I spoke to my friends and contacts in the industry and they confirmed what I had suspected for a while now. Customers are not happy with social software provided by talent management vendors. Such software is not widely used even when companies buy them. This is not surprising. Why would anyone use a standalone social software provided by a talent management vendor, if it is not provided in the context of talent management processes and scenarios. My suggestion to talent management vendors is to stop competing in the areas of standalone social software and focus on putting collaboration at the core of your products. If you are the product manager in a talent management software provider, ask yourself this question. Do you want to make talent management processes social or do you want to build something that competes with SharePoint, Jive, IBM Connections and potentially Salesforce Chatter.
The answer is simple. You job is to put collaboration at the core of your products. Do not get deceived by the revenue projections of your smart Excel formulas. Collaboration tools are worthless when they are not provided in context. You are competing in the talent management software market. Make your talent management software social.