Emergent Collaboration Vendor Review: Telligent |

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Emergent Collaboration Vendor Review: Telligent


Posted by on March 2, 2012

UPDATED 4/20/12

Every Friday, I’ll be reviewing a vendor in the emergent collaboration space and will provide an overview on that vendor which includes aspects from leadership and vision to technology and market focus. If you are vendor and would like to participate, please contact me (my email address is in the sidebar as is my Twitter link). The goal of these posts is not to bash or praise vendors but to simply offer an objective view on what various vendors offer so that YOU can decide if they are a good fit for your business. Every post will cover the same elements for each vendors. If you have ideas or recommendations for other items to be covered in these reviews, please let me know and I will consider them. Other collaboration vendor reviews can be found here.

This week I’m taking at look at Telligent which has been in business for around 8 years and is headquartered in Dallas Texas with offices in Seattle, Chicago, Paris, and Australia.  Telligent has taken one round of funding thus far and has had profitable quarter.  I spoke with Wendy Gibson the CMO and Rob Howard, the CTO and co-founder.  Telligent describes themselves as “social community software for the enterprise.”

Integration capabilities

Telligent believes in the “Social Layer”, that social isn’t just another bolted on application or silo that you create in the organization; social layers across an organization’s entire IT investments.  Telligent can integrate with a host of other applications and solutions such as: Microsoft SharePoint, Lync, FAST, CRM integration (Salesforce), CMS integration (Sitecore, SharePoint), InnovationCast (idea management), among others.

Support

Telligent offers three types of support: standard, premier, and developer.  Standard support includes live phone an email chat with support engineers, 24/7 access to the developer community and business and technical resource portal, and direct access to your own personal relationship manager.  Premier support includes everything from standard plus 24/7 live email and phone support and weekly summary meetings with the relationship manager.  Developer support includes everything from standard plus live phone and email support for custom developed modules.  As far as pricing for support goes, this is something Telligent didn’t want to disclose at this time.

Pricing

While Telligent didn’t share their exact pricing with me they did say that they serve the small to very large size enterprises.   Their pricing is based per use case (internal vs. external) and deployment method (on-premise vs. SaaS) and the fees vary –  small companies around a couple of thousand per month to large Employee Networking deals (based on # of users) which get into the hundreds of thousands.

Maintenance & Upgrades

System updates and security patches are implemented on a monthly cycle with critical system patches and updates reviewed out of cycle and applied as soon as possible. Telligent software updates are applied during a coordinated maintenance window.  The multi-tenant solution (a capability added after the acquisition of Leverage Software) means that customers can now automatically receive updates instead of waiting to upgrade their communities, which is just another way to make it easier for them to deploy and maintain Telligent.

Overall direction and strategic vision for the company and industry

Telligent made a series of announcements recently such as the acquisition of Leverage Software and the recent partnership with InnovationCast for ideation.  They are spending a lot of time in the software as a service delivery model.  Customers still want to have a choice of on-premise or cloud based solutions.  Analytics is another core area where Telligent is going to focus on.  The third area of focus is going to be around the continued investment in the platform and pulling in and integrating the social layer everywhere.

Telligent believes we are in the beginning stages of a lot of enterprise systems today.  With the shift in how enterprises use technology there will be an increasing demand for companies to become more open.  The fact that SharePoint has some social tools is not going to be good enough.  Organizations need to be more even open and more even more social and accessible.  Telligent also believes that social will be the glue that ties various enterprise systems together.  Some companies have looked at what is happening today as a revolution but Telligent seeks this as an evolution of business.  Social is becoming a fundamental part of strategy for organizations and the future is going rely heavily on analytics and understanding and predicting behavior.  We are heading to information evolution akin to what Amazon.com did for products but this will be for information.

Key differentiating factors from competition

  • Customer service/experience
  • Social layer not portal 2.0 or a destination
  • Social group hierarchy, allows you to model and build your community against of hierarchy of how you want your information to flow
  • Social platform, base of capabilities that enables the social layer, set of services and apis you can build on top of. (Telligent provides a social community platform, versus a set of standalone or disparate social media applications. This is key for ease of use, easy community management, integration abilities, scalability issues, the ability to create new applications and more.)
  • Innovation around the product and integrations
  • Social community expertise

Customization

With support for CSS targeting, you can create both site-wide and page-specific styling by adding custom CSS rules through the theme’s configuration page in the Control Panel. Telligent’s Widget Studio also allows for a fully customized user experience without any need for custom development by enabling the management and authorship of any widgets directly within the Control Panel using a version of the Velocity templating language. Telligent also maintains a Marketplace for new widgets developed by our customers, partners and independent developers, further enabling platform extensions.

Time to go live

This varies based on the community, but Telligent has seen communities come up very quickly with their quickstart Community-as-a-Service offering.  Other communities take longer to launch (a few weeks), depending on the scope of project and strategy.

Overall technology

  • Built 100% on the Microsoft stack
  • Integrates with any open application. Telligent has a strong heritage with Microsoft that extends back to our founding in 2004, but we also recognize that our customers have diverse technology investments. To satisfy a broad set of integration needs, Telligent provides extensibility of the platform via our platform APIs.
  • Scales globally to expand the reach of businesses. Large global brands such as Dell and Microsoft trust Telligent to deliver engaging community experiences to millions of users worldwide.

Industry/vertical focus

Telligent powers social communities for more than 3,000 companies worldwide and boasts clients such as Dell, Microsoft, Cadbury and Reader’s Digest.  A broad range of organizations build their online communities with Telligent, including technology, consumer goods, government, non-profits, associations, and more.  Telligent is tracking 26 industries in their customer database.  At least 60 percent of these verticals have more than 10 customers per vertical.

Capabilities (customer, partner, employee collaboration)

Employee, partner, community

My take

I’ll throw out the disclaimer here and say that I didn’t get the full demo from Telligent which I had hoped to see (so that I can view a life walk-through of the platform) which makes it a bit hard for me to write a detailed review about it.  But from what I was did see (screenshots) and was told, Telligent offers everything you would expect to see from an enterprise class vendor.  I also don’t have details on pricing which makes it a bit hard to compare with other vendors.

I received the live demo of the product and was very impressed with the UI and design of the platform.  It’s very intuitive, clean, and sleek.  It’s actually one of the better products out there I’ve seen from a design/UI perspective and definitely has a modern feel to it which I’m sure many customers appreciate.  I had some time to browse through their “Marketplace” as well which has some interesting add-ons.  The “Marketplace” itself is not yet as robust as some of the others out there but I think they will be building this out (or at least I hope they will!)

Telligent appears to offer the full suite of collaboration features for companies that are looking to work with their employees, customers, or partners.  With their recent acquisition of Leverage Software and their relationship with InnovationCast their platform has become quite powerful and robust.

Telligent did mention something which I found interesting (but not the first time I heard this from a vendor) and that was they are going to be really focusing on analytics and understanding behavior. This is going to lead to the next evolution of collaboration vendors which I call “smart platforms.”  I like that Telligent has had some profitable quarters already which again is not something we typically see from some of the larger vendors in the space.

Is Telligent a vendor you should take a look at?  Probably.  Yes.  I suspect their pricing isn’t going to be that far off from what you would expect to pay for a competing vendor so it’s certainly worth your time to look at.

You can find out more by visiting Telligent.com

Screenshots

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  • Kate

    Did they give you any ball park on pricing ranges. When a vendor is as reluctant as this one to let you know the price tag I am guessing it is quite high

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com/ jacobmorgan

      Sadly they didn’t but I agree with you. Many vendors are skeptical to give out prices because they have a lot of flexibility in changing around those numbers and they don’t want to commit to something beforehand.


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