Over the past twelve months we have kicked off quite a few initiatives to dip our toes in the murky waters of web2.0. As these have all been largely experiments we’ve gone with WordPress for blogs, Ning for our community and SocialText for our wiki. Each were selected as they had the best price, feature set and fit for our purpose. Now as we hurtle toward the end of the year we begin to think about what our suite of social products will look like in 2009.
One of the many questions we need to answer when figuring this out is what technology platform will out products sit on, and to get to the point of this post do we continue with individual products that are good at a particular task but not connected to other items or do we go with someone who can give us the whole box and dice.
Certainly a generalist platform is appealing when thinking about user management and data security, it also could enhance the usability of our offer if all applications function in kinda the same way. On the specialist product side you can argue that by selecting a product for a specific need you can find the right product for your project and avoid hitting square pegs into round holes.
If we’re thinking whole box and dice there are a couple of options that I can think of. SocialText recently launched version 3 of their wiki platform and on paper it’s a pretty nice set up. Their well established wiki/blog tools, combined with an iGoogle style dashboard and social networking capabilities, integrates the majority of your social software offer into one box. Throw in their recently announced signals module and SocialCalc and as far as enterprise social software goes it is a pretty compelling case. On the downside their wiki has a few quirks that sometimes make it a little difficult for new users to come to grips with, the blogging tools are not as good as WordPress or Typepad and I’m not sure if it has discussion forum capabilities.
The other box and dice platform I know of is Sharepoint. yes it is from the evil empire (not google, the other evil empire) and yes it can become ungainly and difficult to manage but from what I have been told it can do most of your social stuff if you make it. I must admit I really don’t know much about share point other than it seems to have started many ‘is Sharepoint social’ discussions on the interwebs.
So to you good folk who have been kind enough to stop by this tram, do you know of any other box and dice type platforms out there? Or is it better to stick with distributed specialist platforms?