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June 28, 2006

Forrester’s Blogging Platforms Wave Evaluation now available

Nine platform evaluations, 54 criteria, and 30 user interviews later, our blogging platform “Wave” evaluation is now available. The process started with a post on this blog asking for feedback on criteria to use and I wanted to share back the results. I’ve included a summary below, but the full report – which includes detailed product evaluations as well as a customizable ranking tool – is available only to clients or for individual purchase. (You can find the full report here.) The nine platforms evaluated were Drupal, iUpload, Roller, Movable Type, Telligent, Traction, TypePad, and WordPress. There are many other platforms available, but these were chosen because of their market presence, unique approach, and tenure in the industry.

The general take of the report is that blogging is quickly moving beyond simply managing posts into a lightweight content management systems. Companies are also increasingly looking to blogs to provide the foundation for a community strategy, both for internal collaboration and external marketing purposes.

Here’s the executive summary as well as the Wave graphic that shows how we ranked the platforms.

Forrester evaluated leading blogging platforms across 54 criteria and found that iUpload leads the market with its robust blogging capabilities and its strong strategic vision of a blog as a lightweight content management system (CMS), a collaboration and knowledge management tool, and even as a foundation to form communities of customers. When choosing between a full-featured suite like iUpload's Customer Conversation System or strong blogging-focused solutions like Movable Type and WordPress, companies should have a well-developed vision of how blogging will be used within the enterprise and then select a vendor that shares that vision.

Blog_wave

Three clear leaders emerged – iUpload, and Movable Type, WordPress. Note that these are three very different platforms, each with their own pros and cons. And in some scenarios, it may make more sense for a company to choose one of the other strong contenders like Drupal, Telligent, Traction, or TypePad.

In the end, I believe that a company needs to have a clear idea and vision of how blogging will be used within the company – to seek out a platform whose product strategy matches that vision. This is what I wrote in the report:

When choosing a blogging platform, companies should first determine both their short-term and long-term needs. For example, a company just dipping its toes into the blogging waters may want to start with TypePad with the goal of transitioning to a more robust, software-based platform in the future. Another company may want to start with a robust, hosted platform like iUpload from the beginning and avoid the hassles of transitions in the future. And a third firm may want the integrated community tools of a Telligent or Drupal solution. The unifying idea behind all of these decisions is a clear vision of the role that blogging will play within the company.

My next area of research will be a series of best practices on how companies can get started with both internal and external blogs – so if you have any tidbits or case studies you’d like to share, please add them as comments or email me.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Forrester’s Blogging Platforms Wave Evaluation now available:

» Forrester on Blogging Platforms from Gilbane Group Blog
Forrester has published one of their "Wave Evaluations" on blogging platforms. Charlene Li has a summary of the report along... [Read More]

» The Chief Knowledge Officer’s Dilemma from Innovation Creators
Let's face it: The whole "Knowledge Management" experiment was a failure. Wikipediea defines Knowledge Management this way: "an approach to improving organizational outcomes and organizational learning by introducing into an organization a range of spe... [Read More]

Comments

Jay Bryant

Thanks for the info on the blogging platforms. One company you missed was LiveWorld, which is the vendor we picked for our blogging platform (internal and external use). Their platform is very robust and the moderation tools (lacking in most platforms) are meeting our needs. Telligent was our 2nd choice and a very viable solution.

celeste w @studio501c

I am very sorry that you didn't include ExpressionEngine (http://www.pmachine.com) which, though relatively unknown, is becoming increasingly popular. It is a great CMS and blogging tool that draws raves from users -- including top designers. It would be wonderful for corporate blogging. With no affiliation to the companpy, I am going to use it for a new project soon.

Jim Cahill

Charlene, We'd be happy to share our experiences on getting both external and internal blogs going at Emerson. I'll send you an email to see what level of information you're seeking.

Take it easy,

Jim Cahill
http://www.emersonprocessxperts.com

Ben McConnell

Charlene -- Did you also study marketshare of blogging platforms?

Askar Baybuzov

What? Only 30 interviews? How can you analyze market trends, asking only 30 people? Ask at the least 30 thousand intranet users to have objective report.

What is iUpload? I didn't ever hear about it. Maybe it's just promotion of new blog hosting platform? I tried register new blog on their site. Yikes! They use CAPTCHA to fight agains spambots, but image wasn't loaded until I refreshed the page 5 times. Also they don't care about browser compatibility, I have too small font in Opera on their site. Do you call this "strong strategy".

Sure you also call "Wordpress" and "Movable Type" leaders of the market. Good trick to increase trust to this report. Everyone knows WP and MT.

Charlene Li

Askar: I understand your concern so I'm happy to clarify the methodology. But first, I take great issue with your implication that including WordPress and Movable Type was a "trick to increase trust". If I wanted to make sure this report would "sell", it wouldn't have made sense to have placed a little-known company like iUpload amongst the leaders, or to include open source options like Drupal and Roller. I hope a short explanation of the methodology (which is spelled out in great detail in the full report) will show that we took great care in trying to be objective in our evaluation.

On to the methodology: We had an initial screening list of over 20 blogging platforms. We invited these companies to participate in the evaluation, and also posted on this blog to ask COMPANIES to suggest solutions, as well as the criteria we should use to evaluate the platforms.

These companies were asked to complete a short screening questionnaire and we narrowed the final platforms selected based on our screening criteria, which were primarily adoption by large enterprises, tenure in the business, and unique solutions.

The 30 user interviews were then based on referrals provided by the platforms themselves, which is why they are limited in number. And although these references were provided by the vendors, they were far from glowing and in every case, provided many areas where the platforms were lacking.

These interviews were with the key decision makers who actually selected the platforms, rather than the actual users. So while I agree that interviewing thousands of blog users (and their readers) would have been helpful, in the end they usually provide only one perspective. Besides, it's nearly impossible to survey employees at a single company without endless permission-getting, let alone 30 different companies!

But I get the sense that you believe there should have been a different outcome from the evaluation process. By all means, please let me know, especially if you believe that there is a platform that we should include in future evaluations. And if you have any suggestions on ways to improve the evaluation methodology, I’m all ears.

On the problems with iUpload – just because they are a leader doesn’t mean they are perfect. In fact, spam management was one of the key areas where iUpload did not score as high as platforms like WordPress.

Charlene Li

Celeste: Thanks for recommending Expression Engine. We'll definitely include them in our next evaluation round.

Charlene Li

Ben: We didn't look at the market share explicitly. But the "market presence" indicated by the area of the circle gives an idea of the relative adoption of these platforms by **large corporations**. Note also that these were self-reported numbers.

At some point, we will likely include blogging platforms in our enterprise technology usage surveys. My hope is that we will look at not only how many companies are using blogging platforms, but also for what purposes (internal versus external audiences) and specifically, which platforms they use.

Keith Instone

Thanks for the explanation of the methodology. May I suggest that next time you say "30 decision maker interviews" instead of "30 user interviews"? The decision makers were probably also users, but "decision maker" is a much more accurate term in this case.

Also, just to confirm - it sounds like you did not install, set-up and run each of these platforms yourself for a short period of time as part of this analysis. I know you are not a "PC labs" but please correct me if I am wrong. Again, just want to understand the methodology.

Finally, I'd love to hear how the usability of the applications fit into the evaluations (both the sys admin usability and the end user experience). Was usability a key differentiator in the quality of the current offering rankings (or a non-factor)? Did ease-of-use factors affect your "strategy" ranking (as I believe they should)?

Thanks again.

Alex Bukinis

did not thought so big about wordpress, but after reading the post now I clearly see that wordpress is definatly something more of enterpise blogiing. Now I thinking of transferring my blogging on wordpress on hoodia gordonii http://www.offshelf.net hoodia weight loss

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