Confusion Persists In The Social Business Market
As with any new disruptive technology, the social business solution landscape faces a dynamic, confusing, and converging market. As vendors seek to grab mind share and market share, customers and prospects remain confused as to what are the right business problems to address with social business. However, rampant confusion among users hampers efforts to solve business issues. Three key factors accelerate this level of confusion:
- Early adopter market. Constantly changing conditions force customers to alter original plans as executive sponsorship fluctuates from intense to pensive and back to intense in short cycles. Projects remain secretive for competitive advantage reasons. Consequently, prospects lack strong case studies to build off of despite peer groups, adoption networks. Prospects seek metrics that matter and relevant use cases.
- Consumerization of IT. With increased social media penetration, success in consumer grade products highlight the potential for enterprise adoption. However, most enterprise class products remain one to two generations behind in achieving similar capabilities. As business users gravitate towards simple, scalable, and sexy attributes; IT departments seek to rein in shadow IT efforts with safety, security, and sustainability requirements.
- Marketing mayhem. Fast paced markets always generate hype in marketing messages. Hence, legacy collaboration, community platform, CRM, unified communications, integration platform, and office productivity vendors seek to reposition themselves and address the emerging and trendy social business use cases customers seek.
Social Business Vendors Converge Towards Business Value Sweet Spot
The vendor landscape for social business market represents a diverse and broad collection of solutions. Vendors approach the market from multiple heritage points, technologies, and markets. Four key criteria cut across two axes (see Figure 1):
- External facing vs internal facing. External facing includes customers, partners, and suppliers. Internal facing include employees and trusted networks within the corporate firewall.
- Platforms and infrastructure vs purpose built solutions. Platforms and infrastructure referred to core technology solutions. Purpose built solutions address specific applications.
Figure 1. Social Business Vendors Converge Towards Business Value Sweet Spot (Working Draft)