In a recent story on internal social networking, experts discussed the potential of enterprise social networks to drive knowledge worker efficiency to new levels. They also noted that setting goals for internal social collaboration is more important than the platform used to enable the collaboration.

That is true, but choosing the platform is a pretty important task, too. Selecting the right platform has also become a more challenging task of late, as more providers are rolling out internal social networking platforms or adding social networking capabilities to existing enterprise applications. The latest large enterprise player to enter the fray is Oracle, which announced in October its Oracle Social Network.

We’ve highlighted a few of the options here. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but is instead intended to provide a place to start and a sense of the different types of platforms available and their capabilities. Most of the products are free for a basic edition and priced at a per-user/per-month basis for an enterprise edition.

In an upcoming story we will provide some recommendations for developing an evaluation shortlist, as well as tips for effectively gauging different solutions’ value based on your organization’s needs.

SAP StreamWork

SAP’s buttoned-down StreamWork is a SaaS-based social networking tool built for business collaboration. The Enterprise Edition adds advanced security, automated provisioning, and the ability to integrate with legacy apps, including SAP software and Microsoft SharePoint.

Cisco Jabber

Leveraging Cisco’s unified communications platform, Cisco Jabber is designed to make employees more productive no matter where they are or what device they use. The result of Cisco’s 2008 acquisition of Jabber, the service enables users to access presence, instant messaging, voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing capabilities.

SocialCast

In May, VMware purchased SocialCast, a social networking platform that enables companies to integrate social tools and processes into enterprise applications. The free version of SocialCast offers such features as activity streams, a private message function, microblogging, and profiles. The premium version adds analytics, directory integration and user roles, among other features.

Jive Software

A social networking pioneer that launched an IPO this week, Jive is an extensible platform that enables third-party developers to integrate Jive’s social networking capabilities using an SDK based on OpenSocial.

Yammer

Yammer is a free, flexible platform that enables anyone to easily set up a simple social networking platform. Upgrading to the Enterprise edition adds management, monitoring, security, and customization capabilities, and Yammer offers several pre-built integrations with widely used enterprise applications. These include Salesforce.com, Microsoft SharePoint, and NetSuite.

Salesforce.com Chatter

Salesforce.com was an early enterprise advocate for social networking, and its Chatter offering has evolved from a feature of the company’s CRM offering to a stand-alone system that even non-Salesforce.com customers can implement. Chatter Free enables users to create profiles, post updates, follow coworkers, create groups, share files, and collaborate with colleagues in a private and secure environment, with Chatter Mobile and Chatter Desktop providing anywhere access. The Chatter Plus edition provides everything you get in Chatter Basic as well as tighter integration with CRM users and capabilities, as well as enhanced security and other controls. Chatter is also integrated into Salesforce.com analytics.

Neudesic Pulse

Neudesic Pulse enables real-time open sharing to foster innovation and make workers more productive and businesses more competitive. Microsoft partner Neudesic recently upgraded Pulse to enhance its integration with SharePoint, but Pulse goes beyond SharePoint to enable social collaboration on the applications that enterprises are already using, including CRM, so workers don’t have to learn yet another application.

Source: InformationWeek

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