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Thanks to Alexander Wolfe of InformationWeek for the timely article published over the weekend, “IT Pro Ranking: Enterprise 2.0 Vendors,” where InformationWeek surveyed 619 business technology professionals regarding 1.) if they have deployed an Enterprise 2.0 application, and 2.) how vendors perform on 12 standard benchmarks, as well as specific criteria tailored for the E2.0 category. It’s timely because I just completed an article with Acquia’s VP of Marketing, Bryan House, which will be published in KMWorld’s next whitepaper, Best Practices in Enterprise Social Networking & Collaboration. Our article reveals five key considerations in evaluating social business software, and the thoughts and findings in Wolfe’s article echo our recommendations. Here are three common themes between the two – or three things NOT to do when evaluating vendors.
Don’t focus on features
"Features have been commoditized and are no longer the differentiating point," says one IT pro in the InformationWeek article. This is really the basis of our KMWorld article. Enterprises need to look beyond the feature set on factors that truly provide long-term value.
Don’t think size is all that matters
“Customers are clearly finding value from small and upstart vendors, not just the largest players,” states Wolfe. Vendors in use now are not the vendors IT pros want to be using in the future. Enterprises are seeing the value in alternatives to large proprietary vendors.
Don’t assume size equals innovation
“It's not automatically assumed that offerings from companies like Microsoft are more innovative than those from, say, Drupal or Socialtext,” according to Wolfe. Innovation stems from passion, drive, and commitment – which run deep in small and startup companies, and open source communities.
Now for just a little bragging. Drupal outranked Microsoft, Oracle, and Yammer in performance and features according to the survey. (Woot!) And only 3 percentage points separate Drupal and Jive (a proprietary alternative to Drupal Commons for social business software) in both categories. Cost and extensibility were not evaluated in this survey – where Drupal Commons beats Jive every time.