Enterprise social software spurs connections

The InfoWorld Test Center reveals the strengths and weaknesses of blogging, wiki, and community solutions from CubeTree, Jive, Socialtext, and Telligent

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Strong collaboration contenders
If we had scoring categories for development speed and agility, CubeTree would earn 10 in both. This relative newcomer is pumping out updates almost weekly (I tested update 63), and each adds real functionality. The service was a joy to use, but some of the features aren't as deep as their counterparts in other products. Still, with no cost for the basic version, you should pilot this product.

Stepping up, I was impressed with how far Socialtext has come from the early wiki days. The only product tested with both appliance and cloud deployment options, it's an excellent choice for regulated industries.

At the next level, where you're interested in connecting internal and external communities, there's Telligent and Jive SBS. Both products are more complex to customize and deploy but have the advantage of strong analytics. Decision-makers can monitor conversations that potentially affect the business. Of the two, Telligent nudges slightly ahead because of better integration with other business systems.

A final note: Do the math. Per-month costs may at first seem reasonable. But for a large organization, you're potentially looking at costs of a million dollars (or more) per year. On this measure alone, CubeTree's basic offering and Socialtext's microblogging option seem like bargains.

Related content:
Slideshow: Up close and personal with social software
A visual tour of offerings from CubeTree, Jive, Socialtext, and Telligent reveal their respective strengths

Telepresence shatters communication barriers
From high-end suites to tabletop codecs, telepresence systems create a near face-to-face experience at increasingly affordable prices

Product review: Jive Software's social enterprise portal
Clearspace 2.0 makes the business case for social software with SharePoint integration, workable project management, and document sharing with external users

Wikis evolve as collaboration tools
Latest offerings get users swapping knowledge quickly

Lab test: Telligent Community Server 2008 spurs collaboration
Blogs, forums, and media galleries integrate with enterprise applications through Web services

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