Archive for June, 2011
by Bill Ives
I covered Traction Software a number of times on this blog (for example, Traction Team Page 5.1 Moves Forward with Project Management Capabilities and Traction Introduces New Capabilities and Partners with Team Page 4.2). At E2.0 Boston 2011 Traction announced two major new capabilities. TeamPage Attivio Plus extends permission-aware search and faceted navigation to external Sharepoint, Documentum, File server, Exchange and other sources, fused with TeamPage content. Social Enterprise Web allows you to discover, discuss, tag, task and use external documents or database records discovered by search or selected with a TeamPage badge (a “Like” button for collaboration). This brings content of external “Systems of Record” into the TeamPage fabric for collaboration and action tracking.
TeamPage Attivio Plus uses Attivio’s AIE technology to provide unified information access spanning sources with deep content analysis. Internal TeamPage content and external source hits are shown as merged results in time or relevance order. Here is a sample of TeamPage Attivio Plus earch results.
You can also use TeamPage’s faceted navigation to drill down by selected source just as you currently can drill down by author, tag, key phrase, sentiment, etc. All external and internal search hits and faceted navigation are permission-aware, automatically showing just what each person has permission to see. External sources and access rules can be continuously and incrementally indexed, or updated on a specified schedule.
Social Enterprise Web is an integrated search and badging capability. With it TeamPage gains the capability to tag, discuss, task and share pages, documents and database records from external as well as internal sources. For example, a suggestion found in a customer email stored in Exchange, an issue with a new drug application filed in Documentum, or a comment on a legacy document stored in SharePoint, Lotus Notes, or the S: drive of a file server can be discovered, tagged, discussed, and tasked for follow-up action in TeamPage.
Here is an example of sharing a page (a weather report) from the Web on TeamPage.
Here is the shared item appearing on the Activity feed.
Using search as a lever to span silos and system of record makes their native content addressible and actionable in place without import or conversion. This is similar to the way search loosely couples content across many sources on the public Web, but focused on a business intranet. TeamPage adds: consistent authentication; permissioned-aware integrated search fusing TeamPage content and activity across external sources; indexing of siloed systems to share and use records that have no native Web interface; and indexing of tags, discussion and tasks in context to provide activity based navigation and search across all sources. For example, a content hit in a Word document stored in Documentum shows TeamPage tags, comments and tasks relating to that document
I also like what they are doing with Activity Streams as I think this is one of the most important features of an Enterprise 2.0 platform. Traction TeamPage 5.2 introduced new activity dashboards to make it simple to zoom into project activity streams to see related task status, edits, and discussion automatically drawn from the flow of collaborative work in any TeamPage space or context. TeamPage users also can zoom out to get a broad view spanning business activities using notification, faceted content navigation and search.
This directly addresses a problem that has generated a lot of recent discussion: How will people be able to cope with activity streams that contain lots of detail – important for broad awareness – without feeling overwhelmed and loosing valuable signals in the flow? Activity dashboards extend Traction TeamPage’s ability to tag or task any page, post, status or comment on any item seen or created in the flow of collaborative work and communication. TeamPage has always considered things at the detail level with their permission levels. This approach to handling Activity Stream information is consistent with their design principles and shows how collaboration and action tracking can be embeded in the flow of work while avoiding overload.
by Bill Ives
Adobe continues their major play into the enterprise application market building on their strong consumer market presence. I covered their moves before (see Adobe LiveCycle 2.5 Provides Enhanced Customer Experience Management). Recently, I spoke with Ben Watson to discuss their announcement of new Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform for Customer Experience Management (CEM). They had released a number of capabilities in this space. Now they have filled in additional Customer Experience Solutions to provide a comprehensive platform.
The new offering is a modular, open, standards-based platform for delivering engaging digital solutions across social, web, mobile, and print channels. It is cloud-based and provides a unified foundation to make, manage and deliver multi-channel digital experiences leveraging HTML5 and other Adobe products: AIR®, Flash® Player, and Reader®. They are relying on dynamic frontend integration rather than the more complex backend integration that has also need used in the past. See the diagram below for an overview. Ben walked me through the components and I will now share what I learned.
Web Experience Management provides a solution for creating, managing and publishing rich content across web, social, mobile, and email. With this release they have further enhanced integration to Adobe’s Online Marketing Suite enabling publishing offers to Test & Target and also provide the survey capabilities within the WEM authoring environment. There is also integration with Scene 7 to enable retail customers to get detailed products views. Here is a sample web content management screen with Scene 7.
Social Brand Engagement enables enterprises to engage with customers to create community, driving brand loyalty and commitment on enterprise-owned digital properties in addition to public social media sites.
Selection and Enrollment reduces online abandonment and time-to-market with effective product enrollment experiences and empowers business users to quickly setup and launch online enrollment experiences.
Unified Workspace empowers customer-facing agents to provide superior service by getting fast access to critical information, enabling them to resolve inquiries and cases with accuracy and efficiency. I have seen the difficulties that agents often face with this task. One British call center agent told me that the main skill they needed to learn was how to engage the caller with interesting chat while they searched through al the different databases for answers.
Customer Communications centralizes and help manage the creation, assembly and multi-channel delivery of secure, personalized, interactive correspondence and statements. The solution allows enterprises to generate new revenue sources, reduce costs, improve customer loyalty, and meet compliance regulations. In the new release they have redesigned the user interface and added such features as: spell check, table insertion, and dynamic lists. You can also publish and retire a template on a given date and then retrieve it. Below is an example of an interactive invoice. These interactive statements can work with multiple data sources.
Here is a sample screen for creating a customer communication.
Integrated Content Review provides a solution for the review and approval of digital assets. It speeds time-to-market for new marketing campaigns and customer experiences. It also improves workflow and processes required to create, review, store, and rapidly adapt digital content through different target segments across the entire customer journey. Below is a sample content review screen.
I am impressed with the comprehensive nature of this platform. They have made some great moves here. The Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform, Integrated Content Review solution, Web Experience Management solution, and Customer Communications solution will be available August 2011. The Social Brand Engagement solution, Selection and Enrollment solution, and Unified Workspace solution are available immediately in Beta and will be generally available in Fall 2011.
by Bill Ives
NewsGator recently launched Social Sites 2010 2.0, the next version of their flagship enterprise social computing software. Among other things, the new release includes enhanced community capabilities, architectures, and reporting functionality. NewsGator has also announced a new video module for Social Sites that supports enterprise learning initiatives and multimedia sharing. I have covered NewsGator on several occasions before (see NewsGator Gets More Mobile and Ramps Up Activity Streams and Analytics and NewsGator Offers Social Sites ™: A Comprehensive Enterprise Social Networking Suite). I recently spoke with Brian Kellner about their new offerings.
NewsGator is built to sit on top of SharePoint as a managed service application and does not operate independent of it. This still leaves them a majority of the market. They make SharePoint more social which is a very useful task. Brian showed me a useful architectural diagram as he explained the various components of the offering. I am providing it below and then I will walk through the different sections.
At the top are additional modules that can be added on to the core functions. Several of these additional (‘value added” in their terms) capabilities are new. I will start with the core features and then discuss the value added capabilities.
In my view the Activity Stream is one of the major components of an enterprise 2.0 platform so I am staring here. In NewsGator’s case it collects a continuous flow of events, content, and activities to provide users with relevant and timely information. You can filter all of these events including those from SharePoint, external social media streams (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn), and other internal and third-party applications. The Activity Stream can be embedded in multiple places, which is a key feature from my perspective. Here is a sample Activity Stream.
Microblogging is one of the feeds into the Activity Stream. It provides embeddable threaded discussions that allow for various interactions including ability to comment, answer, share, rate, vote, and mark for follow-up. Other features include: IM, and other third-party integrations, auto-updates based on user actions, two-way email integration, and notifications and digests.
You could also make the case that Profiles are the core feature as they provide a center of focus. NewsGator profile feature jump-starts adoption, participation, contributions, and collaboration with a simple profile-building coach to help your workforce create and maintain individual social profiles — their face to the organization. This is a good move.
Communities establish and cultivate a collaborative setting for your internal and external stakeholders. You can turn SharePoint groups into Social Sites communities of practice for projects and initiatives, or create places for colleagues to connect about common interests and best practices. Templates are available to kick-start your community planning. Converting to any of the NewsGator function from out of the box features is simple as they are Web parts and the change can be made with a mouse click.
Social Insights allow you to measure and track activity by community, type, and user. Easy-to-consume dashboards and monthly activity reports allow you to evaluate user adoption and participation levels. The transparency of an enterprise platform allows for increased metrics so this is a very useful function. The desktop client allows you to participate in the Social Sites environment without being inside the platform.
Brian also went over the new features at the top of the architectural stack. The Video Stream is a new feature that enables employees to quickly post and play videos in their Activity Streams for on-the-fly training, product demos, new concept explanations, customer stories, and other uses. You can see the interface for Video Stream below.
NewsGator just announced Spotlight – a badging, recognition, and expertise discovery module that is driven by measurable participation that allows users to be recognized as subject-matter experts and earn merit-based, electronic badges, while letting organizations quickly locate, recognize and motivate top performers. Here is a sample set of badges, as well as a sample expertise diagram that shows the relationship of people to a topic. The closer you are to the topic core, the more involved you are with the topic.
The Idea Steam provides many of the capabilities for innovation management than a number of standalone tools offer but it is integrated within the total Social Sites platform. You use it to gather, evaluate, nurture, and prioritize fresh, new ideas that can transform your organization. The Idea Stream capability supports the capture of input, feedback, and conversations from your customers, partners, and employees. Ideas can be submitted on the fly via the activity stream or via the Social Sites desktop, email, or mobile clients. The tool can be applied to a specific campaign or attached to a community on an ongoing basis.
NewsGator continues to enable RSS feeds through the News Stream module. This was its original capability and I was a user in 2004 (see my 2004 post - Finally, I’m Scanning the Web through NewsGator). It allows you to streamline and structure enterprise communications. Integrated, secure social media monitoring from news sites, blogs, wikis, external social streams (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and enterprise applications are delivered where your employees need them.
I really like the collection of capabilities and they certainly enhance SharePoint. NewsGator has maintained a strong positive relationship with Microsoft so they can anticipate and plan their support for next steps within SharePoint. Since the NewsGator capabilities are Web parts, it is easy to swap out the native SharePoint version of such tools as micro-blogging for the NewsGator version.
by Bill Ives
I recently spoke with Mike Gregory about OutStart’s Learning Content Management System (LCMS). As a disclosure I am helping OutStart with their blog and Twitter efforts. First, I asked Mike to explain the difference between an LMS and LCMS, as I have been familiar with LMS (Learning Management System) for some time. Mike said the similarity of terms can be confusing but there is a real distinction. He used the metaphor of a store for LMS. You can find learning content there and the LMS keeps track of usage. The LMS is the back office tool. A LCMS then is like a factory where content is assembled from component parts. This is different from the traditional artisan approach of hand building learning content one instance at a time. This agility in developing content greatly extends both the efficiency and effectiveness of content creation.
An LCMS provides for automating the development, management, maintenance, delivery and publishing of modular and personalized learning – including online, instructor guides, mobile, assessments and the ability to deliver training in different languages. This allows you to build content once and then easily repurpose it for multiple channels and branding. You create learning objects that can be put together in multiple ways. OutStart’s mobile platform, Hot Lava, is one of the many delivery channels that can be used (see OutStart’s Hot Lava Provides Flexible Mobile Communication Platform).
Utilizing an LCMS works much like object oriented programming to achieve great efficiencies in learning content creation and updating. This granularity also allows for better search capabilities, as well as better reuse. You create once and publish in many ways. You update an object and then the content can be automatically updated in the many instances in which it appears. You can build content for documentation then take the same content and add classroom activities and instructor notes for ILT. You can also take the same content and add simulation activities and quizzes for eLearning.
For all the efficiency gains, the real value is the increased learner focus that this agility permits. One of the main benefits of the modular approach is the ease in which personalized learning can be provided. You can customize learning content by role (e.g., sales vs. technical support) or give a test and them offer personalized content for each individual based on their results. Content can be provided in a variety of modalities and channels to meet individual needs.
To accomplish this learner focus, OutStart’s LCMS supports the entire content life cycle: development, management, maintenance, and delivery. First, you simply develop content once separately from the delivery vehicle so it becomes easy to use the content for different purposes, people, and devices. You can quickly assemble courses for modular material regardless of whether it was developed within the system or imported. The workflow and review processes are streamlined for rapid progress.
All content is tagged and stored in a central repository. This makes updating easy and eliminates the possibility of losing track of content. The ease of access facilitates changes when updates are required. The system also knows all places where a single bit of content is used and allows you to updates all these instances at once. Delivery is then device independent and flexible to support personalization.
The LCMS also works with OutStart’s social software platform, Participate (see OutStart’s Participate Supports the Social Side of Enterprise Work Processes). For example, while in Participate, you can do a search in Evolution to find modularized content for performance support purposes.
OutStart’s LCMS integrates with Microsoft office, enabling the ingestion of SME created or legacy content for reuse and repurposing. It also enables the assembly of a variety of native and external content, including Flash and other media, through a central repository. The LCMS can integrate with a variety of LMS’s, including the LMS that OutStart offers. Other core capabilities include configurable metadata management, review management, workflow, media management, search and re-use, enterprise class security, partitioning, data movement, and integrations. The OutStart LCMS is available as SaaS or On-Premise.
OutStart’s LCMS is well received in the industry and has won eLearning! Magazine’s Readership Award for ‘Best Learning Content Management System (LCMS)’ in each of the last two years, and Brandon Hall’s Gold Award for Technology Excellence,
by Bill Ives
The Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston this coming week is often a place for related new product announcements. That is certainly the case this year. Here is the list of companies making announcements leading up to or at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference that I received this week. I have also spoken to three of the firms this week, Adobe, NewsGator, and Traction, and more in-depth coverage of their new moves will follow on this blog. I am also scheduled to speak to a few others in the coming weeks.
Acquia is revealing the newest version of its “open alternative” social business software, giving enterprises the freedom to create communities matching their desired social style and design. Commons 2.0 offers the most complete and flexible enterprise-class solution for building communities at a lower cost than proprietary solutions.
Adobe will highlight its latest offering in the Customer Experience Management space, which simplifies the delivery of engaging customer experiences across all digital touch points. Also, Adobe’s Principal for Customer Experience, Ben Watson, will deliver a keynote session on “The Enterprise Experience in Context.”
Alfresco will be unveiling all new product innovations and hosting live product demos and discussions at the Enterprise 2.0 conference. Stop by the Alfresco booth to learn more and test your whiteboarding and team collaboration skills.
BroadVision Clearvale will showcase a brand new solution designed for customer engagement and support. BroadVision Clearvale allows companies to create their very own ecosystem of enterprise social networks for employees, customers and partners, and establish a more meaningful presence on the social web.
DoubleDutch is pleased to announce HYVE – a mobile enterprise application suite that uses social and geo-enabled technologies to improve worker productivity across every line of business. By enabling team-members and stakeholders to collaborate, connect and communicate through structured status updates, enterprises can share knowledge, maximize performance, and measure productivity.
Ephox will showcase the market’s leading rich text editors – EditLive! and Enterprise TinyMCE which give web content authors the optimum combination of features and compatibility. Licensed by many of the top web content management vendors, Ephox products maximize productivity while enhancing the quality of web content.
IGLOO Software, a SaaS-based community solution provider to the ATP World Tour, Thomson Reuters Aranzadi and Deloitte, will unveil their third major release of the calendar year. The latest innovation in IGLOO’s technology enables a business to embrace social on their terms, in a social intranet or extranet, with collaborative moderation.
Infosys Technologies will be showcasing its new generation iEngage Platform which includes social media marketing, eCommerce, employee engagement, customer care and many new offerings to cater to digital consumers. iEngage provides a comprehensive means of engaging across marketing, sales and service lifecycle and is delivered through the enterprise SaaS model.
Intridea, an enterprise application developer will announce the official launch of Socialspring, the social enterprise application suite designed for easier and more natural collaboration, communication and sharing. Available applications will include Socialspring Answers (knowledge sharing), Socialspring Links (link shortening, sharing and analytics) and Socialspring Stream (communication and collaboration).
Jive launched Jive 5, a comprehensive Social Business platform. With Jive 5, Jive is getting the right information to the right person at the right time with Jive What Matters; bringing innovation to the enterprise with the Jive Apps Market; and delivering a social experience to the Microsoft desktop.
MobileNationHQ was launched at DEMO Spring 2011and will be launching its Enterprise version at Enterprise 2.0. MobileNationHQ enables everyday people to build powerful mobile apps, and revolutionizes the way mobile content is published to iPhone and Android devices. Register at www.mobilenationhq.com and start building mobile apps in minutes.
Moxie Software announced mobile and rich media sharing capabilities to Employee Spaces™ which allows mobile users to connect, engage, share and collaborate anywhere and at anytime. At E2, Moxie Software will showcase its Spaces™ by Moxie Applications, the most comprehensive enterprise social software for customer and employee engagement.
Neudesic, focuses on business innovation, releases version 1.4 of Neudesic Pulse, enterprise social software, at booth #214. Watch live demos, learn about new features like Pulse ‘Bridge’ that connects businesses and customers, talk to experts, and get a Pulse t-shirt while supplies last! Follow @NeudesicPulse on Twitter.
NewsGator unveils “Spotlight” – a badging, recognition and expertise discovery module for Social Sites 2010, its social computing suite that runs on Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Driven by meaningful, measurable participation, users can shine as subject-matter experts and earn merit-based, electronic badges, while organizations can quickly locate, recognize and motivate top performers.
Persistent Systems (BSE & NSE: PERSISTENT), a global company specializing in software product technology innovation, will announce the launch of its Collaboration Consulting Offering. Persistent, already active in the Collaboration deployment, integration and lifecycle services space, has expanded to offering strategic technology consulting around areas such as Collaboration Strategy.
Real Story Group releases an updated Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Report. Key highlights: NewsGator Social Sites: backfilling SharePoint is neither simple nor cheap; Socialtext: more than a wiki, but less than a complete platform. Free report excerpt available here: http://www.realstorygroup.com/Sample/13.
Saba will showcase Saba Social Learning (SSL), a new Saba People Cloud offering that combines Saba’s LMS with sales 2.0 technologies, creating a blended learning experience within a collaborative environment. Designed to address the evolving workplace, SSL enables organizations to speed sales readiness, drive top-line growth, and reduce training costs.
Socialtext will be announcing a new feature, Socialtasks, which provides flexible project management functionality integrated with its enterprise social networking platform. In addition, the company will be unveiling a fun new event for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference Expo, AngryBeans.
Sococo, the social communications company, will demonstrate the latest Enterprise team features for Team Space™, its award-winning social communications service that helps distributed teams work more efficiently. Team Space creates a visual and spatial user interface that is always-on, providing a real-time environment that integrates existing web-based services, applications, and business processes.
ThePort announces the availability of its Social CRM platform, infusing collaboration tools into existing business systems, processes and websites improving communications among employees, customers and partners. Serving 2 million members, ThePort has existing integrations with major CRM providers allowing native enhancement with Chatter-like functionality, social listening, activity streams and communities.
Traction Software introduces new social enterprise search, tag, comment and badging capabilities to index and use external documents in Sharepoint, file systems, intranets, and the public Web. External documents, pages, and transactions become social objects seamlessly integrated with Traction TeamPage action tracking, search, collaboration and communication.
Vizit announces Social eXchange (SX) which leverages social tools to extend Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint workflows can initiate SX conversations enabling users to highlight content and invite co-workers to collaborate. Vizit SX tightly integrates with SharePoint content, security, and records management. SX workflows capture a conversation audit trail and ensure compliance.
Yammer will showcase its new Activity Streams feature, in-line video player and Praise application as well as share interesting customer use cases. The company will also announce an enhancement to its suite of integration products.
by Bill Ives
When Gartner named Qontext a cool vender in the context-aware computing space they wrote, “one of the holy grails in the collaboration market is the ability to embed collaboration services directly into business processes.” This allows you to “build the collaboration service directly into the business process and make historical collaboration content accessible from the application.” I could not agree more. I have long been a proponent of this approach going back to building process-aligned knowledge management systems beginning in the early 90s. Now Qontext has taken the approach a step further with its pinning concept. I recently spoke with Samir Ghosh, Qontext, VP, Business Development & Strategy, about their capabilities.
Enterprise 2.0 is about making interactions appropriately transparent and accessible. Qontext has added a new capability to promote this transparency and access. They call it “pinning.” It is somewhat like tagging but different. Instead of putting a tag on an activity, you pin the activity to a record. It is the opposite of categorizing email, for example, where the receiver puts the tag or category on the item. The pinning is done by the system as content is created to connect it to its context. Once an item is pinned, you can easily go back to the source and see all the accumulated context.
This is a great way to address the content overload issue. As more social content is created within the enterprise through the various tools, there will be a need to filter the fire hose. Qontext takes a different approach by allowing you to view contextually relevant information without having to determine manual filters.
Qontext can integrate or overlay any enterprise app, so this pinning can occur within the app, even across different apps and then viewed inside or outside the apps. Qontext can be integrated with such enterprise apps as salesforce.com, NetSuite, SugarCRM, LeadFormix, HRnet, LeanTaaS and Herald Logic. The integration can be done through a pop-up or directly through the app UI. Here is a sample screen of Qontext operating inside NetSuite.
Here you can see pinned items in a NetSuite application.
Organizations can also use the Qontext suite as a stand-alone collaboration portal. It has a full suite of collaboration features such as document management, threaded discussions, bookmarks, status updates, video and photo sharing, polls, quizzes, slide sharing, surveys, blogs and wikis that operate in the cloud or on-premises.
Qontext also has an activity stream that goes across applications. I think this is a core feature for enterprise 2.0 apps. Samir mentioned that Gartner predicts that by 2012 over half of organizations will be using activity streams. With their pinning concept, Qontext complements activity streams in an interesting manner. Activity streams can provide an awareness of what is happening in the enterprise and pinning can give you better access to the context of these events. Below is a Qontext activity stream within NetSuite.
Qontext provides a comprehensive collaboration suite. Their pinning concept appears to be an excellent innovation. It will be interesting to see how it gets adopted and how it evolves in both use and capabilities as this adoption occurs.