N:Sight Research GmbH

Social Messaging Study – first insights

This is my site Written by Joachim Lindner on 23. August 2010 – 10:44

Analyzing the results of the N:Sight Research GmbH Social Messaging vendor study is in progress. We are able to provide some insights with this article. Most solutions are available as SaaS (Software as a Service). They follow the trend to use applications on the web to avoid hosting it on a server. It’s a good solution as well to test Social Messaging with a small team. Some companies won’t allow running a system outside the firewall. 70% of the solutions allow an installation on a server and 50% offer both solutions.

All tools are using a Browser with status updates and the following principle like Twitter. More or less all offer a mobile solution. So the trend for mobile use of application for Enterprises as well is addressed. It will be interesting whether companies will allow it, because there are a lot of concerns regarding security issues. API seems the standard interface to connect other systems.

E-Mail is still a standard for communication. So it’s a low hanging fruit to start with Social Messaging using E-Mail, because the people can use a familiar tool. E-Mail as input option is available by half of the solutions only. MS Office seems not to be a standard for Social Messaging Tools. Only one solution provides MS Office integration for status updates.

Input options Social Messaging Vendor Study 2010Input options Social Messaging Vendor Study 2010

Most of the solution allow to integrate external data via RSS feed. It’s a good and easy solution to see the latest news from different sources, but a lot people are not familiar with RSS. They don’t even know what it is. So probably a lot employee won’t use it. Maybe it’s recommendable to promote this function.

It looks on the first view as if the search is not the strength of the solutions. All allow search by Keyword or Full text, but other options are rare. Some offer associative algorithm or provide an index, but none of it offers Adaptive algorithm. A knowledge map is available only for one solution.

Using filters may help to improve the search results, like provided by one solution. Search is a very important key factor getting user acceptance. So it’s useful to dig deeper into search evaluating Social Messaging tools.

Social Messaging vendor study search optionsSearch options Social Messaging Vendor Study 2010

Good tagging allows improving search as well. It’s provided by all solutions at least as free form tagging. Tagging is a good solution, if it’s done properly. Marriage and wedding are two terms for the same nice thing. Tagging some updates with the one and some other with the other tag will challenge the search by tags. Some tools do have a robust tag management. The problem can be solved by predefined tags or “connected tags” for example.

Personalization seems not to be an important topic for most of the vendors. Only half of the solutions allow customizing the layout. To filter the content for customization is only possible by few of them. Probably it isn’t so important at the beginning, but the workplace for knowledge workers needs to by highly customized in future. The acceptance of tools will be much better, it they fit perfect to the needs of the user. In future customizing a workspace will be a must for knowledge workers.

All solutions provide user profiles, but less than half of them offer an interface to ERP systems. So probably data needs to be edited twice. Once from HR and once from the user on his social messaging profile. Single sourcing is always the best solution, but it won’t be a demand of every company.

Not all solutions provide an export function. So it can become a problem, if a tool won’t be continued. It’s not easy than to switch to another system.

In general all the tools provide a comprehensive range of functions, only the priorities are a different. Thus it’s possible to find the right tool for more or less every need.

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