Published: March 1, 2012

Silent on Social

The more I speak to software vendors, IT, and end-users about socially enabled applications, the more apparent the absence of some ISVs from the social conversation has become. It's not just that some companies don't have social applications as of yet. Many show no signs, make no announcements, or give no inkling of social features in their products.

Generally, support for social features in applications seems to break down into three categories - those that have a lot, those that have a little, and those that have none and are quiet about it. Many large ISVs, such as Microsoft, SAP, Salesforce, and IBM have made very visible investments in social tools across their enterprise applications. So have many mid-market ISVs - Ektron comes to mind - and there is an increasing number of startups in the socially enabled applications space. The number of companies that have some social tools and are planning more is also on the rise.

These companies are responding not only to changing demographics, business climate, and management behavior but to direct customer demand. IT and end-users are no longer just asking for these tools. They are expecting them just as they expect browser interfaces and security features.

So, where are the rest of the software developers? What are they hearing or not hearing from customers that make them slow to implement social products and features? Are they so far removed from customers that they aren't able to hear the social clamor at all?

The software industry is undergoing one of the most radical changes since the introduction of the browser. Open source software projects and startups in the social space are popping up everywhere. The OpenSocial API - which is being supported by a number of ISVs including IBM and the Apache Shindig project - are making it easier to embed social features in all types of applications. Users want it. IT wants it. Why are some ISVs missing from the party?

Enquiring minds want to know.


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