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Dave Foxall Telligent Social Community Software Review

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 112 votes)
 By Dave Foxall

A Social HR Software Vendor Solution Brief

A pioneer in workforce collaboration software, Telligent was founded in 2004 on the premise that social community is the key for organizations to access vast amounts of untapped, unshared knowledge among its members (including employees, customers and peers). The company's powerful Evolution platform enables fully-customizable business community sharing via a set of integrated applications including blogs, forums, wikis, social search, profiles, microblogging, activity feeds, tagging, RSS, discussion threads and comprehensive online community administration.

According to research firms such as Gartner, Hypatia and IDC, Telligent is a market leader and visionary; and Forrester's 2011 Wave for Enterprise Social Platforms, even cites Telligent as a pack leader with, "a razor-sharp focus on analytics, a platform designed from the ground up for extension, and a growing and impressive stable of partners."

Telligent's Social Community Application Purpose

Looking to give clients the edge on social communities for business, Telligent's software includes the following:

  • Telligent Evolution – the platform on which Telligent's core applications are built, Evolution offers impressive scalability and integration with existing applications such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Content Management Systems (CMS) and document management systems.
  • Telligent Enterprise – Telligent's answer to employee-facing communities, Enterprise features include blogs, wikis, discussion forums, microblogging, activity feeds, and tagging in an interactive workspace accessible anytime. Further, Telligent's Enterprise is fully integrated with Microsoft SharePoint, Office and Lync plus platform APIs that can unite numerous aspects of the employee community with other business applications.
  • Telligent Community – Telligent's software offering for customer-facing communities, Community is a complete set of social applications (built around an easy-to-use design framework) that provide flexibility for use in marketing, networking, sales and support. Further, Telligent's Community software is integrated with popular social networks including Facebook and Twitter plus web parts that add social capabilities such as blogging, friending and following to Microsoft SharePoint Internet sites.
  • Telligent Analytics – This functionality exists for tracking and analyzing community activity and features customizable dashboards and reports for social intelligence including: analysis of user activity, community traffic, key influencers and the conversations happening within critical networks; key performance indicators (KPIs) like time-to-solution, answer rates, most viewed pages and popular downloads; and metrics for brand awareness, sentiment and customer loyalty.

Telligent also offers a mobile application allowing anytime access to the Enterprise and Community solutions. Optimized for iPhone, BlackBerry Torch, and Android phones, Telligent Mobile offers:

  • Rapid engagement with instant, inline replies and comments.
  • Instant information with fast, one-click updates to status messages.
  • Improved connections by linking co-workers, peers, and friends directly to their community activity.
  • Centralized collaboration by connecting globally distributed work teams and customers.

Telligent's Customer Target Market

With over 3,000 clients worldwide, Telligent has recently expanded its client base and global reach in the last two years; increasingly focusing on the European market with clients such as confectioner Cadbury and hairdresser chain Toni & Guy. By company representative admission, Telligent specializes in social software rather than any particular sector; a sentiment echoed in the company's varied customers—including such marquis clients as Dell, Rio Tinto, and Starbucks. Yet regardless of industry, Telligent's customer commitment is on par for a social software company; represented well by the company's core value that "The customer comes first. Period". This idea is echoed in the pride the company takes when customers win awards using Telligent's solutions; such as:

  • GameInformer Online – Webby People's Voice Award 2010
  • U.S. Department of Defense's APAN – Forrester Groundswell Award for Employee Social Application 2010
  • Mota-Engil – Nielsen Norman Group Intranet Design Award 2011

Telligent's Perfect Prospect Profile (PPP)

Although the social software products are highly scalable, Telligent's primary focus is large organizations looking for a solution with global capabilities that can not only connect employees, but also act as a major customer and stakeholder engagement tool. Potential customers looking for a strong focus on analytics, core platform extensions, and integration with existing technology investments may be well served with Telligent.

Telligent's Technical Specs

Built on a Microsoft platform (i.e. ASP.NET 2.0 and SQL Server), Telligent software is flexible and extensible. Further, a choice of deployment options are available, including single tenancy that meets the integration and customization needs of the enterprise; an external private cloud with dedicated networking and an autonomous environment; or a hybrid approach where customers can choose to start in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environment and later transition to on-premise. It's noteworthy that Telligent does not support a multi-tenant architecture, thereby being exposed to delays in migrating customers to new upgrades and versions.

Telligent's Primary Competitors

Citing the Forrester Wave research, "four vendors have moved into the lead in terms of depth and breadth of offering, market presence, and strong executive leadership." In addition to Telligent, the other three (and consequently Telligent's most direct competitors) are: IBM – which integrates its Connections solution with the broader IBM portfolio; Jive Social Software – which is continuing its drive to establish and lead "social business" as a new software category; and NewsGator – a company that takes SharePoint's social offering to higher levels through its close partnership with Microsoft.

Strengths of Telligent's Social Community System

  • By avoiding deep investment in (and potential restriction by) capabilities that customers already own, Telligent has focused on out-of-the-box integration with these existing systems.
  • The Telligent Marketplace (on the company website) is an always-open online marketplace of add-ons, plugins and other extras to further enhance Telligent and the wider social experience.
  • The mobile app ensures that Telligent communities are always connected.
  • Strong customer and prospect support; including a range of toolkits, such as the Social Starter Toolkit for organizations new to social media business.
  • Telligent is a certified Microsoft partner, an advisory board member, and a Social Networking ISV partner for the Digital Marketing Platform Group. It's alliances and credentials keep the company in the loop and continually innovating.

Weaknesses of Telligent's Social Community System

  • Despite offering multiple deployment options, the company's SaaS option comes from the very recent acquisition of the San Francisco-based Leverage; a verity that raises concerns about how well this functionality has been integrated into Telligent's software offerings.
  • Cross-platform support, compared with similarly-situated social software vendors, is lacking.
  • Per Forrester Research, capabilities for event logs, monitoring, and reporting, while average, is still relatively low and needs to be improved to be fully functional—an effort that appears the company is taking on.

Bottom-line for Telligent's Social Community Software

As a company, Telligent was in at the start of the business social media market and started strong (the first customer was Microsoft, which currently uses Telligent for more than 30 of its online communities). Features such as inward- and outward-facing communities; strong mobile functionality; and excellent customer support and interaction, all go to making Telligent one of the current market social software leaders. According to IDC, the social platform market will be worth $2 billion by 2014 and Telligent's own aim is to be the most trusted and innovative enterprise collaboration and community software company within that field. End

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Telligent was founded in 2004 on the premise that social community is the key for organizations to access vast amounts of untapped, unshared knowledge among its members.


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