I’m deep into the Wave research (read my latest status update) for nine community platforms (big list here), in fact, this week and next, I’m in 5 and a half to 6 hour meetings with vendors getting to know them very well. Of course, that’s just one side of the story, I’m interviewing up to 27 of their customers (brands) to get the ‘other’ side of the story. You’ll see me pop up online for “Twitter breaks” here and there, surfacing for air, then submerging back again. I wasn’t surprised to hear from a few brands that not everyone is a fan of Software as a Service (Saas), in fact, for some, on-premise software makes a whole lot more sense. … Continue readingThe Problem With SaaS: Lack of Flexibility
We’re all social creatures, and we thrive on the interactions of others, in fact, these interactions are the primary drivers for troublemakers in communities. I’ve read stories about how babies that are given all the proper medical attention, food, shelter to deem them ‘healthy’ whither away to near death if they don’t get human contact and love and care. The same applies to prison, perhaps one of the more dreaded punishments is sending inmates to the ‘hole’ for isolation from all social contact. POWs can muster the strength to survive knowing that a series of Morse code taps can signal to fellow inmates that they’re ok and cared about. How does this apply to online communities? [The ‘Bozo’ Feature renders … Continue readingSocial Punishment: The “Bozo” Feature
I’m currently doing an intensive 3 month research project on the topic of Community Platforms, and it’s become very clear that by talking to many of the 27 brands, 9 vendors, and leaning on forecast data where many decisions are currently being made to purchase these enterprise software solutions. To start with, many solutions (define as a set of software, services, support) are being purchased by marketers who want to bring a social aspect to their corporate website. These marketing folks, who may have worked with IT in the past to load CMS programs are bound by corporate red tape, de-prioritized by IT project management, or want to evade the rigors of legal and security and free to purchase community … Continue readingCommunity Platforms: Here Comes The CIO
One of the ways I tell companies how they can best serve their market is to be transparent on how they build products. By doing so, it helps folks not only understand, but appreciate the level of effort that goes into creating a service or product. While analysts offer guidance and advisory sessions, we’re most known for the reports that we create, in fact, these are key products that help decision makers be successful. Demand for community platforms, yet too many vendors I’m asked a few times a week on which community vendor to choose, with a list of 80-120 vendors on my blog and a more refined catalog on the Forrester site, it’s very confusing for brands to determine … Continue readingStatus: Forrester Wave Report for Community Platforms, Data Collection (Part 2/4)
A few months ago, I put a call out to the industry to submit to this catalog of the Community Platform space (also known as the White Label Social Network space), my interest in this space grew from a list I started over a year ago on my blog even before I was an analyst covering this space. The list continues to grow, as commodity software is fueled by market demand for brands to create their own hosted communities. Forrester Report: Announcing Vendor Product Catalog of Community Platforms For The Interactive Marketer (part 1/2) This report is the first of two, If you’re a client, you probably have access to the report, or you can purchase it on the site, … Continue readingForrester Report: Vendor Product Catalog of Community Platforms For The Interactive Marketer
If you’re a white label social network vendor, you’re likely getting many new clients at corporations that have special pricing needs, let’s discuss this scenario. Yesterday, I spoke to a white label social network who had some challenges pricing their product for their corporate clients. I speak to both vendors and clients, so it’s interesting to hear from both ends about concerns, triggers, and final deals. There are a few ways to approach pricing your social media product for corporate clients, you can do a fixed amount, a layered pricing model (buy as you need), variable on performance (pay as you consume) or a combination thereof. I’ve found that for new programs (like social media) these are often experimental “new … Continue readingCommunity Platform Pricing for New Clients
Blogging the status of my research agenda has become an efficient way for me to communicate with the market I cover, as well as signal to clients new areas of expertise. Fortunately, much of the market I cover (or their PR firms) read this blog and my tweets (and vice versa), making my job as a researcher very, very efficient. Many weeks ago, I made a call for the vendor product catalog in this market, (and via email and twitter) that document, is a detailed index of over 40 vendors in the space, (aprox 50% of the market) and will be available to Forrester clients and those who submitted to it in the coming days. My research agenda for this … Continue readingStarting the Forrester Wave: White Label Social Networks and Community Platforms (Part 1/4)
Apparently, a chord was struck in this recent post “Social Software: Here come the CMS Vendors“. In summary, the post indicuates that CMS vendors are sniffing the community space, and the comments lit up (you should read them) with vendors from both camps indicating this discussions are happening behind the curtains and hands are extending across the aisle. I also am getting more briefing requests from traditional CMS vendors, who are anxious to get my take on the many options I listed out. There’s a few interesting discussions that spiraled off the post, and I’d like to highlight some of the interesting ones, there’s an interesting story developing, these stories segue nicely into each other. Some enterprises may not be … Continue readingThe Social CMS Dilemma: Will they lead with Community or Publishing Features?
When many things are equal: your features, your customers, your products, your product roadmap, it’s often hard to differentiate. Often, I’m getting pitched during briefings by White Label Social Network vendors they’ll often advance to a quadrant slide (almost always in the first quarter of the deck) and their almost always on the right hand top quadrant, using parameters they’ve selected. I’ll frequently ask them to tell me ‘how they are different’, only then, does the conversation get interesting. Of course, I already see stratification in this industry, with differentiation on product offerings. This is not an endorsement for Jive Software, I’m simply commenting on the marketing efforts that they deploy to stand out from the very crowded marketplace (80-100 … Continue readingHow Will You Stand Out From The Crowd?
This is really heaven for me, many of the vendors I cover such as SmallWorld labs, Jive, Telligent, Hivelive, Lithium, Webcrossing, Google all at the same table. I’m here here at the Online Community Unconference at a session where we’re probing the problems with the White Label Social networking space. The question? Are social platforms shit? (I didn’t come up with, I’m just taking notes) [The question posed to this roundtable of vendors, clients and analyst: “Are social platforms shit?”] If you don’t know the value of white label social networking vendors are, many large brands and organizations are hiring them to build online communities for their customers and prospects. I get a few calls every week from clients to … Continue readingLiveBlog: What’s Wrong with the White Label Social Networking Industry?