What differentiates social business software platforms?
Frequently I hear people say the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Social Software is ‘overcrowded’ and very little separates the vendors from each other. One reason is because the core capabilities of social business software, namely blogs, discussions, social networking, file sharing, etc. are becoming ‘commoditized’ (sorry Tony, I used B.S. word #4).
They exist in all vendors’ platforms and therefore cannot be used to differentiate platforms from each other. So what differentiates social business software if it’s not the core software features and functions?
In my opinion it's six things:
How the software manages its ownership of source code (proprietary vs. open source).
The ability to inter-operate and/or integrate with other enterprise systems or systems connected to the social web.
The degree to which the software can fit corporate branding standards and user experience. This includes the social style of the site – is it a Q&A style or Facebook style site?
Scalability & Security:
Clearly these could be two factors, but I bundled them. For enterprises, the ability to handle communities with large numbers of users is critical. As is the security of that data – especially for government agencies or security sensitive verticals like in financial services or healthcare.
Use Cases Supported:
For example, whether the community can support internal and external use cases or whether it focuses on just one use case, like Customer Support.
Lastly a big differentiator, which is determined in part by the above factors is price, or Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
What do you think? If you had to pick the top 6 or so differentiators in the social software market what would they be?