Socialtext was one of the early enterprise 2.0 providers, well before the term was coined. They began with a wiki base and have added capability over time to build a comprehensive platform. Over a year ago they added SocialText Signals, one of the first enterprise micro-messaging functions to be included in an integrated platform.
I recently spoke with CEO Ross Mayfield on their current developments. He said that they recognized the value of micro-messaging early on and moved to include it within Socialtext through Socialtext Signals. Ross said this move also opened a new way for them to offer implementations to enterprise clients.
The Socialtext Signals was unbundled and offered as a standalone option, low cost option under the name Socialtext Microblogging Appliance. This way companies could try enterprise 2.0 capabilities in a relatively low risk manner. Here is the pricing. The more comprehensive capabilities within the complete Socialtext platform work best when aligned with business processes but it takes time to set up this type of implementation. Socialtext Signals can operate as a separate communication utility that most IT departments are quite comfortable implementing. Then people can begin to see the value of enterprise 2.0 capabilities and this sets the stage for the more robust capabilities within the complete Socialtext platform. All of this makes good sense to me.
Here is a sample screen from the Socialtext Desktop where you can see the Signals flow and tabs for the other capabilities: activity, people, and workspace.
Socialtext Signals allows you to start broad and shallow. People can establish a pattern of sharing their status and links to useful content. They can ask questions and get answers and see the benefits of this type of connectivity. Socialtext Signals offers both a Twitter-like status update and an auto-generated activity stream. It is fully integrated with the complete Socialtext platform. You can filter activities by people or the type of event. Events within other systems such as CRM tools can be included in the activity stream through the Socialtext REST API. This is an excellent feature as it can avoid the information silos that can develop with independent enterprise 2.0 tools.
Socialtext produces a new release of its SaaS platform every two weeks to stay current. Ross said that micro-messaging is just one of the latest of the new capabilities it has added. He is sure there will be more as enterprise 2.0 continues to evolve.
To provide greater access to its tool set, Socialtext recently created a web-based interface optimized for mobile phones that compliments the Socialtext Desktop. Socialtext Mobile runs on iPhone, Blackberry and Android mobile Smartphone devices and is free for up to 50 people. Being able to access and edit documents and monitor activity streams from anywhere is essential to enterprises, as the growing use of social networking and social media tools continues to increase. Below you can see the Socialtext Signals and Activity screens on an iPhone. This is another smart move.
Ross said Socialtext first went mobile in 2006 with Miki, the mobile wiki. They learned from this experience and discovered new use cases such as field service. Based on this earlier experience, they did not develop a rich mobile client at first, as they wanted to support all platforms to better enable enterprise adoption. This also reduces the support burden. Here is a brief video on Socialtext Mobile.