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After two months in beta SAP (news, site) has made their real-time business collaboration application StreamWork -- known as 12Sprints in beta -- generally available enabling up to 30 users to get together virtually to analyze data from across the enterprise and from different applications.

StreamWork gathers and analyzes information in the same environment, but unlike Google Wave where information is available for all to see, it only allows invited users to analyze and collaborate on that information.

Google Wave-like, But Not Google Wave

StreamWork is similar to Google Wave in that it is intended as an open cloud computing environment, but while Google Wave is very definitely a social application, StreamWork is a business application that focuses on specific business activities.

Described by SAP as a “virtual [business] war room”, StreamWorks seems to have hit the business target that Google Wave is still short in shooting. Only this week Wave launched three more gadgets called Pollo, Likey and Waffle that have customizable options to gather feedback from participants, but do little for business collaboration.

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StreamWork: Business activity page

In this respect StreamWork is better set to corner this market than Google Wave with tools that should get the attention of the business. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Agenda creation
  • Meeting planning
  • Creation of complete product files and portfolios
  • Pros v Cons application
  • SWOT matrix for competition analysis

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StreamWork:SWOT tool
 

On top of that it can also pull data from associated enterprise applications such as purchase order approval from enterprise resource planning applications or project analysis from business intelligence tools.

It’s Just Business!

The thinking behind it is that rather than try to capture information from individual business process applications and then try to pull the information together, it would be better to capture it using a single collaboration application that can access those other applications and pull all the data together into the same location.

And while StreamWorks captures the information that emerges from a business process, SAP says, it also captures all the base information that was used in the business processes in the first place, saves that information and makes it available for current and future business activities.

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StreamWork: Enabling business decision making
 

At the time of the beta launch, SAP said that they would be making it generally available -- which they have -- but that they would in a sense always be in beta with it as they intend to keep adding to it as the needs of users changed.

New Release, New Solutions

One of the differences with the beta is that as a result of its open architecture Box.net, Evernote and Scribd have already developed solutions that work out of StreamWork.

Box.net

New to the general release is integration with Box.net (news, site) which provides cloud-based document management and collaboration services. Integration means that any content stored in Box.net’s content management system can be accessed directly from StreamWork.

Data stored there can be brought directly into StreamWork business activities, while content that is created in those activities can be placed in Box folders for management and future uses.

Evernote

Evernote is a capture tool that takes data, automatically processes it, indexes it and makes it searchable.

By integrating with StreamWork users will be able to take notes, record audio memos and clip a web page in Evernote (news, site) and then view all of their notes within the StreamWork interface by clicking through to their Evernote account.

Scribd.com

Scribd (news, site) provides a document reader directly from StreamWork that enables users to open and read documents in different formats like Word and Excel.

In all, you might say, a very useful application that will fill the gaps that Google Wave left when it launched and one that could be set to take the enterprise market.

That is, of course, if you don’t take into account other contenders who are chomping at the bit to take a slice of the enterprise action, a case in point being the recent release of Novell’s real-time enterprise collaboration platform that is also looking to fill in the Google gaps.

There are two different StreamWork editions available at the moment including a free edition with limited storage, but for enterprises the subscription edition has more storage, added security and comes in with the price tag of US $9 per user per month and can be scaled to suit needs.