marketing or supporting the relevant social software product.
- In its latest fiscal year, the vendor generated at least $9 million in revenue that can be attributed exclusively to the relevant product.
- The vendor had at least 10% year-over-year growth in terms of revenue.
- The vendor has among its paying customers at least 15 organizations with active deployments for at least 5,000 users (that is, excluding freemium and open-source users).
- At least 200,000 named users (or equivalent) among all the paying organizations are licensed to use the vendor's relevant product and are actively using it (excluding unsupported freemium and open-source users).
- The vendor has a presence in at least three geographic regions, with some personnel dedicated to the relevant product.
Product or Service: The overall product or service functionality rating for each vendor was reached by evaluating specific functionality that is already available and, in particular, the extent to which the product goes beyond the baseline functionality required for inclusion. Examples of the functions and features we looked for are social network analysis, browser-based productivity suites, dynamic activity streams, document repository integration, social tagging, social bookmarking, social search, general analytics, expertise location, group formation based on common interests, content/people ratings, people/content recommendations, offline support and native mobile clients. We also took into account the product's ability to serve large numbers of users (over 5,000). In addition, we gave each product a subjective "usability" score.
Overall Viability: Key aspects of this criterion are the vendor's financial health, including funding, who is investing in and backing its activities, its profitability, and the degree to which the vendor is committed to this part of its business.
Sales Execution/Pricing: This criterion concerns the vendor's ability to sell to large organizations, the total number of active users among all the vendor's customers, its price transparency, the straightforwardness of its sales process, the level of activity of channel partners, and the total number of sales employees.
Market Responsiveness/Record: This criterion was not rated, as we could not identify sufficiently independent and measurable factors related to market responsiveness that would make a difference to the vendors' relative positions.
Marketing Execution: We looked for evidence of mind share, thought leadership and brand recognition, and for any specific marketing initiatives (white papers, events, microsites and social media campaigns) that may have helped to promote them. One particularly effective approach is for senior executives to be active participants in online conversations via blogs, comments and industry forums. We also took into account the size of each vendor's marketing organization, the mind share of each vendor based on conservations with Gartner clients and the mind share of each vendor based on the comments from reference customers about the products they evaluated.
Customer Experience: We collected customer feedback from vendor-supplied references, discussions with users of Gartner's inquiry service and other customer-facing interactions, such as those at Gartner conferences. Customers' experiences were rated based on the vendor's ability to help customers with professional services and ongoing support. We also looked at the presence of active customer communities for peer support, the complexity of deployment and migration, and the level of control a customer has over a SaaS deployment (for example, to decide when to upgrade, or to upgrade selectively).
Operations: Factors considered included the quality of the vendor's organizational structure — skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable it to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis, as well as the overall size of the vendor's collaboration and social software business (in particular, numbers of dedicated employees). We also looked at numbers of technology and service partners and for any training and certification programs.
Source: Gartner (September 2013)
Market Understanding: Each vendor needs to not only demonstrate a strategic understanding of collaboration and social software opportunities, such as an understanding of the business value of social interaction support, but also exhibit an understanding of the realities of market dynamics in this competitive space. We looked at the specific ways in which different products support different use cases. We rated higher the products that could associate with sustainable differentiation, such as adjacency advantages, platform advantages, exceptional innovation or end-user attraction.
Marketing Strategy: This criterion assesses the degree to which each vendor's marketing approach suits (and/or exploits) emerging trends and the market's overall direction. In particular, we looked at the use cases promoted in each vendor's marketing messages to specific buyers, online activities, and any programs for educating and "priming" the market connected with social interaction support (for example, freemium, "try before you buy," open-source and hosted versions). We also assessed the quality of each vendor's online presence.
Sales Strategy: Apart from an assessment of the overall sales plans, we looked at the ability of the vendor to engage both with business and IT decision makers, the ability to sell across vertical industries, the presence of vertical sales programs, and any opportunities for cross-selling or converting large numbers of early adopters to enterprisewide deployments.
Offering (Product) Strategy: We assessed the degree to which each vendor's product road map reflects demand trends and opportunities to create demand. We also looked at the breadth of each vendor's offering or preintegration with related services. In addition, we rated each vendor's cloud delivery plans, and the availability of a marketplace that encourages partners and developers to add value to the product.
Business Model: This criterion was not rated, as we could not identify sufficiently independent and measurable factors that relate to each vendor's business model that would make a difference to the vendors' relative positions.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: This criterion was not rated, as we could not identify sufficiently independent and measurable factors that relate to each vendor's vertical market strategy that would make a difference to the vendors' relative positions.
Innovation: This criterion considers the degree to which each vendor invests in R&D for relevant tools and the extent to which it demonstrates "creative energy." Examples of innovative capabilities we rated include activity filtering and analysis, mobile support (including remote wipe), file synchronization, ability to add comments in previews or shared documents, the availability of instant parametric search, location-based "check-in" and gamification capabilities.
Geographic Strategy: We examined each vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of customers in regions other than that in which its corporate headquarters is located. More specifically, we looked at the availability of the product in multiple languages and the presence of the vendor in different geographies, and we rated each vendor's ability to deliver cloud services via region-specific data centers.
Source: Gartner (September 2013)
Leaders are well-established vendors with widely used social software and collaboration offerings. They have established their leadership through early recognition of users' needs, continuous innovation, overall market presence, and success in delivering user-friendly and solution-focused suites with broad capabilities.
Challengers offer solutions that have a strong market presence or that are otherwise strong, and they have the market position and resources to become Leaders. But these vendors may not have the functional breadth, marketing strategy or pace of innovation of Visionaries. Challengers have established presence, credibility and viability, and once their products move beyond a good-enough baseline, they are likely to use their customer base to overtake competitors and enter the Leaders quadrant.
Visionaries demonstrate a strong understanding of current and future market trends, such as the importance of a flexible and transparent collaboration environment, as well as the value of mutual reinforcement of tools that encourage user contributions and tools that encourage bottom-up group and structure formation. Their products and product road maps display a tendency for innovation, especially in terms of architecture and lightweight integration, while their marketing and R&D efforts are often boosted by alignment with marketplaces and developer ecosystems. Visionaries do not exhibit the scope of delivery of Challengers or Leaders, but they have demonstrated strong vision across a range of capabilities.
Niche Players provide useful, focused technology, understand the market's changing dynamics, and strive to evolve their products' capabilities. However, they are held back by a narrow range of functionality, a lack of clarity in their road map about how and when they will remedy this shortcoming, or by a lack of market traction. Many of the smaller Niche Players may enjoy considerable success relative to their size, but they need to exploit every opportunity to improve their positions before their competitive differentiation erodes. As the social software market matures, pockets of specialization may solidify. Therefore, a viable alternative strategy for a minority of the smaller vendors is to focus on niche sectors for specific industries or activities. Many of these vendors are unlikely to break out of the Niche Players quadrant, even though their businesses may remain viable in the long term.
The collaboration and social software markets remain dynamic and highly competitive, with new entrants joining and consolidation accelerating. Gartner estimates the enterprise social software market in 2012 will account for $840 million of the total worldwide software revenue, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4%. It is forecast to grow to $1.4 billion in 2016, with a five-year CAGR of 13.4% (see "Market Trends: Community and Suite Applications Flourish in the Enterprise Social Software Marketplace").
The business objectives addressed by social software deployments have stayed largely the same over time. IT leaders who are responsible for collaboration and social software initiatives, whether managing collaboration deployments or charged with workplace transformation, are looking to:
- Improve general communication and information sharing
- Boost team productivity and effectiveness within projects and business processes
- Support communities that stimulate learning and innovation, diffuse best practices, and encourage peer-to-peer networking that strengthens professional and interpersonal relationships
The promise of the converging social, mobile, cloud and information forces — what Gartner terms the "Nexus of Forces" (see "The Nexus of Forces: Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information") — is creating opportunities to address old problems in new ways. IT leaders with such responsibilities need to:
- Assess new deployment opportunities (for example, mobile services and the cloud) to support business needs for agility and flexible work models
- Invest in research, design and user experience resources to increase adoption and business value
- Leverage the insights provided by social analytics applications
- Build skills for sustained stewardship and cultural alignment of social software and collaboration solutions that can be achieved only in partnership with business leaders
This Magic Quadrant assesses the relative strengths and weaknesses of the main players in the market according to a variety of criteria. The ratings of the vendors represent a combination of research and client reference checks, along with input from all the Gartner analysts who cover social software, ongoing vendor briefings, and interactions with buyers and investors.
Gartner's social software in the workplace Magic Quadrant is a useful starting point from which to identify and evaluate relevant vendors. The selection of an appropriate product and vendor in each case, however, should be based on a detailed evaluation of an enterprise's specific requirements and objectives. Depending on the complexity and mix of specific requirements, each shortlist may be unique. This Magic Quadrant should be used as part of due diligence, while exploring the market further to qualify the capacity of each vendor to address any unique business requirements and technical concerns. Just because a vendor falls into the Leaders quadrant, that position doesn't automatically make it the right choice for a buyer's needs.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for vendors to compete on the basis of differences in functionality. There are still product differences, and there is more scope for technical innovation in relation to specific functionality — with respect to social analytics and gamification, for example. But social capabilities, such as rich dynamic profiles, activity streams, embedded messages and self-service groups that were once available only from specialist vendors, are now becoming commonplace (see "Critical Capabilities for Social Software in the Workplace").
To understand where the real differentiation lies — and consequently the basis of meaningful choices between social software products — Gartner needs to look beyond core capabilities. We identified three important ways in which products differ; each represents a product category. The first one (social software as part of a horizontal platform) is something very familiar to IT leaders who are used to seeing larger enterprise vendors competing on this basis in other markets as well. The other two categories, however, are less-well-understood by IT leaders, and in some organizations, they are already creating friction between IT leaders responsible for collaboration initiatives and the constituencies they are trying to serve with such initiatives.
The three categories into which products in this market fall are as follows:
- Social software as part of a horizontal platform
- In this category, collaboration and social capabilities are preintegrated or bundled with "adjacent" ones, such as those for UC, content management or enterprise portals. This attracts IT buyers who are likely to have strong relationships to strategic vendors and investments in existing technologies. IT buyers put more emphasis on the ability to preserve continuity, and they benefit from any preintegration with other information management and information access systems. This category includes the large incumbent vendors and represents the largest share of the market. IBM, Microsoft, OpenText, Liferay and others are good examples of vendors with products in this category.
- Social software as part of another application
- In this category, collaboration and social capabilities are available with, or as part of, another application that already supports specific activities. These capabilities are typically targeted at specific user roles. This approach is attractive to business executives who have responsibility for those business activities (such as marketing, customer support, sales, talent management and R&D), or groups of professionals using 3D computer-aided design (CAD), product life cycle management (PLM), or graphics design applications that increasingly come with built-in collaboration support.
- What is compelling in this approach is the natural blending of ad hoc collaborative activities (such as communication, information sharing, comments or expertise location) in the context of another application. SAP and salesforce.com are good examples of vendors in this category.
- Many other vendors also belong in this category, even though they did not meet the formal inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant. Many organizations will have no choice but to deploy embedded collaboration and social capabilities when they deploy the associated application; others will choose to deploy but only to some users in the context of specific business activities.
- There is an important trade-off to consider: Moving to a single, central social capability may be counterproductive and ineffective. Retaining multiple incompatible and isolated social capabilities in different business applications may also be counterproductive. IT leaders tend to prefer the single central social capability, but the best approach requires a careful consideration of all the trade-offs — including the impact on professional users who may already be using collaboration tools that blend naturally with the tasks they need to carry out every day.
- Social software aimed first at end users
- In this category, the value proposition is based primarily on attracting individual users through a compelling user experience (often derived from similar consumer services); instant gratification (through free or freemium products and self-service that does not require any IT support); frequent automatic updates; cloud-based delivery, making it easy to access information from outside the corporate firewall and easy to invite external participants; and full access from mobile devices (with some vendors pursuing "mobile first" strategies).
- These solutions aim to create demand directly among end users who then pressure business and IT buyers to legitimize these choices. Vendors in this category are growing their market share faster than in other categories, and we expect that this will continue as more organizations accept SaaS solutions. We estimate that in 2012, only 30% to 40% of the revenue of vendors included in this Magic Quadrant can be attributed to SaaS deployments. Good examples of vendors in this category include Google and Microsoft with its Yammer product .
IT leaders, who are the most likely decision makers with respect to buying decisions in this market, tend to assess correctly the implications of deploying products in the first category, while underestimating some of the positive benefits of products in the second and third categories.
This tendency is changing slowly, and sometimes painfully, as recognition that the mere provision of technical capabilities is never enough for success. Successful collaboration initiatives need to:
- Take into account the specific business activity, or context around which people collaborate so that collaboration becomes a natural part of what they need to do every day.
- Compensate for any change in the routines or habits of individual participants — for example, this compensation could be in the form of a reduction in the amount of effort required by those individuals to carry out their work (especially when individual workers can carry out their collaborative work using email or other personal collaboration tools)
Given the backgrounds of the vendors in this market, the differences in their strategies and the increased consolidation activity, we expect this market's volatility to remain high. Buyers should, therefore, remain cautious. Choosing the right product is not a matter of comparing functionality. Buyers need to understand their business priorities and what success means for their specific circumstances; understand the need to align collaboration support naturally with everyday work; and take into account the need to attract individual users away from old habits or passive resistance.
Some important vendors did not meet all the inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant. They typically lack sufficient market penetration in terms of relevant use cases, or they target areas of functionality not covered by the inclusion criteria — but they should still be of interest to prospective buyers of social software for the workplace.
Box offers an online enterprise content collaboration service that combines user-friendly, mobile, cloud-based, document-centric capabilities (including online viewers, content integration with dozens of repositories, Web documents and desktop synchronization) with collaboration and networking (including @mentions, discussions, comments, tasks, tags and activity feeds), along with different computing platforms and mobile devices. Box has built an extensive partner ecosystem with more than 700 integrations, including with Microsoft SharePoint, Office and Outlook, EMC Documentum, VMware, Citrix, Good Technology, MobileIron, Jive, Google Apps, NetSuite, SAP Jam, DocuSign, eFax, FedEx and salesforce.com. Box is increasingly used as a platform on which partners or user organizations can build process-specific, content-rich applications.
eXo offers eXo Platform, which is best-known as an open-source, user-experience platform that is built on a portal foundation and is available as a cloud service and on-premises. It has support for content management, process modeling and an integrated development environment. With the current 2013 version, eXo has transformed its offering into a social collaboration platform by emphasizing user interaction and out-of-the-box support for several collaboration use cases, such as social intranets and team collaboration.
Harmon.ie specializes in making it easier for users to cooperate, and share and access documents stored in SharePoint, without having to access SharePoint directly. It does this with a mobile app and with several email client plug-ins (for Outlook, Outlook Web Access [OWA] and IBM Notes). The harmon.ie app and plug-ins support conversations, activity streams and people searches, as well as document sharing and editing (using Quickoffice) — making it easier to collaborate around documents stored in SharePoint.
Interact offers an out-of-the-box social intranet platform with broad capabilities, including team workspaces, collaboration and intelligent communications, as well as substantial support for process modeling (through electronic forms, workflows and tasks). "Intelligent" content algorithms help to focus communications. Version 7 of Interact Intranet provides simplified deployment and usage with cloud-based self-service or on-premises hosting options.
Intralinks is best-known for its secure content sharing solutions, between organizations, in the banking and finance industries (for example, loan syndication and merger and acquisition [M&A] due diligence), legal (legal communications), pharmaceutical (for example, clinical trials), and energy industries. In 2013, Intralinks launched Intralinks VIA, a general-purpose file sharing and collaboration platform that leverages the company's expertise in supporting intercompany collaboration around sensitive processes. Intralinks VIA combines collaboration, document repository, mobile support, and a rich set of security and auditing controls.
Moxie Software offers Collaboration Spaces as part of its multichannel customer experience suite, a product that is used for collaboration with customers and partners, as well as used by employees. While primarily focused on customer engagement, Collaboration Spaces can also be used for the usual use cases of social software in the workplace. The product has broad support for document collaboration, media galleries and video (including transcoding and streaming), discussion forums, "ideastorms" and idea leader boards, optimized mobile browser displays and native applications for iOS and Android devices, rich profiles, activity feeds, recommendations, people search, expertise search, file storage, live editing and synchronization, as well as a bundled Autonomy search engine. An integrated knowledgebase enables crowdsourced content in Collaboration Spaces to be verified before internal or external publishing. Collaboration Spaces is also available in an unlimited freemium version.
Neudesic is known as a technology service provider and independent software vendor (it was named a 2012 Cool Vendor in Gartner's "Cool Vendors in Application and Integration Platforms, 2012"). Neudesic also offers Neudesic Pulse enterprise social collaboration software. Pulse is available as an on-premises social server and via a managed cloud service that combines social features and a social-centric approach to preintegration with SharePoint, SAP, and other CRM and BI applications. Core features include activity streams, groups, tasks and messaging with UC integration. Recent enhancements include rich profiles and people search to identify skills, expertise and endorsement, as found in services such as LinkedIn.
Oracle WebCenter is becoming Oracle's centerpiece for user engagement in general. It has several components relevant to this Magic Quadrant, in addition to support for portal, content management, Web experience management, search and mashup/application development. Oracle Social Network, a component in the Oracle WebCenter family, adds a horizontal layer of social capabilities, such as support for activity streams, content sharing and conversations. Oracle Social Network is preintegrated with several Oracle business applications, such as Oracle Fusion CRM and Oracle Sales Cloud, as well as with Oracle WebCenter and other infrastructure projects, such as Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Business Process Management. Oracle Social Network can be integrated with other applications in the cloud or on-premises.
Saba provides cloud solutions for talent and performance management as well as social collaboration. The company delivers learning, performance, succession, career development, workforce planning and compensation solutions that incorporate social, collaboration and mobile technologies. Saba solutions are based on the Saba Cloud Platform.
Socialtext is one of the early vendors in the social software market. It offers solutions used for social onboarding, social learning, social intranets and employee engagement. Apart from providing a comprehensive set of collaboration and social capabilities, Socialtext offers deep integration with other business applications. Following the investment by Bedford Funding (a private equity firm), Socialtext is closely aligned with Peoplefluent, a talent management company also owned by Bedford Funding.
Ability to Execute
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.
Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.
Market Responsiveness/Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Completeness of Vision
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.