I had an interesting meeting today with the senior leadership of social networking SaaS vendor Neighborhood America. They have actually been around since 1999 (which makes them an old timer in social software years) and were the technology behind the highly successful HGTV web site Rate My Space which actually was turned into a TV show. There are a couple of important things I gleaned from this meeting that I want to share.
1. They provide a host of social software capabilities such as blogs, discussion groups, social rating, etc. (though wiki is missing) but the go further and add a layer of what they call “Business Services” which is really an assembly of process and social technologies targeted at specific horizontal challenges (social in nature of course) such as their Reveal idea engine. This is further proof of the movement from general purpose suites to pre-configured solutions. They also recognize services are key to get customers moving in the right direction.
2. In their portfolio of social technologies are applications for viral campaign management and advertising. More and more it is these two capabilities that separates those social platforms that serve externally facing communities vs. those that target internally-facing communities. Eventually all internally-facing implementations will also demand this functionality. Social behaviors are viral everywhere and although you might not want to sell your employees products you will always want to “sell” them on ideas to change their behaviors.
3. Finally, they have a heavy focus on analytics. Measuring participant activity is just the tip of the iceberg and more robust social analytics and mining for direct impact on business success will be a large differentiator for the next few years.
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