Enterprise social: choosing key features

"As soon as Chatter came along and we started using it we adopted it within a few days as it was quite obvious how well it was going to work for us.

"We tend to use it with a photo attached initially. For example at a larger client the team will take pics of recycling bin and waste area so we can decide how best to service that customer and then we store it for future use."

Platform variety

Employees use a variety of mobile platforms including iOS, BlackBerrys and Android and have found Chatter works equally, in terms of depth of features and usability, across them all.

People put tags and notes by the photos and much of the information is stored by street location for access later on. After acquisition, customer details are transferred to the company's own system, Enqwix.

"The next big step for us is the integration of Salesforce, which is the front end of our customer journey, with Enqix," says Bratley.

Vendors are adding features and innovating continuously, enabling deeper integration with other applications all the time.

"In any decision to make an investment now, there are going to have to be trade-offs," says Nikos Dracos, analyst at Gartner.

"If you know you want to use it in a particular way because you have a business need to improve your employee engagement, for example, or to push through some big changes you are doing, push innovation and you have realised employees are already using Dropbox, for example, then choosing an application you can get good value from should be a priority.

"If you are ready now, go for it. If you are still testing and trying things then maybe you can wait for your preferred supplier to come up with (the features you would like)."

At the same time, for maximum flexibility, Ovum's Edwards advises organisations to plan their exit strategy before jumping in.

"Some organisations will have to be very mindful of what happens if you go into merger and acquisition activity or move to another platform. How easy is it to move data to another platform and is it indeed at all possible?

"I would encourage all those involved in the selection process to consider your exit strategy and do a dry run. It is an area that is underdeveloped."

You can also read about the options for running enterprise social through the cloud or in-house, and how to manage data and content in parts 1 and 2.