Last year social computing vendor Mzinga (news, site) picked up a total of US 10 million in investment funding to take its social software solution to greater enterprise levels. Today we see just what it spent some of that money on as the company releases the latest version of its flagship solution: OmniSocial.
Taking Its Place Among Social Software
The numbers are impressive: 300+ clients across 160 countries (localized in 20 languages) consisting of 40 million users in 15,000 communities. Mzinga is all about building programs and initiatives that drive real business value. And the client list is nothing to shirk, although we've seen some of the names among the client lists of other social software vendors.
Mzinga's OmniSocial solution is a complete end-to-end SaaS-based social software solution. It can be used both internally and externally (although according to Dan Bruns, SVP Advanced Technology for Mzinga, they don't really see a difference between the two).
Looking at a high level, there are over 30 apps available within OmniSocial and 40+ widgets. The solution can be hosted as a standalone solution or integrated into an existing web presence in a few different ways:
- Host an entire page, completely branded to the existing website with seamless movement between the Mzinga hosted web pages and the website's web pages.
- Have Mzinga apps appear in context on a web page (via deployable widgets)
- Deeper integration via Mzinga's APIs -- note these are not open APIs, but they are built on open standards such as XML, JSON and XMPP.
Of course you can mix and match the integration options.
Also still included and expanded across more Mzinga apps is Kaltura video integration, something Mzinga announced last October.
The New OmniSocial
There are a number of significant improvements in this latest version of OmniSocial:
- Hosting Options: OmniSocial is now available in both a public and private cloud configuration.
- Mobile Support: A native app for both the iPhone and Blackberry that has configurable branding and includes blog, discussion, community and search capabilities.
- Facebook Support: The ability to export content created in OmniSocial out to your Facebook profile.
- SharePoint Integration: Seamless integration with SharePoint exposes OmniSocial content within the SharePoint environment and enables you to go to OmniSocial without having to re-authenticate.
- Analytics: The first step in social analytics includes a dashboard and reports that provide intel on most influential and engaged members (roles, members, content, behaviors). Additional analytics capability is expected to follow soon which will include benchmarking communities to other communities and integrated social web monitoring.
Mzinga Analytics & Dashboards
Pretty much all of the capabilities listed above are standard with social software these days, so Mzinga is to some degree catching up to the pack.
What stood out when viewing a demonstration of the new version of OmniSocial was the revamped Control Panel for Administration.
Revamped Control Panel
The new Control Panel is very clean and offers a wide range of functionality to support complete self-service of a Mzinga site, regardless of whether the functionality is standalone or integrated.
Mzinga OmniSocial Control Panel
Sites and Zones
OmniSocial apps are made up of Sites and Zones. A site is a top level application, a zone is like a subsite (if you have every been to About.com -- a Mzinga customer -- then you will understand this terminology). Administration can be at the site level or the zone level. In some cases, administration can even be delegated down to the individual author/owner level (i.e. configuration options for a blog).
This functionality is perfect for companies that have strict branding guidelines and want a seamless experience with their web presence.
For those who want to embed a Mzinga app into an existing website, you can select from a number of out of the box options or create your own custom widgets through a point and click activity -- code will be generated for you which you then add to your website.
There's also a comprehensive set of moderation capabilities. This includes enabling users to police the content themselves (i.e. report this content).
To support moderation, Mzinga offers a Moderation Services team. Used by larger enterprises who aren't able to keep up with the activity on their sites, Mzinga offers subject matter experts and first level policing of content. Currently about 10% of Mzinga customers use these services.
Moderation Services is just one of the strategic consulting services that Mzinga provides their clients. They offer a number of services that start with alignment and assessments and go all the way to Social Media workshops.
Checking Out the Competition
Mzinga OmniSocial is a nice social software solution. Out of the box it provides all the basics needed to compete with most of the social software vendors. Where it lacks is in the open standards for third party integration (i.e OpenSocial), but Bruns says that this is something they are looking at, so we should expect third party APIs sometime in the near future.
Offering both internal and external solutions, especially the integrated capabilities is not something many other social software vendors offer in as much depth, so this really makes Mzinga stand out.
The level of configurable branding also stands out, as it should to support the integration with other websites.
Currently, Mzinga has about half of its customers using OmniSocial for Internal communities in a standalone model. They expect this to slowly start to change now that SharePoint integration is available. For their external customers most are using one or more integrated models.
In terms of competition, Bruns told us that for external implementations, they often see Pluck, and for internal applications Jive Software is the most direct competitor.
Based on the capabilities shown with this latest version of OmniSocial, we also see Reality Digital as a comparable vendor. They also offer standalone and integrated capabilities with a strong focus on external implementations. They aren't a large vendor, but definitely in the mix.
Definitely another option to add to the mix, Mzinga OmniSocial is available now.