Social App Map Makes it Easy for Businesses to Integrate Social

There are two factors you can count on in the early days of a burgeoning software market such as social business applications. First, there will be a consistent flow of new products entering the market with capabilities ranging from entry-level to extremely sophisticated. Second, the landscape will become increasingly fragmented as it diversifies.

These truisms can make it difficult for businesses to know where to even start researching the market–a struggle I experienced first hand while researching the social software market for my company last year. I needed to write a buyer’s guide for companies wanting to invest in this technology for the first time, but quickly discovered a lack of standardization among application categories.

In the midst of my research, for example, I’d find two companies that both described their products as being “Social CRM” systems, despite offering completely different capabilities and achieving different objectives. Or, I would find two products with very similar features, but one would be called an “integrated marketing application” and the other would called a “social media ROI tracking” solution.

So, I set out on a mission to organize the market in an interactive tool called The Social App Map. The goal was to provide businesses a simple and immediate means for finding products that fit their needs. While software selection will still require conducting demos and requesting pricing (among other steps), at the very least businesses could use my guide to quickly create  a shortlist of products to evaluate.

After more than eight months of research, I selected 70 leading social media and social enterprise applications (including Janrain) in five industry categories to feature in the map. In addition to defining five specific software categories, I also identified three to four standard features for each category. For example, the four most-common Social CRM features include “Social Contact Profiles,” “Social Relationship Building,” “Social Customer Service” and “CRM Integration.” (For a detailed description of these features, roll over these features in the app filter to reveal the help text).

The Social App Map is really simple to use. Here’s how it works:

  • Click on any logo in the map and a screen will pop up with more information about that system.
  • Or, click on the “filter” button, which triggers the filter to drop down.
  • Once the filter is open, check off the features you are most interested in and hit “Apply Filters.”
  • Click the “filter” button again to hide the screen and you will be shown every vendor that has the features you selected.
  • Clear the filters by hitting the “Clear Filters” button, then “Apply Filters” again. This will re-populate the map again with every application.
SocialAppMapHome SocialAppMapFilter social-app-detail

Give The Social App Map a try and let me know what you’ve learned, or what other information you’d like to see included: ashleyverrill@softwareadvice.com   You can also read my guest post at Wired.com