Social Software to See Only 30% Adoption in Enterprises

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-12-16 Print this article Print

In fact, the number of social collaboration vendors could dwindle significantly if history is any indication. Cain, who was covering CRM companies when the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, said scores of such vendors went under or were sold at bargain basement prices.

Many people refuse to compare the current recession to the dot-com crash, arguing that those companies were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for infrastructure at the time. Today's Web 2.0 startups have found ways around this, paying a fraction of what companies used to pay by using the Internet as their delivery mechanisms. This requires fewer servers and less storage gear.

Today, customers that can afford social software in 2009 and beyond should be in the driver's seat, as larger vendors such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle strive to buy up new technologies, insert them in their portfolios and deliver more solid suites.

Cain said to look to incumbent messaging and collaboration providers IBM and Microsoft to set the pace in social software, with Cisco Systems, Google and others chiming in. Cain noted:

At some point, there will be a saturation of features, where what Microsoft delivers is good enough to meet 85 percent of requirements and that hurts smaller vendors that long had that best-of-breed, feature-rich product. At some point the massive wave of innovation around social software starts to ebb and Microsoft and IBM are able to deliver something that is perfectly suitable for most folks.

Gartner believes more than 30 percent of large enterprises will deploy blogs, RSS, wikis and other tools to all their employees. This estimation, like the 60 percent figure of vendors exiting the social collaboration space by 2012, seems low.

But Gartner believes the lack of clarity about business benefits and fears over the negative implications of losing control over people and content will impede deployments.

Some companies are happy with what they currently have, while others will be impeded by stricter enterprise requirements, including security issues and concerns about integration with existing systems.

Cain noted that employees in many businesses are already using enterprise social software tools unbeknownst to their IT departments.

"How do you define what a corporate deployment is if it's creeping in at the grassroots level? If we were to include that figure in the number, it would double."


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