Tony Byrne: Enterprise social software is not all the same

When evaluating [enterprise social software], it’s best not to create “checkbox RFPs” that allow vendors check off all the features they provide, Byrne said. Rather, ask how they address those requirements, seeking to tease out details on the differences between platforms. Focusing too much on software features is a mistake, when you really should be trying to identify a match for the specific types of collaboration you want to facilitate. For example, if your top priority was coordinating project teams, that might lead you to choose a different product than if your biggest need was to get knowledge workers at locations around the world networking and collaborating together.

I have to say I particularly agree with Tony Byrne’s message here. The issue he describes isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but rather something to be aware of. You need to look beyond the labels applied (like ‘enterprise social network’ or ‘enterprise wiki’) to particular products and actually look at how each are architected and the social experience design they support.