SharePoint vs Yammer—Jousting on Social

We assume that Microsoft bought Yammer (for a lot of money) to joust as a complement to SharePoint and against other vendors.Yammer vs SharePoint

Over a year ago Kevin McLaughlin from the Business Insider had said about the acquisition: “It’s Been A Year Since Microsoft Bought Yammer And Ballmer’s Grand Vision Has Yet To Materialize.”

Any way you look at it, most big-time vendors are betting on the fact that enterprises need social apps and hosting them in the cloud or as a service is the way to go. No one wants to manage a homemade file-server system anymore or some patched together intranet that gets outdated quickly.

Here’s a nifty rundown from consultants featured on IT Central Station about the differences between Yammer and SharePoint as they go head to head against other vendors:

Choosing Between SharePoint and Yammer

Sharon Richardson

SharePoint vs Yammer. What’s the difference?


Chris Radcliffe

Checking out what others are saying about vendors can be critical to your success as a decision maker for your vendor solutions. Heck, just being informed about what “experts” are saying in the field might just give you enough oomph to your thought leadership credentials to help with whatever solutions you’re discussing. Keeping up with what’s going on is probably half the battle.

Read reviews of Sharepoint, Confluence, and Yammer!

The Best of the Best for 2013—Enterprise Vendor Reviews!

This year’s “Best of the Best” for IT Central Station are the 100’s and 1000’s of enterprise vendor reviews that provide in-depth and head-to-head competitive analysis that leads people to better IT decision making. Yup. More is more in this case.Enterprise Vendors

Think about IT (pun intended). The more peer IT users and decision makers get involved in the premier Yelp for Enterprise IT—as stated in the Wall Street Journal and through the latest sources for IT go-to information—the more the information becomes actionable as a source to vet for buyers of IT and also for analysts, consultants, and vendors who want to cross-correlate what they’ve been hearing.

These reviews are the heartbeat, bread and butter, brains, core, and—you know what we mean—the whole reason you’re even here checking out this post.

Best of 2013 for the Blog

Although reviews are the most important, let’s take a moment to acknowledge blog posts and thought leader posts from guest bloggers.  First, check out the most popular head-to-head post on the blog: Enterprise Vendor Boxing Match—Microsoft vs Tableau

Other popular posts include a real user’s perspective on network performance monitoring in a guest blog from Eric Evans, who is one of IT Central Station’s Expert Reviewers: Inspect What You Expect: The Importance of Monitoring

Eric is a Senior Information Systems and Technology Manager at the 6th Marine Regiment Head Quarters. Click here if you would like to be one of IT Central Station’s guest bloggers.

What about this one that provides a run down of Prioritizing Gartner’s APM Model – The APM Conceptual Framework? This one was posted by Larry Dragich, Director of Enterprise Application Services at The Auto Club Group and who is also an Expert Reviewers on IT Central Station.

Most Popular Guest Blogs

Speaking of guest bloggers, this year’s most popular guest blog is by Fernando Bustillo. He is a Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse expert and has experience working with SAP Business Objects, Oracle, Teradata and other enterprise solutions. Here’s the post: How to Successfully Manage BI Dashboard Projects

Second runner up goes to Fabrizio Volpe.  Fabrizio is an experienced network architect and was awarded the MVP Directory Services Award by Microsoft in 2011 and 2012. He is also the author of Microsoft Forefront UAG Mobile Configuration Starter by Packt Publishing and is an Expert Reviewer on IT Central Station. Here’s the post: Lync 2013 High Availability

Third runner up goes to Robert Goodman. Robert is one of our BI Experts on IT Central Station and recently posted about Real-time Data Collaboration with QlikView. He is the Director of Business Intelligence & Analytics at Georgetown University and has worked with government organizations, higher education institutions, K-12 school districts, NGO’s and commercial entities. Here’s the post: Warning Signs That You Need Better Business Intelligence

Let’s throw in one goodie. This popular post provides access to a: free BI Report

There you have it, the run down from IT Central Station. Happy Holidays and a new Year of lots of great reviews, insights, connections, collaborations, guest blogging, and great IT decision making!

Predictions for CIOs from Gartner, IDC, and More—and the Winner Is . . .

Formula[CIOs] How to manage complexity whilst transforming the entire IT stack on the fly . . .

“With cloud, social, mobile and big data changing all traditional notions of IT deployment environments, collaborative paradigms, accessibility to information and transactions, and the volume, velocity and variety of data respectively, CIOs not only need to transform their entire IT stack, but do this on the fly whilst running the business. The scope of this task could be likened to changing all the vital components of a Formula 1 car whilst continuing to run the race.”

10 CIO considerations for disruptive trends in 2013 by Nicholas D. Evans

We’ve chosen Nick’s because his summarizes the challenge to CIOs after taking a close look at posts from IDC, Gartner, and several IT Vendors wanting your business. In short, CIOs must be innovators of IT from all platforms.

IDC’s CIO Agenda

Here’s five of IDC‘s 10 published predictions:

  • Prediction 1—By 2016, LOB Executives Will Be Directly Involved in 80% of New IT Investments
  • Prediction 2—By 2015, 90% of IT Investments Will Be Evaluated in Terms of Strategic Goals
  • Prediction 3—CIOs and CFOs Will Move to “Zero Capital” and Transform the IT Financial Model
  • Prediction 4—In 2013, CIOs Deliver 3rd Platform Mash-Ups as Competitive Differentiators
  • Prediction 5—70% of CIOs Will Embrace a “Cloud First” Strategy in 2016

Read the rest here: IDC Releases Market Predictions for 2013: CIO Agenda

Gartner’s CIO Call for Managing Disruptive Innovation

These statements spearhead Gartner Top 2013 Predictions . . .

“The well-prepared CIO must remain nimble. Not doing so could mean the difference between success and failure in today’s hypercompetitive environment.”

“CIOs must actively manage disruptive innovation associated with the era of the Nexus of Forces (Cloud, Social, Mobile and Information) to justify new IT purchases and accelerate new initiatives.”

Innovation @ IT Central Station

What’s the next action by CIOs in this environment? Get involved in the discussions. Find out what your peers are saying about these trends.  How are they planning to implement these strategies? [How are you?]

Here at IT Central Station, you can easily jump into the discussions anonymously with your peers while following products, writing and reading reviews, and attending—for example—tomorrow’s PeerPanel™ Webinar: Server Virtualization: A User Perspective Roundtable.   Click Here to register today!

Follow vendors such as Amazon Web Services, or find others in one of many Categories such as IaaS here.




Retirement Party—for Microsoft or for CEO Steve Ballmer?

retirementMicrosoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, announced that he’s stepping down in a surprise announcement last Friday. The investors rallied. But why?

Have a look at what Wall Street Journal’s, Don Clark and Shira Ovide have to say:

Steve Ballmer’s Mixed Legacy
“Gates’s Successor Helped Build Behemoth, but Missteps Leave Microsoft Vulnerable”

Here’s a brief rundown from the WSJ post:

“Mr. Ballmer had some successes during his tenure, including the building of Microsoft’s Xbox videogame business, and such major acquisitions as its $8.5 billion acquisition of the Web communications service Skype. He failed in a hostile bid to acquire Yahoo Inc. YHOO +0.02%for $44.6 billion, a defeat now widely regarded as a good thing; Yahoo’s market value currently stands at about $28 billion.”

Although Ballmer has gotten a lot of criticism, during his tenure Microsoft’s penetration in the enterprise market has flourished—launching key, highly rated offerings including Microsoft BI, Azure, Hyper-V, and SQL Server. [I thought Ballmer had an awesome influence on the Xbox for consumers and his sales kickoff’s were fun to watch on YouTube].

These Microsoft products for the enterprise have received 4 star ratings or higher on IT Central and  are rated higher than competing products from other companies. Read the reviews…

Follow them and write reviews if you’re currently using them. Become a part of what the Wall Street Journal calls “The Yelp for Enterprise Tech.”

At Last B2B is Getting Some of the Social Media Action!

This week’s guest post is by by Marie Wallace. She blogs at  and you can follow her on Twitter at @marie_wallace.  Contact us if you would like to be one of our guest bloggers. 

Marie Wallace

Marie Wallace

About 18 months ago I wrote a blog post entitled “Wake up Enterprise, the Internet is kicking our ass!” where I was bemoaning the lack of progress companies were making in really leveraging social networking within the enterprise; specifically when it comes to applying analytics on these networks in order to better inform business decisions. Today I’m glad to see that the focus has started to shift and at last we are starting to see a wide range of social solutions which are firmly targeted at the enterprise.

Crowd-sourcing of enterprise product reviews is just one example of this shift with specialized social networks like IT Central Station leveraging community and crowdsourcing to completely transform how companies make product licensing decisions. Making an enterprise decision is a completely different proposition to that of buying a consumer product. Frequently millions of dollars can be at stake since product decisions are not just about the purchasing or licensing costs; these decisions can impact business processes, organizational efficiency, legal, compliance, security, risk, finance, reporting, customer or employee sentiment, etc. So when companies look to get recommendations on enterprise products and services they need to ensure that these recommendations are based on accurate, reliable, and contextually relevant reviews from a review site that they trust.

Companies also need much more granular feedback about a product from many different perspectives in order to accurately align their decisions to the needs of their business; these needs may be characterized by their type of business (retail vs. financial), location (European legislation vs. US), size (SMB vs. multi-national), organizational culture, business processes, products, industry, etc. As crowdsourcing captures more characteristics of the products being reviewed, the people doing the reviewing, and the companies they come from, the knowledge graph becomes richer as does the type of analytics that you can apply.

Now I know you are probably asking yourself “How the heck is Marie going to bring this back around to social analysis?” I know I tend to sound like a scratched record, but I firmly believe that, to borrow a variation on James Carville’s 1992 Clinton campaign slogan, “It’s all about the people, stupid”. Unlike consumer product reviews you cannot consider a review in isolation of the person who gave it. The person may have a close affiliation to the product in question putting a review into question, they may be a competitor which means a negative review has to be taken with a pinch of salt, or they may come from an organization with a very different set of business objectives. For this reason the network (more of a knowledge graph than a pure social graph) is critical in order to capture all these connections and allow you to apply the appropriate analysis.

So we can all agree that individual reviews are totally inadequate and wading through masses of reviews painfully time-consuming; we need reviews to be analyzed and synthesized so that you can get the answer, “which product is best for me?”, without the pain. And since these types of social solutions are capturing a very diverse set of data it allows very personalized recommendations to be generated. I know privacy is a growing concern around social media these days, but that is in fact one of the reasons I really like enterprise (B2B) solutions in that they aren’t trying to grab your personal (non-business) information. They don’t care whether you were partying last night or just broke up with your boyfriend.

Just one final comment, or challenge, that I believe is worth posing is “How do we get people to want to share their data and feedback? This is where I believe community site like IT Central Station can help through providing reputation analysis and allowing this reputation to feed into Internet-level reputation systems. However should we also look to the product companies themselves to step up to the plate? Today most companies like to control customer feedback within their own systems; releasing success stories through Marketing and hiding failures within Customer Support. I think it’s fair to say that this model is crumbling and that social media is giving everyone a voice and incentivizing them to use it as often as possible.

Therefore, should companies be incentivizing clients & partners to share their thoughts on these external crowd-sourcing sites? As the song goes, “if you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were” 🙂

Read reviews of enterprise IT solutions from real users at IT Central Station. See reviews of Server Virtualization Software, BI Tools and other popular categories.

The Product Roadmap of the Future

One of the recurrent themes in this blog is that I share with you some of the seismic changes going on with online reviews, social networking and community sites in the consumer world and extrapolate how those changes will impact us here in the world of enterprise technology.

In that vein, I read a great article on the front page of the New York Times about how social media is changing the way that companies get input from customers about their products. The article covers the consumer market and how B2C (Business to Consumer) companies use social networking sites as “virtual focus groups” to gather new product ideas. If you’d like to read the article on the Times website, click here.

Now, let’s consider our world of business-to-business enterprise technology products and services. While the article cites examples that are not relevant for our world, there are some key lessons to be learned:

  • When most enterprise technology companies the input usually comes from existing customers and prospects in advanced stages. What’s missing is the voice of the rest of the market. Especially for vendors that want to grow their market share, this is a very valuable community that is not usually tapped into for roadmap planning
  • As Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen wrote in his classic book The Innovator’s Dilemma, successful companies can put too much emphasis on customers’ current needs.
  • End users of technology, who are looking for technology solutions to meet their needs, do not have a vendor-neutral community platform to share their thoughts about what they need and how they need it packaged.

All of this points to a latent need in the market: Virtual focus groups for enterprise technology products that enable real users to share their candid opinions with potential suppliers of technology solutions. It’s a win for the real users who get to express their opinions before engaging in a sales process with a vendor, and it gives vendors objective feedback about what the market needs. That’s a win-win!

One of the exciting features we plan to roll out later in the year is our virtual focus group program, where we match users with vendors to share their opinions. The system will be entirely opt-in for the users, which means that only the users who agree to  participate will be included.

Sound fascinating? If you would like to participate, first you need to register (for free) at IT Central Station. And if you write a review it will increase your chances of being invited to a virtual focus group in the future! If you’re a vendor, please contact us and we’ll be happy to share our own roadmap with you! 

IT Central Station Named One of the “Top 3 Highlights for B2B Tech Social Marketing”

forrester_logoWe are very proud that Forrester Research has recognized IT Central Station as one of the year’s top three highlights for B2B tech social marketing. It’s another validation that we are disrupting the B2B tech buying process through the power of crowdsourcing, online reviews and professional social networking.

Kim Celestre, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, published the Top Twelve B2B Tech Social Marketing Highlights which includes leading players in the business-to-business social media market including LinkedIn, Google,, Marketo, Eloqua, and Buddy Media. The post also recognizes innovative social marketing programs run by technology vendors including Oracle and SAP. The launch of IT Central Station was the #3 highlight of the year under the heading “Professional social networks got B2B marketers’ attention.”

Here’s an excerpt:

The past year was a remarkable one for B2B social marketing as seen by the acceleration of B2B social media adoption, rapid consolidation of the social media platform market and the evolution of digital and social marketing.

Professional social networks have great influence on technology decision-makers, who tap into the expertise and feedback from peers. We saw significant growth in existing professional social networks and the introduction of some new ones.  For example, IT Central Station, the ‘Yelp For The Enterprise’ was launched in the fall to provide CIO’s with a place to read and contribute reviews on technology solutions.

We are honored to be recognized by Forrester Research. The past year was an exciting one for us, and the coming year looks even better.

What can you do to be a part of this revolution? The best way to start is to follow products that interest you. Once you’ve done that, write a product review or apply to be an Expert Reviewer on IT Central Station.