Last September Australian-based Elcom released v7.5 of its elcomCMS. At the time it was already looking forward to v8. Well v8 has finally landed and it focuses this time on social content management for website, intranets, extranets and mobile sites, offering enterprises the ability to use social media in secure controlled environments.

It's a focus we have come across many times over the past 12 months with a number of web content management vendors. At the Advanced Intranet and Portal Conference in Amsterdam a couple of months ago, for example, we saw that everyone wants to go social in the enterprise, but not everyone is happy that security has been taken care of.

Social Content Management

That Elcom should be looking at this is no surprise. The Intranet Portal conference also discussed the fact that enterprise workers were going to use social tools no matter what and where, and the emphasis for enterprises now is to ensure that where social tools are being used, there is not threat to the security of enterprise data or content.

And that appears to be one of the many points that Elcom is pushing this time around. ElcomCMS is a modular .NET CMS and is targeted at mid-market and enterprise-sized businesses that are looking for technologies that will drive their Web, intranet, portal and social strategies, and make them mobile as well.

It is also setting itself up as a competitor to the likes of Yammer, even if Yammer is now really Microsoft and just waiting around to get ‘Microsoftized’ -- and you just know that is exactly what is going to happen to Yammer.

elcom8 team social groups.jpg
Social Groups

So if you’re looking for an alternative, Anthony Milner, Elcom’s product manager is pushing elcomCMS 8 as an answer to your prayers -- or enterprise needs at least.

ElcomCMS 8 is a major release and is literally bursting with great new features. It has a strong focus on social collaboration, calendaring and team workspaces, so if you’re evaluating Yammer or other similar solutions, we suggest that you down your tools and take a look at what we’ve delivered…”

Elcom CMS 8

So what has it got? Well, simply put, it’s got a lot, but Elcom has divided enhancements to the new version into three key areas:

  1. Enhanced user interface
  2. New and enhanced features
  3. Social intranet capabilities

Enhanced User Interface

Elcom says that it has given the Web CMS interface a … well a facelift that aims to enhance usability and performance. It has done this through enhancements to:

  • Admin User Interface: The admin toolbar is updated to improve consistency between the front-end and the back-end. In addition to this a new UI has been built for the admin page that offers a view of all the tools available to the administrator. The overall result is quick access and easy use.
  • Front-end publisher tool-bar: A front-end publisher tool bar is now available for organizations that don’t want to provide publishers with full administrator access, thus giving authors all the tools they need but also keep the system secure.

New and Enhanced features

There are a number of new features and functions in this version, as well as enhanced existing functionality to improve ease of use. Among those are:

  • In-line editing: A new feature introduced in elcomCMS 8. It gives users the ability to update and even create content very quickly on the fly. This can be done through a simple WYSIWYG editing done with simple point and click functionality.
  • Real-Time search: This version also offers real-time search, which for enterprises with huge bodies of content, is a really useful function. For an enterprise website or intranet, when a user starts typing in the search field, results are automatically returned as they type. As the user continues to type, the results update in real-time. A ‘more results’ link offers the user the ability to view all search results on a page.

It has also added new functionality to a whole pile of modules like code insertion, content tags, core publishing, document management and images management.

Social Intranet

However Elcom is describing as the signature piece of elcomCMS 8 and it is particularly important for those looking to develop a corporate social strategy, offering organizations the ability to create purpose-built environments for their enterprise.

Team workspace

ElcomCMS already has a pile of social features like blogs, wikis, forums and profile pages, but in this release there's more:

  • Social Groups: Users can create groups and invite their connections to join the group. This enables collaboration targeted around conversations around topic, projects or ideas.
  • Calendar: Calendars can be added to any article on their site. Visibility can be set so only certain people can see it.
  • Team Workspace: Users with the right permissions can create a Team Workspace for project specific communication and content. Users can add document lists, calendar, news stream, RSS feeds or any elcomCMS module to build a specific collaborative environment.
  • Document Upload: Document Upload is a new article element that provides end users with simple front end document upload capability. This means users can upload without learning the back end.

There are only some of the major features in elcomCMS 8, but there are literally dozens more. If you want to get a better look at it, you can organize a demo here.