Social software platforms, including services such as Facebook and Twitter, have become one of the primary channels for communication amongst consumers this year, even eclipsing e-mail in some parts of the developed world.
The same however, can’t quite be said yet for the workplace. While the adoption numbers for social applications are still impressive in business (about half of all large organizations), actual adoption and use is lagging significantly behind the non-business world as organizations take the time to assess a range of issues with enterprise social computing, including appropriateness, security, control, management methods, and roll-out strategies.
However, given the widespread interest and popularity in social tools these days, it’s becoming a pretty safe bet that you’ll be seeing them in some form on a workplace intranet near you. The question is in what form? The choices of social tools these days can be daunting and are only increasing rapidly, with new entries appearing weekly and existing ones being upgraded often. What’s increasingly needed is a detailed look at what’s currently available in business-class social software and how it sizes up, which we’ll try to do in high-level form here.
As we’ll see, since last year’s marketplace map, there has been a veritable explosion in social applications that are intended for use in business settings, both internally or externally. These offerings have a surprisingly wide range of features and so in this post I will explore one of the broadest and most important categories of business social software, Enterprise 2.0, in detail. I’ve also included a pretty comprehensive map of the marketplace for 2009 as defined by the products that are available today (or are highly anticipated and soon to be released, such as Google Wave.)