Written by Jeremiah Owyang (Customer Strategy) and Ray Wang (Enterprise Strategy), Industry Analysts at the Altimeter Group.
We’re tasked with a difficult job as industry analyst in one of the fastest emerging markets. Part of our role is to find new trends, identify their impact, and rate and rank who offers them. In the past, I did this for this list community platform marketing, and the Social Media Management System market (SSMS). Despite the influx of new entrants, even a new set of features is now emerging on the industry, and I’m here to identify it now.
Situation: More social data causes a cacophony of noise
Soon your fridge, car, and house will tweet. (plants already do, and I ordered this “puppy tweets” collar so my dog can too). At work, your server, business applications, and eventually your powerpoints will emit signals as your colleagues make changes to it. The challenge is, all of this information is in different channels, and may not be aggregating to one location. To combat this deluge of information, we should expect a new feature to emerge that will aggregate all content into one locaiton and make sense of it.
[The Social Inbox Aggregator (SIA) will aggregate multiple social streams and derive signal out of noise. This will be a key feature set for Social CRM Suites]
Definition: Social Inbox Aggregator (SIA) is part of the Social CRM Suite
The primary purpose of the Social Inbox Aggregator (SIA) will be to derive signal out of social noise. This is one of the key features in the Social CRM Suite (see Altimeter’s report on Social CRM) and focus on 5Ms to see how this feature fits into mapping, management, middleware and metrics. This feature has the following functional requirements 1) It will aggregate social signals from a variety of sources into one location, 2) Allow users to organize, and view multiple sources 3) Derive signal through looking at previous behavior and predictive analytics. 4) Offer analytics and metrics to the user (optional)
List of Social Inbox Aggregators
Usually when I start these lists, it starts with just a handful (there’s just 5 listed below) in the case of the community platform space, it grew to be over 100 vendors.
- Friendfeed/Facebook: Friendfeeed was the early forerunner in this space, they aggregate streams from a variety of sources (including straight RSS feeds) and allow for users to organize and derive signal. They were recently acquired by Facebook, and we should expect many of these features to surface directly into the newsfeed in future iterations. Also, there’s
market rumors that Facebook will develop a web based email client, that will likely integrate private emails with social signals.
- Feedera is a personal news aggregator that makes a sorted list of important tweets and other social signals like Digg, delicious and photos into your Feedera inbox.
- Gmail/Buzz: Gmail’s recent addition to their social networking feature “Buzz” launched with fanfare, then great concern about privacy. Despite the rough start, they allow users to connect with their friends and aggregate in other signals, such as flickr feed, tweets, and beyond.
- LinkedIn: Pulls in tweet stream, blog posts, Amazon reviews, and a variety of other data sources to generate signal.
- My 6th Sense: This application (primarily on an iPhone) offers a “digital intuition” by allowing users to aggregate data streams into one location. I’ve met the CEO and he showed me how it looks at your previous behavior in order to suggest content to you.
- Windows Live*: Windows Live (including hotmail) offers features that let you know “What’s new with your network”, while they don’t make it easy to add in social signals from other locations, this could be accomplished with partners like Gigya* or Janrain.
- Chatter by Salesforce*: Salesforce has made nods to launch an enterprise system that will “monitor everything that matters most to you in one spot.” Expect this system to be one of the first enterprise SIA systems and will pull in feeds from AppExchange data, external signals, and derive intelligence.
- Gist provides an inbox that ties in with Google Apps aiming them in the enterprise market.
- Outlook: Outlook has a variety of social connectors with their product, such as Messenger, LinkedIn, and now Facebook (Mashable, July 2010)
- Socialcast. This lightweight tool allows any company to have an internal Facebook. They recently launched a ‘recommended’ feature on the left nav that can prioritize signal based on the gestures of your network. While they have integration with sharepoint, they’ve yet to offer ability to pipe in other streams. Update the management team has informed me they are working with a few large brands and are integrating signals from ERM and CRM, take for example this case study on Philips.
- Tibbr “It uses a similar approach to Facebook and Twitter that allows staff to “follow” each other and subscribe to specific subjects within the corporation. A key feature is that tibbr allows users to “follow” a specific subject rather than having to follow a person and see everything that they publish. (ZDNet)
- Yammer. Yammer has the ability to offer enterprise microblogging features, as well as important RSS feeds. It doesn’t appear to have signal finding features, it’s currently just pulling in updates based on chronology.
Takeaway: Most Systems are Immature
Looking at these vendors, some of them have 2-4 of the required features, but none have all four. We expect this space to evolve rapidly and will conduct continued analysis and rankings. Since we’re early, we’ll hold off on detailed analysis till the feature set standardizes. Remember, in the future, there’s no difference between email systems and social networks. Expect a new feature to emerge that combines both of these data types into a new interface. Expect a SIA for your personal life, and a separate one provided by your employer at work.
If you know of others, please leave a comment below, and give justifications, we’ll link and credit you for your submission.
*Altimeter discloses our client relationships whenever possible, as a result, we hope you’ll trust us more.