Central Desktop just announced, via email from their CEO, that they have just been included in the latest Forrester Wave review of Collaboration Platforms (The Forrester Wave™: Collaboration Platforms, Q3 2009).
The email was largely upbeat, as Issac Garcia, CEO of Central Desktop, touched on the highlights of the report and some of validation that comes form being listed and compared to more traditional market leaders like IBM and Microsoft. Specifically, he said that:
As was noted in the report, “Central Desktop is the only pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering with a focus on small and medium businesses, as well as enterprise departments.”
Which is right on. From the small – midsize business standpoint, Central Desktop is no doubt one of the best collaboration solutions out there (read my detailed Central Desktop review here). What surprised me about the report, and what Issac couldn’t or didn’t say, is that some of the methodology used to evaluate those vendors was a bit unfair in my opinion, and didn’t quite do Central Desktop justice.
Was Central Desktop’s score, 2.82 out of 5, a fair score and an accurate representation of their product offering? I think it depends on metric. Like any third party score or report, its never going to be one size fits all. Ben, from the blog Cloud Ave, smartly notes in his article this exact point, when discussing the 3 out of 5 score for “Cross-platform support”:
One could be excused for expecting that Central Desktop, being a web based application, would score the highest marks in this area – unfortunately they didn’t, because their application cannot be installed on a plethora of systems…
Which is a great point. How on earth could a SaaS Web-based application score LOWER than Microsoft’s Sharepoint Service which must be installed on a Windows Server by experienced IT folk in order to operate correctly, when Central Desktop works via most any web browser on the market? That is pretty nuts, considering Central Desktop will work on any Mac or PC with an internet connection (it works on IE 7+, Firefox 2+, Safari 3+, and Google Chrome 1+).
Another interesting point from the report concerns Central Desktop’s Enterprise features. I think the Enterprise ability of Central Desktop is not getting the full respect it deserves. The same great features and collaboration tools Central Desktop offers to small businesses definitely apply to department, division, or enterprise needs as well. In my opinion, the two main drawbacks to wider enterprise adoption of Central Desktop are:
1) Lack of brand-name recognition. Without the cache of Microsoft or IBM, its hard to larger enterprises to choose to adopt the less known. As my friend in IT always likes to say, “Nobody ever gets fired for choosing IBM”.
2) SaaS Only: No version that IT folks can install themselves. In several organizations I previously worked with, this would be an automatic deal breaker.
Central Desktop is clearly making strides on point #1 with inclusion in the Forrester report. As for enterprise reluctance to adopt SaaS offerings, this one may take more time until companies actually realize just how much it costs to host their own applications, and if the extra price is worth it for them in the long run. I tend to see a stronger case for Software as a Service apps only getting stronger in the future.
Cental Desktop is offering the Forrester Report for FREE download, if you want to get into the details, get your copy there.