Enterprise social networking on a growth spurt

The time has come to think seriously about enterprise social networking and consider its role within wider enterprise collaboration strategy, according to global analyst firm, Ovum.

In a new report, global analyst firm, based in London, U.K., says the enterprise social networking market is starting to mature and is moving from the introduction phase into the growth phase. Strategic acquisitions have already been made by start-ups and establish vendors alike.

Richard Edwards, Ovum analyst and author of the report, comments: “Ovum’s current assessment of the enterprise social networking market indicates that Jive and Yammer are the two vendors that organisations are most eager to compare and contrast, but other vendors are generating significant business and revenues from their offerings.”

“Industry figures suggest IBM Connections brought in US$105.4 Million during 2011, and from this we believe the current value of the enterprise social networking market to be in excess of US$500 Million,“ Edwards says.

Enterprise social networking, from a market perspective, is well and truly in the adopter phase, with around 10 percent of organisations in established IT markets deploying solutions or subscribing to services. Mobile devices are increasingly being used to access the networks and this is extending the use case for such solutions to a broad audience.

Edwards notes: “As the business case for investment in enterprise social networking solutions has yet to be proven to business sceptics, some vendors are encouraging independent user adoption in the hope it will prove business value. Ovum believes that the business potential offered by enterprise social networking will only be unlocked when necessity dictates a business change.”

Meanwhile, the enterprise collaborations technology landscape is awash with social software from a variety of different sources. Vendors offering pure-play enterprise social networking solutions are competing against established enterprise collaboration providers. On the other hand, vendors offering business automation social platforms are trying to gain traction in a market that is also assessing the merits of emerging offerings from companies specialising in enterprise applications.

“Merger and acquisition activity has increased markedly in the past few months, and this has led to new entrants appearing on the enterprise collaboration landscape. So, with a market potential of at least USD$10bn, the enterprise social networking market is the new battleground for all enterprise collaboration vendors” concludes Edwards.

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