There's a shred of truth to the notion that an IT market has made it to the big time if Gartner Research has created a Magic Quadrant for it.
This is now officially the case for a new category called Gartner 2012 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace. This is for Web-based and on-premises applications that enable enterprise employees to connect, chat, create and collaborate on projects in real time.
Email is still the killer app for many purposes, of course, but relatively new platforms such as Salesforce Chatter, Jive, Moxie Networks, Microsoft Yammer and others are quickly gaining traction, especially in startups and companies created in the last five years.
Gartner describes this sector in this way: "This Magic Quadrant covers vendors whose software products are used mainly within enterprises, primarily by employees but also by external customers, suppliers and partners, to support work teams, communities and social networking.
"Buyers in this market are looking for persistent virtual environments in which participants can create, organize and share information, as well as find, connect and interact with each other."
Gartner said it covers the market for social CRM in a separate quadrant "because those products support very different use cases, and are bought by buyers in different roles. Although there is some overlap between the vendors in these Magic Quadrants, their products invariably have functionality specific to the different use cases."
The five leaders--also described as visionaries--in the Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace are, in order of listing: Microsoft SharePoint; Jive; IBM Connections; Yammer (now owned by Microsoft); and Salesforce Chatter.
Secondary leaders in Quadrant 2 are: Telligent Enterprise; Cisco Systems Webex Social; Successfactors (owned by SAP); and Acquia.
Leading challengers are: Tibco Software, VMware SocialCast, Atlassian in the third quadrant; followed by OpenText, Saba, Socialtext, Huddle, blueKiwi, Igloo, Novell, Liferay and Moxie Software in Quadrant 4.