If your company is struggling with SharePoint, leading you to look for SharePoint alternatives, this post is for you. You won’t find any SharePoint bashing here. After all, I live in the Seattle area, have many friends at MSFT, and I need to be able to go to the grocery store next week.
Nonetheless, SharePoint is not always the best fit for all organizations. The common feedback from companies looking for the best SharePoint alternatives includes, “SharePoint is …..too complicated, no social features, not easy enough for my users, no mobile access, not intuitive, too much training needed, too much customization needed, too expensive because of all the hidden costs, feels like old technology”, etc.
It also depends on the size of your organization and the number of users you expect. Some vendors cater to SMB and mid-market customers, offering customizations and integrations for groups as small as 50 users. Other vendors focus on large enterprises.
You’ll save a lot of time if you interview the right set of vendors. If you only have 500 users, don’t waste your time trying to get one of the Large Enterprise vendors to customize their offering for you (even if they agree to talk with you, the quote will likely be 2-3x what a vendor specializing in SMB & mid-market will quote for a customized solution).
Top 5 SharePoint Alternatives for SMB & Mid-Market Customers
The below five vendors focus on deployments of 50–5,000 active users (total employees can be more). If your organization falls into this category, one of these vendors will more than likely best fit your needs, at a price that fits your budget.
MangoApps – A Gartner “2012 Cool Vendor”, offering an all-inclusive social collaboration suite including an Enterprise Social Network with full Document management, Project management, and Task management. Easy to use, robust mobile access from all platforms (even Windows Phone!), plugins for MSFT Office & Outlook, and advanced security features including mobile device management.
Will perform customizations and integrations for organizations as small as 100 users. Single-tenant private cloud and on-premise deployments available. Offers freemium plan with unlimited users for easy trial and adoption.
Socialcast – Owned by VMware since 2011, offers activity streams, microblogging, employee profiles, and more. Available in the cloud or on-premise. Socialcast offers a free trial for up to 50 users.
Yammer – one of the better-known enterprise social network offerings. Initially a point solution with a narrow focus, Yammer continues to add functionality attempting to grow beyond just a place for workers to talk about things. Yammer is a multi-tenant SaaS offering only. The lack of private cloud or on-premise deployment options is a show stopper for companies demanding a higher level of security.
IGLOO – A Canadian based company offering online communities and social software for business. Little known fact, IGLOO stands for “International Governance Leaders and Organizations Online”. Multi-tenant SaaS is the only deployment option for SMB and mid-market customers. Avg cost is $12/user/month.
SocialText – a wiki-centric enterprise social software platform. Acquired in May 2012 by private equity firm Bedford Funding, Socialtext is available in the cloud or on-premise. Avg cost is $9/user/month.
Top 5 SharePoint Alternatives for Large Enterprise
These next five vendors focus on deployments of 5,000+ active users.
IBM Connections – The social collaboration platform with the largest market share with large enterprises (SharePoint does not qualify as a “social” collaboration platform). IBM Connections is on its fourth major release and includes nine applications: Home, Profiles, Activities, Blogs, Bookmarks, Communities, Files, Forums, and Wikis.
Jive – Initially offered bulletin boards and community spaces. Converted to social business software in 2009 and increased revenues 85%. Moved headquarters from Portland, OR to Palo Alto, CA in 2010. Had a successful IPO in December 2011 raising $161.3 million. Continues to invest heavily in an effort to compete with IBM for large enterprise customers. Acquired Producteev in November 2012 to expand the Jive offering to include Task management.
Telligent – founded in 2004 by Rob Howard, a founding member of Microsoft’s ASP .NET team. Started in 2004 as a community platform that brought together blogs, wikis, forums, and user profiles. Telligent Enterprise, an internal social collaboration solution, was released in 2008 and is primarily an on-premise product.
SAP SuccessFactors – SuccessFactors provides an enterprise social network called ”Jam”. SAP announced it would acquire SuccessFactors in Dec 2011 for $3.4 billion. SuccessFactors is now working to integrate SAP’s CRM, HCM, LMS, Finance, and other apps into Jam. The solution is available in the cloud or on-premise.
Oracle Social Network – In October 2012 Oracle introduced it’s social network offering for large enterprises. Oracle’s social network promises a social relationship management suite integrated with Oracle’s other enterprise applications, providing a holistic view of customers. Available in the cloud or on-premise.
Find the Right Vendor for You
There’s no shortage of social collaboration software vendors. You can make the selection process easier by starting with the right “short list”. If you have less than 5,000 employees, start with the above list for SMB and mid-market organizations. If you have 5,000+ users, engage the vendors above specializing in large enterprise deployments.
Note this is based on number of users, not number of employees. If you are a large organization, but your current needs for social collaboration are within a particular division with less than 5,000 users, one of the SMB/mid-market social collaboration software vendors will likely best meet your needs. Once you identify your short list of vendors, you can then narrow down the best Sharepoint alternatives for your organization based on your specific needs and requirements.