Team Collaboration and Social Software Redux

Its been more than a few days since Ross Mayfield and Jeff Brainard from SocialText shared a copy of Gartner’s magic quadrant on Team Collaboration and Social Software, so I felt I should make some kind of comment on it. Unfortunately – and no disrespect to Gartner or SocialText – the problem with this first iteration of the report is the scope, which they actually point out themselves:

For this version of the Magic Quadrant we did not insist on any specific coordination or social software functionality, as there is not yet a clear consensus on what should be included.

They then go on to list a basket full of social computing-like features that they might expect to see included.

I also found it interesting that they included EMC’s eRoom (which, if you’re familiar with this popular project collaboration tool, its not surprisingly it rated badly as “social software”) but did not include IBM’s Lotus Notes instead only really focusing on Lotus Connections. In this respect the magic quadrant is a little misleading because they identified vendors and not the products, but for the smaller vendors they are the product where as the larger vendors have a range of products on offer. Having said that, its also not clear if the commentary on Microsoft‘s capabilities is about Sharepoint portal or more broadly (what about Groove?); they also make no mention of the integration with products in the quadrant like SocialText, Atlassian and Newsgator. And don’t forget, EMC’s product line will also play with Microsoft… and so on!

Overall I’m left very feeling unsatisfied by this report. Hopefully future iterations of the report will get more focused, but I suspect they will continue to run into the problem of definitions and scope.