By the end of this year, companies will have spent 15 percent more on enterprise social software than in 2009, a growth rate expected to carry over into next year, according to Gartner.
Worldwide spending will reach $664.4 million this year and increase almost 16 percent next year to $769.2 million, Gartner said Thursday.
Enterprise social software for the workplace use the Web 2.0 collaboration applications first popularized among consumers. These applications include blogs, wikis, Twitter-like microblogging, Facebook-like social networking, content tagging and rating, discussion forums and syndicated content feeds.
To make them suitable for business use, enterprise social software vendors typically add IT management, security and control features, as well as capabilities for integration with other workplace tools.
A growing number of companies are finding that these applications complement and extend conventional collaboration and communication platforms focused on e-mail, custom tools and intranets by providing new, flexible and informal ways for employees to interact and share information.
The most popular delivery model for this software is as cloud-hosted software-as-a-service, according to Gartner.
The market includes offerings from traditional collaboration vendors like Microsoft, IBM and Novell, as well as from specialists in this niche, such as Socialtext and Jive Software.