While social software adoption originated on the consumer web, it is dramatically disrupting businesses by changing the cost and speed of content management, communications and relationship development. Enterprise social software collapses authoring, publishing and distributing/sharing into one action — and it is often enabled on a variety of devices so users can seamlessly switch from a desktop interface to a web interface to a mobile interface. By collapsing this workflow, social software vastly increases productivity and the speed of communications.
The enterprise social software market, in many ways, is morphing out of more traditional content authoring, content management, communications and CRM markets and taking advantage of cloud computing, open social graphs and ubiquitous access. It therefore has the potential to disrupt a lot of established enterprise application markets, which will have trouble keeping up because they are architected around content or a process, not around the end-user; this makes them more rigid and less appealing to use.
2008 saw an increase in integrations between enterprise social software and content management and/or CRM applications; more experimentation with open standards and developer communities; and releases of social features from some CMS and CRM vendors. Drupal, Joomla, WordPress and other open source platforms also gained significant traction due to their flexibility, large plug-in libraries and active developer communities.
In the long run, the largest enterprises will continue to prefer on-premise implementations of social software, while small and medium-sized businesses will prefer SaaS-based solutions. All of that has yet to shake out, and the market will continue in a fragmented state in the near term. The largest of the pure social software vendors has not reached $50 million in revenue from social software and the majority of vendors are in the $5-15 million range. The total enterprise social software market is estimated $275 million in 2008 and will have strong growth in 2009.