The popularity and broad adoption of Enterprise Social Network solutions has been made evident by the number of newcomer solutions in the space. Over the past few years, some main players in the Enterprise Social Network space have emerged: MangoApps, Chatter, Box, and Jive. Forbes quotes David Sacks, CEO of Yammer as saying “Five years from now not having a social network in a company will be like not having email or phones.”1
But how do you choose the best solution for your company?
“Must Haves” in an Enterprise Social Network
Here is a laundry list of what I think are the “Must Have” features for any comprehensive enterprise social networking solution. You may or may not need or want all of these features for your organization.
- Users start a conversation; create a poll; share news, links, or files; view and reply to posts from coworkers across your organization.
All Mobile Clients
- Full featured applications for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone with real-time notifications and updates.
1-to-1 Instant Messaging, Presence & Group Chat
- See who is online, busy, idle or offline and chat 1-to-1 with a coworker or chat with all project and group members at once.
- Project Management is all about open communication and collaboration. Keep teams informed, in sync and involved– in one place.
- Create tasks, refine requirements, reassign responsibility, or adjust urgency to create a more productive workflow.
Centralized Document Repository
- Organize, share and manage all your business content using a familiar file structure in one über-accessible spot.
- Submit ideas to the entire company and get people sharing their opinions through real-time collaboration and microblogs.
- Attendees can easily access event details at any time from their desktop app, online or via mobile device.
Blogs, Posts, and Wikis
- Users create and collaboratively edit web pages via a WYSIWYG editor.
- Invite users to participate in a video conference using their computer’s webcam and microphone.
Professional Colleague Profiles
- Users learn about the experience, education and interests of others through their user profile.
- Collaborate with vendors, partners, and customers in real time by creating secure, private groups and projects.
- Create and join private or public groups to discuss work-related topics.
- Private 1-to-1 or 1-to-many messages can be sent to other users.
- Integration with Active Directory & other Enterprise Systems
- Manage users through your existing Active Directory.
Deployment & Licensing Options
From the solutions compared, Enterprise Social Networks offer 3 main types of deployment and licensing options. Below are the offerings of all the compared solutions.
Comparison Table: Yammer, MangoApps, Chatter, Box, and Jive
Below is the comparison between Yammer, MangoApps, Chatter, Box, and Jive focusing on the “Must Have” criteria.
After looking at all the major players in the Enterprise Social Network space with the same comparison criteria, there are some notable observations and recommendations.
The brand recognition of MangoApps may be lesser known but the extensive set of features and enterprise-oriented deployment options really stands out. The MangoApps private cloud and on-premise enterprise deployments are very economical for companies with 200-10000 (mid-market companies) employees .
Intended for pre-existing SalesForce customers, Chatter offers only a Shared Cloud deployment option and has limited added value to their CRM.
Jive is typically more expensive than other vendors and seems to be focused on large enterprises. The minimum userbase Jive required for their on-premise solution is 1000 users ($75k to $100k/year investment).
As the first to market with “Twitter for the Enterprise”, Yammer does a good job at providing a platform to replace the water cooler. If you are looking for a place to talk about work, Yammer maybe a good option. Businesses that need a solution where employees just don’t talk about work but get the work done should look elsewhere. Businesses that need greater control of their social network and deeper enterprise systems integration should look at Jive and MangoApps.
The only Box deployment is in cloud which may rule this solution out for security reasons. Box has an easy document management system but does not offer any type of collaboration or interaction between users.
My name is Ian and I am an employee at MangoSpring, one of the companies mentioned on this site. Enterprise Social Networks is what I do all day long, every day.
This site is in no way associated with Yammer, Box, Jive, Chatter, my employer MangoSpring or any other social software vendor.
The views expressed on YammerAlternatives are my personal opinions and are intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the leaders enterprise social network software.
I highly encourage you to talk to all the players on the list, as they all have their strengths and weaknesses, before making a decision.