Spend a little bit of time listening to what your customers actually need and you might get some really good, saleable ideas for new features and services offerings for your product. At least that's what Socialtext did, announcing the newest version of their business social software along with four new service solutions.Socialtext 3.0 is an enterprise wiki at it's core. The new version, 3.0, is said to be the most significant update since it's inception. It has two new components designed to help people "manage their information, conversations and connections".
This is a personal dashboard a user can customize with any number of internal and external widgets. Upon first glance, you immediately think of iGoogle or NetVibes.
Users can add any number of enterprise class, standards-based widgets for their dashboard. Externally created widgets that adhere to the OpenSocial gadgets standard can be used as well as widgets available through the Socialtext software. You can even use Socialtext widgets in iGoogle.
In addition, administrators or users can create dashboards for groups based on one of the solution areas discussed below.
Socialtext has also improved their open APIs for enterprise integration.
Mashable.com calls Socialtext People "facebook for enterprise". Socialtext provides a user directory that enables you to select a person and find out more about their skills and expertise. You can subscribe to their profile to keep up to date with what they are doing. Not to be confused with Jive's Clearspace 2.0 -- also considered an enterprise facebook solution, Socialtext's foundation is wiki based and doesn't appear to have all the collaboration functionality available in the new version of Clearspace, like the project management features.
Socialtext Solution Areas
The four business solution areas have been developed based on five years experience working with customers via Socialtext's professional services group. Socialtext says their "core competency is extracting value out of the social patterns within an enterprise context".
* Collaborative Intelligence: A solution for sales and marketing folks
* Participatory Knowledgebase: A solution for service and support departments
* Flexible Client Collaboration: A solution for professional service divisions
* Business Social Networks: A solution for partners and customers
“Wikis are the foundation for business social software, and we are building the rest of the house,” said CEO Eugene Lee. “It starts with People to make it easier, if not fun, to discover expertise. The Dashboard lets individuals customize their view of information and conversations. When combined with our four core Solution Areas, businesses not only realize productivity gains, but insight from their employees, customers and business partners."
The two new enhancements are currently in Beta, expected to be officially released within the next quarter.
Socialtext has been pretty quiet lately. This is the biggest announcement out since Eugene Lee became CEO of the company.
Socialtext offers it's product as a SaaS solution, an appliance and an open source solution. They've definitely covered all their bases -- which may be their saving grace in this constantly changing market.