Social software technologies can improve collaboration and networking within and beyond the enterprise, but a general dearth of system and administrative services brings greater long-term risks as customers look to extend from workgroup installations to enterprise-wide deployments, according to research released by CMS Watch, a vendor-independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies.


These findings come from “Enterprise Social Software Report 2008: Networking & Collaboration Within and Beyond the Enterprise” by CMS Watch. This report evaluates twenty major social software suppliers based on extensive technology research and customer interviews


The report also found:


Social software technology categories range from platform offerings (from the likes of IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Google), to standalone sites (from Jive, Traction, Awareness and others), to numerous viable pure-play blog and Wiki tools, as well as public networks (like Facebook) and White-label community services (like Ning, Pluck and Lithium).


Enterprise customers show increasing interest in extending internal social tools outside the firewall (and vice versa), but vendors are struggling to support both environments - which have substantially different functional, performance, and security profiles - off the same toolset.


Microsoft, Oracle and IBM all actively promote their social software products, but each arrived comparatively late on the landscape, and each still relies on heavier-weight portal services for key functionality.


Some vendors offer exceptions to the rule in certain areas. To name a few: wiki vendor Atlassian provides comparatively strong security and access control; hosted community vendor awareness has good multisite management; social bookmarking appliance Connectbeam ships with highly functional backup and restoration services.


The report may be ordered at

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