SocialWok is doing some interesting stuff with the Google ecosystem. I met up with them in the hallway at Google IO and I came away from the meeting wondering if they will stay an independent company for very long. Why? Because they are doing the most interesting thing to bring Google’s datatypes into your work. Worse yet for Microsoft, I’m seeing that a range of companies are building a wall around Microsoft’s Sharepoint and limiting its ability to grow, at best and potentially taking market share away from Ballmer’s Microsoft.
Now, one small company on its own doesn’t seem to be that big a threat to Microsoft, does it? But let’s look at a range of companies in this post and look at them holistically. I’m seeing the world move toward these newer companies.
First, a disclaimer, I work for Rackspace and we provide hosted SharePoint, so we are hoping you stay on Microsoft SharePoint for a long time and we’ll make it easy to manage your collaboration system. That said, I think it’s important to keep up to date on what’s going on in the Enterprise market, which is why I spend so much time meeting with competitive companies and doing these videos.
Box.net poking at SharePoint’s weakness: social services
Last week I attended a talk by Box.net‘s CEO, Aaron Levie, where he did his best impression of Salesforce’s CEO and not only took on Microsoft but laid out what he’s seeing as a range of cloud-based services that are making a new kind of work possible.
OffiSync: Taking your Microsoft documents and spreadsheets and getting them into Google’s Cloud
Look at this new company, OffiSync from Israel. They let you move your Microsoft documents into Google’s Cloud, but even better, that is like a gateway drug to getting you into Google’s enterprise world. Why? Because if you get your Word docs and spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations off your hard drive and out of email you’ll probably also learn that you could just go all the way and convert them to Google’s online formats which will remove Microsoft from the picture completely.
Yammer: removing all the other stuff to focus only on the social
Recently I visited Yammer and talked with their executives where I learned they were seeing large wins by having enterprise employees bring them in the back door. Why are they doing that? Because Yammer focuses only on the social stream (it originally looked like a copy of Twitter, but now has gotten some other features that make it better to use for enterprise users).
SocialCast: bringing activity streams (IE, Facebook-like features) to workplace for less money than Salesforce Chatter (and more freedom too)
In my visit to SocialCast I got a look at their latest offerings which are competitive with SocialWok’s and Salesforce Chatter, but for less money than Salesforce’s offerings. Their competitive advantage? You can use SocialCast on your own servers, where with SocialWok or Salesforce you are forced to use only cloud-based services.
SocialText: mixes a full suite of collaboration tools into social
When you visit Ross Mayfield, founder of SocialText, you get the feeling he’s been doing this a lot longer than the other players on the field and you’d be right. His company started as an easy-to-use wiki company but over the last few years has turned on a range of services from spreadsheets to other collaboration tools and laid them into a social feed.
Jive: pushing large-scale communities into collaboration tools
If you visit VMWare you’ll see they have 1.5-million people on their communities which are all run on Jive. Jive is the biggest of the startup disrupters of the enterprise world and consistent rumors have floated from its Palo Alto headquarters that they are working on an IPO but they are using that lead in community-management to make major moves into the new social enterprise world. Here I meet with CEO Dave Hersh and he talks about what he’s seeing happen.
Zoho: outrunning everyone with a huge suite of corporate services
If you look at Zoho’s home page you’ll see dozens of services, all aimed at helping you work better but for less money. These are services built from the ground up for the Web and they have proven to be very popular. Here I talk with Zoho’s CEO, Sridhar Vembu, about how he views the new Microsoft Office along with competition from Google (Zoho is on Google’s new enterprise app store and doing well there) and where he’s taking his company.
Salesforce Chatter: moving from just being for salespeople to being a crucial information-sharing service for the entire corporation
The big daddy of the disrupters is Salesforce. Why? Because they already have a relationship with nearly every CTO in the world so they can — unlike Yammer or most of the other players I’m discussing here — go in the front door of the company and get large groups of the company to buy in with one sales call. Already we’re seeing that happen as they roll out their beta and getting more engagement from enterprise employees than the others have gotten after scratching out adoption over a period of years. Why is Salesforce Chatter so important? Because they are building hooks into other corporate information systems, like those from SAP, and shoving info from those APIs directly into the social feed that looks a lot like Facebook. Here I sit down with the guy behind Chatter, Senior VP of Product Marketing Kraig Swensrud.
Tomorrow I’ll be at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference looking for more enterprise disrupters. I’m sure I’m missing a ton here, including companies like Atlassian, Blogtronix (video here), or Google themselves. If you think your company deserves to be in this conversation, please post a comment here. Thanks!
So, what do you think? Are these newer approaches taking away from Sharepoint? Are they boxing it in?