The three leaders in this space are Jive Clearspace, Lotus Connections and Socialtext. Having used all three, I thought I’d take a look at what they offer, how you might decide which was right for you, and how to get started. This is not intended to be a thorough review of all the features. Some social software elements are starting to become a commodity, the ability to have a profile, follow people, tag content etc. are common to all, even though they might be implemented slightly differently. Instead the focus is on what separates them, and commercial and technical reasons to help you decide which to go for.
Though the article is definitely worth a full read for anyone interested, Jon concludes with the following:
All three are mature social software platforms worthy of consideration. In summary:
Jive – strongest discussion feature, the most depth in terms of customisation, the most “rounded” in terms of general use, has “Community” offering for public-facing projects. Subscription based pricing.
Connections – strongest profile features, excellent at finding expertise. One-off perpetual license model. Significant improvements coming in the Summer release. Can be used as a social operating system to power other applications
Socialtext – strongest wiki and status features, has offline capability and Sharepoint integration. Available as an appliance. Desktop client could have a dramatic impact on adoption
I think this is a very fair summary and an excellent resource for those looking at social software for their organisations. As Collaboration Matters is a Lotus partner that specialises in social software solutions, we of course feel that Lotus Connections is a ‘best of breed’ offering for on-premise use, but are also in discussions with SocialText regarding provision of their solutions as ‘cloud’ based offerings to our customers. In our view there’s definitely a place for both types of models, so we’re really pleased to see Jon comparing and contrasting their relative merits.