Collaboration & Social Software Can Yield an "Enterprise Surprise"

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Real Story Group Vendor Evaluations Show Significant Scalability Challenges

Real Story Group

Functional shortcomings or missing administrative services that don't crop up in a departmental pilot can provide significant challenges when a customer tries to scale a system enterprise wide

Enterprise social networking and collaboration tools that perform adequately at a departmental level can demonstrate surprising shortcomings when implemented enterprise wide, according to vendor evaluation research released today at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference by independent analyst firm Real Story Group (formerly CMS Watch).

The firm’s Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Report evaluates 27 offerings from around the world, including Atlassian, Awareness, bluekiwi, Drupal, Google Apps, IBM/Lotus Connections, Jive, Microsoft SharePoint, Socialtext, and WordPress.

Organizations are increasingly attempting to extend pilot collaboration and social software efforts across the enterprise, but IT leaders typically run into unexpected scalability problems. “Functional shortcomings or missing administrative services that don’t crop up in a departmental pilot can provide significant challenges when a customer tries to scale a system enterprise wide,” explains Real Story Group Principal, Tony Byrne.

Real Story Group customer research uncovered ten significant common shortcomings, five of which include:

  • A lack of lifecycle management services, including archiving
  • An absence of clustering and multi-instance management services
  • Clumsy or non-existent configuration management services and testing environments
  • An inability to integrate with enterprise role and group management (entitlements) systems
  • User interfaces that are not internationalized or localized

“Not every vendor suffers from all of these weaknesses,” notes Real Story Group Analyst Adriaan Bloem, “but even the most platform-like offerings from the likes of Microsoft and IBM can come up short in one or more areas – much to the surprise of the customer assuming that a tool was explicitly designed for large-scale deployment.”

“Customers should remember that many of these products matured in departmental environments,” counsels Byrne, “so in addition to investing in essential governance, adoption, and education programs, organizations that must support enterprise-wide collaboration and networking should carefully simulate large-scale conditions before committing to any single vendor.”

For more about Real Story Group's vendor evaluations, consult http://www.realstorygroup.com.

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