Socialtext offers enterprises 30 day trial

But is it enough to make a meaningful test?

Socialtext is giving your company 30 days to try its product with no restrictions. You can include as many users as you want, you can access the APIs and the mobile apps, and you can buy it or not as you see fit after the trial period. It's not exactly the freemium model used by some other Enterprise 2.0 vendors, but it's a way to test the waters without committing to the product.

A 30 day trial should give you a chance to set up Socialtext in a sandbox kind of setting and figure out how it works, but the timeframe is going to be fairly limiting for many customers who may need more time to understand how to make a social software system work optimally for the organization. Unlike some software packages, it's not just a matter of installing it and understanding how it works; the social aspect of it presents unique challenges.

You need time to build a community and to find ways to get people to use it. If we've learned anything about enterprise social software, it's that just because you build it doesn't mean they'll come. You have to prepare the community and find ways to lure them to use it. 30 days may buy you time to set it up, but it's not a lot of time to see how people are adjusting to it, or even how well it integrates with other systems across the enterprise.

And another key element of social software is finding ways to integrate it into the workflow so that it becomes part of what you're doing, rather than a separate application users open to be "social." Again, 30 days is not a lot to work out these kinds of issues.

In 2009, Socialtext announced a 50 user free trial of the product, but a spokesperson said they abandoned that program last year. It was much more limited than the 30 day trial in that you could only have 50 users with a single blog or wiki, as well as access to other Socialtext enterprise social features, but there was no time limit. This one gives you full functionality, with no user limit, but just for 30 days.

But if you're looking to try it without committing, it gives you the opportunity to give it a whirl.

For more information:
- see the Socialtext press release

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