Make of it what you will… Forrester themselves provide this intro:
we found that IBM, Jive, NewsGator, and Telligent led the pack due to breadth and depth of functionality and long-range strategy. Microsoft has added substantial social functionality to its SharePoint platform. Atlassian launched forward, broadening its core wiki offering, while Socialtext executed on its pioneering vision around capabilities like microblogging. Giants Cisco and OpenText are looking to get in on the action by extending their enterprise footprints.
Analyst firms still look like they are trying to get their heads around the social business technology stack and IMHO there are significant omissions and contradictions. For Forrester, my impression is that “Enterprise Social Platforms” serve internal, employee communities – I’m sure this reflects nomenclature of enterprise IT. However, if an organisation is evaluating social business software they should be clear that they’ve understood their own scope, and not those of the analysts or vendors.
CMSWire in their coverage note that Forrester recognise there are other supporting tools, although I’m unclear why Cisco Quad makes the cut (and quite right) but other products from the enterprise microblogging and activity stream space, like Chatter, Socialcast, tibbr and Yammer, don’t get a look in.
Also, listing both Microsoft Sharepoint and Newsgator is confusing. Firstly, why not include other broad portal platform solution or WCMS? Secondly, if Sharepoint is such a strong performer, then why is Newsgator included? Many (actually, probably all) of the other vendors included also integrate with Sharepoint. The vendor landscape and experience in the field strongly points to the need to augment Sharepoint to make it an effective social business tool (see Headshift | Dachis Group’s view on this).
This doesn’t mean that Forrester haven’t done a good of evaluating each individual product (I haven’t seen the detailed report, but Forrester is full of smart people), but based on the list of vendors I’m just cautious about their particular perspective in this case.
BTW If you are interested in the drivers for workforce collaboration software and ROI, you might enjoy this post on Designing Social Workplaces.
UPDATE: The Brainyard provides further commentary on Forrester’s report.