Today MindTouch (news, site) releases the biggest product update to its collaboration platform in its history. The focus? Ensuring your content is strategic through the use of authoring tools, discovery and curation analytics.
Collaboration in Context
Although MindTouch is a collaboration platform, you don't typically place it in within the same space as solutions from Jive Software, SocialText or Telligent. One of the primary reasons for this is that MindTouch is very focused on collaboration integrated with enterprise applications, or as Aaron Fulkerson, Founder and CEO of MindTouch defined it:
Collaborative Networks are focused on groups accessing and organizing data into actionable formats that enable decision making, collaboration and reuse.
In a blog post on the Enterprise 2.0 conference website, Irwin Lazar talks about the "evolution of collaboration beyond stand-alone platforms and into the very fabric of the organization" or "collaboration in context". Specifically Lazar believes:
What we’re seeing is a maturation of the social computing landscape. It’s no longer about “which cool new tool can I deploy” but how can I leverage these tools to improve the overall ability of those within and outside my organization to communicate and collaborate.
If you look back at the capabilities of MindTouch over the past few years, what you see is that this is exactly what the platform does. It provides collaboration in the context of solving specific business needs, and it provides a base platform that enables developers to bring together the tools and enterprise applications required for their solutions.
MindTouch 2010, available today, is a continued extension of collaboration in context, pulling together the resources required to create and deliver strategic content that help organizations make money, keep customers happy.
We had an opportunity to speak with Fulkerson about the newest release of the MindTouch platform. He talked about the various solution frameworks they had built on the platform --- the top use case being the collaborative Intranet.
But there was another popular use case for MindTouch -- technical documentation. Fulkerson admitted that he originally dismissed this use case. After all, it's technical documentation, a little on the dry side unless you spend your day as a tech writer. He was convinced to look closer at the data and what he saw changed his mind.
According to the MindTouch research, technical documentation was being used to increase SEO and drive new prospects into the sales pipeline. MindTouch, the company determined, was uniquely suited for this space, miles ahead of where authoring tools like Framemaker and RoboHelp were.
MindTouch 2010 is the most packaged product ever released by the collaboration platform vendor. The packaging of features for this use case came as the result of focus groups with customers and non-customers, MindTouch and 3rd party surveys. The result? "...to take product and service documentation and transform it into a contributor to revenue generation, as well as cost-reduction".
Here are the primary features of MindTouch 2010:
MindTouch 2010 has always offered a pretty solid technical authoring environment, which is why technical writers like it. It is an XML driven platform that is web-based and standards compliant. Also, we written before on MindTouch's ability to use familiar desktop authoring tools, like MS Office, and easily publish that content into MindTouch.
MindTouch includes an integrated Intelligent Documentation Framework which includes a number of templates or page types that will support content discovery.
Intelligent Document Framework
Discovery is about the publishing process, which includes both navigation and search. Once you create your documentation you can easily publish it for the appropriate users.
New capabilities have been added including:
- The ability dynamically generate navigation from content semantics
- SEO tools
- Adaptive Search engine that will tailor results based on user patterns and administrator settings
Fulkerson sees Curation Analytics as a completely new type of analytics. Included are a number of reports that analyze your documentation by attributes like aging, customer behavior (search patterns) and quality (based on user ratings). Using these reports you can manage the accuracy and improve the quality of the content you deliver.
Rating Report: Discover lowly-rated pages which need attention, or export all pages in this report as a CSV file
The Platform Still Remains
MindTouch 2009 is a developers platform, providing a number of features that enable developers to create collaborative solution that involve any number of enterprise applications or web services. MindTouch is still a developers platform (called MindTouch v10) and you can download it today.
You will not find everything in it that you will find in MindTouch 2010, the packaged solution -- Curation Analytics are only available in MindTouch 2010.
What MindTouch 2010 is, is a perfect example of how to leverage the MindTouch platform for a specific business purpose. But even more important, it is a perfect example of a collaborative application that works for a specific business purpose (collaboration in context).
For some, the platform need is required and will be used to develop other business context-based collaborative applications. This is the type of capability we are seeing with other social computing vendors who are coming out with APIs for their customers to use.
But for many, specific products, all ready to implement, are needed to get things up and running quickly. And this is where MindTouch is moving ahead of the pack, listening to their customer needs, and providing the right business solutions.