LinkedIn Surpassing Facebook for Enterprise Use-Cases

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CMS Watch Evaluates Twenty-Six Social Software and Collaboration Tools

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and Facebook certainly has a better 'fun factor,' but I'm not as sanguine about the platform's business potential as I was a year ago, whereas LinkedIn seems to be pursuing a measured plan to provide more value to the enterprise.

While early 2008 found enterprises buzzing about Facebook and some firms even adopted it as their Intranet platform, 2009 is seeing LinkedIn moving more rapidly to address enterprise social computing needs, according to new research by independent analyst firm, CMS Watch.

Today CMS Watch released an update to its 510-page Enterprise Social Software & Collaboration Report 2009, which evaluates twenty-six social computing platforms against eleven potential enterprise use-cases. Vendors reviewed include IBM, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Jive, Telligent, Awareness, Drupal, SocialText, Lithium, and Ning, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn.

"Both platforms are increasingly important to professionals worldwide, but LinkedIn is beginning to make more progress towards services that can support enterprise-oriented social computing," explained CMS Watch analyst Jarrod Gingras.

LinkedIn outperformed Facebook in CMS Watch's "Professional Networking" and "Community of Practice" use-cases. The report also found that from a functional standpoint, LinkedIn surpasses Facebook in Information Filtering and Discussion -- although neither platform provides the broader Blog, Wiki, and Project Tracking services that support broader enterprise collaboration.

Of particular note:

Enterprises can use LinkedIn groups as internal and external discussion boards and link-sharing areas. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn participants can be pre-authorized by e-mail domain, they can keep track of discussions through notifications, and they can search group content.

LinkedIn has chosen to slowly control the release of several "approved" applications for professional use, unlike Facebook, which allows any developer to post applications. Several official LinkedIn applications target enterprise users, such as a SlideShare application, as well as a Huddle application that provides lightweight file sharing and collaboration. There are no native document collaboration services in Facebook.

LinkedIn is perceived as more professional by members. "Enterprises should not assume that their employees and business partners are comfortable mixing professional and personal personas on Facebook, especially beyond North America," concludes CMS Watch analyst, Adriaan Bloem.

To be sure, Facebook is clearly the most popular public networking service, with a membership of 150 million that is expected to double in 2009. "There's good reason for all that growth," notes CMS Watch founder Tony Byrne, "and Facebook certainly has a better 'fun factor,' but I'm not as sanguine about the platform's business potential as I was a year ago, whereas LinkedIn seems to be pursuing a measured plan to provide more value to the enterprise."

The Enterprise Social Software & Collaboration Report 2009 is available for purchase online from CMS Watch.

About CMS Watch
CMS Watch(tm) evaluates content-oriented technologies, offering head-to-head comparative reviews of leading solutions. Through highly detailed technical evaluations, CMS Watch helps sort out the complex landscape of potential solutions so that buyers can minimize the time and effort to identify technologies suited to their particular requirements. To retain its independence as a totally impartial analyst firm, CMS Watch works solely for solutions buyers and never for vendors.

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Kristie Hughes
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