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Getting Work Done: The Increased Focus on Social Task Management Tools

“When it comes to getting work done, social task management products take collaboration beyond the limits of ad hoc sharing through status and file posts,” writes Constellation Research analyst, Alan Lepofsky, in a recent report. “Getting Work Done With Social Task Management”, the first in a series of reports set to be published by Lepofsky and Constellation Research primarily sets out to explain this new and emerging space. “With this one [report], I just wanted to show that there is this market,” Lepofsky said in a recent post by David Carr of Informationweek. Lepofsky doesn’t set out to rank the existing vendors (a la Gartner Group’s Magic Quadrant) instead, his goal with this report is to raise awareness about the growth of this new market.

As defined by Lepofsky, social task management (STM) consists of standalone products (like Salesforce’s Do.com and Asana), as well as enterprise social networking platforms (like IBM Connections) with strong task management functionality, and “hybrid” products (like Wrike) that can be used as either a standalone solution or can easily integrate with existing enterprise social platforms like Jive. In his report, Lepofsky outlines the STM competitive landscape:

  • Standalone: AtTask, Asana, Basecamp, Do, Mavenlink, Producteev (Jive), Rule, Strides, and TeamBox.
  • Integrated: Goshido, Neodesic, SAP StreamWork, Sparqlight, and Wrike.
  • Social business platform with embedded task management: Clearvale, HyperOffice, Huddle, IBM Activities, Jive, Podio, and Traction TeamPage

Lepofsky does not argue that one platform is better than another. Instead, he focuses on explaining their tradeoffs. According to Lepofsky, standalone products tend to have rich feature sets and functionality, along with frequent updates. Compared to the pace of improvement on larger social business platforms, like IBM Activities, may be slower because it’s part of a larger platform.

Selecting the right one of these new social task management products for your specific needs can be a tough call. However, the investment in these products is worth it. For example, with traditional project management tools only those assigned tasks on a project are incorporated into the software. However, as Lepofsky points out, with social task management tools “You might have a dozen people assigned tasks, but then other people put into that workspace just to monitor.” A good example of this would be sales using the tool to monitor the progress of an engineering team’s work on developing a new product – and that’s what’s so cool with this kind of software.

Now is the time to start investigating social task management tools. They bring a lot to the table in an exciting and rapidly growing market.

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