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7 Enterprise Social Platforms Think Beyond Facebook

Want a "Facebook for the enterprise" to help improve collaboration? These 7 players show today's wide range of options for internal social networking.

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In a recent story on internal social networking, experts discussed the potential of enterprise social networks to drive knowledge worker efficiency to new levels. They also noted that setting goals for internal social collaboration is more important than the platform used to enable the collaboration.

That is true, but choosing the platform is a pretty important task, too. Selecting the right platform has also become a more challenging task of late, as more providers are rolling out internal social networking platforms or adding social networking capabilities to existing enterprise applications. The latest large enterprise player to enter the fray is Oracle, which announced in October its Oracle Social Network.

We've highlighted a few of the options here. It's by no means a comprehensive list, but is instead intended to provide a place to start and a sense of the different types of platforms available and their capabilities. Most of the products are free for a basic edition and priced at a per-user/per-month basis for an enterprise edition.

In an upcoming story we will provide some recommendations for developing an evaluation shortlist, as well as tips for effectively gauging different solutions' value based on your organization's needs.

SAP StreamWork

SAP's buttoned-down StreamWork is a SaaS-based social networking tool built for business collaboration. The Enterprise Edition adds advanced security, automated provisioning, and the ability to integrate with legacy apps, including SAP software and Microsoft SharePoint.

Cisco Jabber

Leveraging Cisco's unified communications platform, Cisco Jabber is designed to make employees more productive no matter where they are or what device they use. The result of Cisco's 2008 acquisition of Jabber, the service enables users to access presence, instant messaging, voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing capabilities.


In May, VMware purchased SocialCast, a social networking platform that enables companies to integrate social tools and processes into enterprise applications. The free version of SocialCast offers such features as activity streams, a private message function, microblogging, and profiles. The premium version adds analytics, directory integration and user roles, among other features.

[ Are you suffering from Social Overload? Read Bottlenose Promises Intelligent Filtering. ]

Jive Software

A social networking pioneer that launched an IPO this week, Jive is an extensible platform that enables third-party developers to integrate Jive's social networking capabilities using an SDK based on OpenSocial.


Yammer is a free, flexible platform that enables anyone to easily set up a simple social networking platform. Upgrading to the Enterprise edition adds management, monitoring, security, and customization capabilities, and Yammer offers several pre-built integrations with widely used enterprise applications. These include Salesforce.com, Microsoft SharePoint, and NetSuite.

Salesforce.com Chatter

Salesforce.com was an early enterprise advocate for social networking, and its Chatter offering has evolved from a feature of the company's CRM offering to a stand-alone system that even non-Salesforce.com customers can implement. Chatter Free enables users to create profiles, post updates, follow coworkers, create groups, share files, and collaborate with colleagues in a private and secure environment, with Chatter Mobile and Chatter Desktop providing anywhere access. The Chatter Plus edition provides everything you get in Chatter Basic as well as tighter integration with CRM users and capabilities, as well as enhanced security and other controls. Chatter is also integrated into Salesforce.com analytics.

Neudesic Pulse

Neudesic Pulse enables real-time open sharing to foster innovation and make workers more productive and businesses more competitive. Microsoft partner Neudesic recently upgraded Pulse to enhance its integration with SharePoint, but Pulse goes beyond SharePoint to enable social collaboration on the applications that enterprises are already using, including CRM, so workers don't have to learn yet another application.

Are you evaluating an internal social networking solution for your business? What are your most important criteria for choosing a platform? Please let me know in the comments section below or at [email protected]

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User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2011 | 6:07:36 PM
re: 7 Enterprise Social Platforms Think Beyond Facebook
I was surprised that you did not call out IBM on this list. IDC has named IBM the world wide leader in social software platforms based on market share for the last two years (2009 and 2010). http://bit.ly/iErkxu

The first linked article http://bit.ly/svDXbm does call out IBM, "In August, Forrester Research named IBM, Jive Software, Telligent and NewsGator as leaders in this category."

And that article links to this http://bit.ly/pTCNGH '"To me, the story here is IBM, not Jive," Koplowitz said. IBM Connections ranked high across the board and beats Jive in some areas, such as localization into many languages. '
Deb Donston-Miller
Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/15/2011 | 10:27:41 AM
re: 7 Enterprise Social Platforms Think Beyond Facebook
Thank you for your suggestion. Companies developing short lists for enterprise social networks have a lot of good options to choose from. But it can be a challenge to determine what makes each solution stand out from the crowd.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
User Rank: Apprentice
12/14/2011 | 7:30:09 PM
re: 7 Enterprise Social Platforms Think Beyond Facebook
Blogtronix Enterprise is an important addition to this list... it's easy for companies to create the right environment and requires very little training for employees... Blogtronix helps you find experts, ask/answer questions, reduce email, reduce meetings, organize knowledge/documents, and more.
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