But more importantly, a vendor must be able to deliver the needed services, from integration services to education and change management.
And before buying anything, companies should determine whether their employees are "joiners," the type of people who are interested in social networking to begin with.
"Do the research first," he said. "Just because you build it doesn't mean anyone is going to come."
The University of California-Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business appears to be taking this cautious approach. The school is about to begin a pilot program through which 20 to 30 students use Socialcast, said Jon Masciana, director of admissions recruiting.
While impressed by Socialcast's knowledge management and archiving functions, Masciana said the new pricing option would help the school determine who is the best target for the software as it moves forward.
"If we did a whole agreement with all of our students, it's unclear how many would be active contributors," he said.