By Charlene Li
As I mentioned previously, Forrester is conducting an evaluation of corporate blogging solutions. Part I consisted of asking your feedback on what blogging features and functionality and resulted in some lively debates! I've compiled those comments into the criteria below.
In Part II, I'd like to get your feedback on these specific criteria. The deadline for commenting is Thursday, March 2nd at 2pm PST. I will then be taking all final feedback and sending out a questionnaire to the companies we will be evaluating formally. We’ll also be posting the criteria online in survey format so that you can submit your own evaluations. You can include feedback as a comment below, as an email to me, or on my SocialText wiki where you can make changes directly to the criteria (it will be interesting to see what happens!)
Breadth of offering: What range of software and services does the vendor offer?
ASP model: Does the vendor provide an option to host and manage the corporate blogging solution? How robust and secure are hosting options?
Software: Does the vendor offer a licensed software product installed on the customer's premises?
Agency: Does the vendor provide complete end-to-end outsourcing of corporate blogging solutions, including hosting, design, implementation and measurement?
Platform support: Which database, hardware, and operating system platforms does the company support?
Ease of use: How clean, understandable, and accessible is the administrator's interface?
LDAP/active directory integration: What identity management systems do the product integrated with? How robust are security tools to ensure that only certain audiences can see/access the blog?
User passwords and permissions: How robust and scalable are the product's user permission tools, such as the ability to set group versus individual passwords or putting passwords on specific blogs or posts?
Multiple sites management: How many blogs can the product manage and support? How robust are the product's tools to manage multiple blogs across multiple sites?
Multiple author management: How many authors can the product manage and support? How robust are the product's tools to manage multiple authors per blog and multiple blogs per author?
Analysis and reporting: How robust, flexible, and accessible are the product's statistics, reporting, and data mining tools for visitors, referrers, RSS, etc?
Configurability and customization: How flexible is the product in its ability to be customized, with additional plug-ins or via custom programming? Does the vendor or its partners provide customization of the product?
Other administrative features: What other administrative features and functionality does the company provide? (e.g. import/export tools, backup controls, version control, user registration profiles, etc.)
Search engine: How robust is the product's built-in search engine?
Community tools: How flexible and robust are community tools, such as community posting by registered users, bulletin boards, and discussion forums?
RSS feed management: How robust is the product's tools to set up RSS/Atom feeds for posts, comments, categories, authors, etc.?
RSS feed aggregation: How flexible and robust are RSS aggregation tools to enable content from RSS feeds to be automatically created or added to specific/multiple blogs?
Other blog functionality: What other blogging features and functionality does the company provide? (e.g. calendaring, pinging, end-user customization, tagging, post ordering options, static page creation, etc.)
Ease of use: How clean, understandable, and accessible is the author's interface?
WYSIWYG post editor: How robust and easy to use is the post editor?
Post publishing options: How robust are publishing options, such as the ability to post at a future date or to save a draft?
Post by email: How robust are post by email options, such as review before post?
Media type attachment support: How robust is the solution at supporting a variety of content types, such as photos, audio, video, etc. associate them with the proper feed for multimedia distribution?
Email notification: How flexible and robust are email notifications of new comments and trackbacks?
Category creation: How flexible and robust are category creation tools for authors?
Online support: How robust is online support for authors?
Other author features: What other authoring features and functionality does the company provide? (e.g. cross-posting, link roll management, variable post length, etc.)
Content workflow management: How robust are editor & author roles, where the author submits posts fo the editor for approval?
Comment and trackback management: How robust are comment and trackback controls? Can they be turned on/off by individual posts or for specific blogs? What moderation tools are available?
Spam management: How flexible and robust are spam control options?
Planned enhancements: What future enhancements are currently planned for the product, and how do these enhancements position it for market leadership?
Cost: What is the average and minimum licensing or purchase prices for your solution?
Product strategy: What future enhancements are currently planned for the product, and how do these enhancements position it for market leadership?
Corporate strategy: What is the company's vision for its corporate blogging solution business, and what is the growth strategy for getting there?
Financial resources to support strategy: Is the vendor profitable, and what is the vendor's cash flow? Does the company have sufficient revenues, profits, and cash flow to support its strategies?
Customer satisfaction: How satisfied are the company's corporate blogging clients?
Differentiators: How unique and defensible are the company's differentiators?
Focus: How important are corporate blogging solutions to the company's overall business?
Year in the blogging business: How many years has your company been offering services as a corporate blogging solution?
Employees in engineering/product dev.: How many employees are dedicated to engineering or product development of corporate blogging solutions?
Employees in sales and service/support: How many employees are dedicated to sales and service/support of corporate blogging solutions?
Services: How strong are the vendor's implementation and training services?
Installed base: How many customers are currently using your solution today? How many at year end 2004?
Number of clients: What percent of clients are SMB (<$1 billion revenues) versus enterprise (+1 billion revenues)
Size of clients: What percent of clients are SMB (<$1 billion revenues) versus enterprise (+1 billion revenues)
Industry categories: Which industry and customer categories do you primarily serve?
New clients: How many new clients did you acquire in Q3/Q4 2005?
Reference accounts: What companies are the vendor's reference clients?
Revenue and growth: What is the vendor's revenue in 2005? What was it in 2004?